Media Centre

Press release

The Department of Culture and Information and the General Information Authority today announced the launch of the Arab Bloggers Forum.

First arab bloggers forum ajman 27th Jun 2010

The first Arab bloggers conference – Ajman 2010

The Department of Culture and Information and the General Information Authority today announced the launch of the Arab Bloggers Forum, which will take place on June 08-09 in Ajman. Held with the support of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) and under the umbrella of the League of Arab States, the event highlights the shared belief of the four parties in the importance of blogging; its cultural, media and social dimensions and the important role it plays in maximising Arabic language content on the World Wide Web.

The announcement came during a press conference held at the Kempinski Hotel in Ajman on Thursday, June 3 with the attendance of H.E Ibrahim Said Al Thahri, Director General of the Department of Culture and Information in Ajman, H.E Salem Khamis Al Shair, Director General of the General Information Authority and (a representative of ADMAF, attending on behalf of H.E Mrs. Hoda Kanoo, ADMAF Founder.

Arabic language blogs have invaded the web over the last few years, forming alongside international blogs a new phenomenon referred to as new media. Today there are around 75 million active blogs in various languages worldwide. It is estimated that some 120,000 blogs are created on a daily basis.

The themes to be discussed at the conference will include: understanding blogging, its forms and objectives; blogs as media outlets and platforms for sharing experience, cultures, arts and literature; the current status and future of blogging in the Arab region, which is entering the digital world today, despite the disparity in internet usage across Arab countries. While the percentage of Internet usage in the UAE, has reached 74%- the highest in the region (equivalent to 3.5 million people), the rates in Bahrain, Syria, and Iran are at 55 %, 16 % and 48% respectively.

H.E Ibrahim Said Al Thahri, Director General of the Department of Culture and Information in Ajman said:

“This conference comes to demonstrate our appreciation of what Arab bloggers have achieved particularly in terms of enhancing Arabic language content on the internet and increasing the number of  Arabs browsing the Internet to 60 million users."

The individual efforts of thousands of young Arabs on the Internet have contributed to promoting the status of Arabic language to rank seventh among those languages that are active online. There is no doubt that blogging has become a media, information and technical phenomenon that helps not only to spread news, reports and analyses but also to act as a forum for exchanging experience, knowledge and cultures in addition to the various social roles it plays, "added Al Thahri

Mrs. Hoda Al-Khamis Kanoo, Founder of the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation, said in a speech that was delivered on her behalf by a spokesperson of  ADMAF

“ADMAF is supporting this unique conference because we believe in the importance of both supporting the Arab blogging community and of the themes the conference will address. The conference brings together Arab bloggers and those interested in blogging, a phenomenon that is helping to bring out the creativity of Arab youth in the fields of media, arts, literature and other areas. Our bloggers are also making a valuable contribution to enriching Arabic language content on the internet and introducing browsers worldwide to Arabic content online. Our involvement in this conference is a further expression of our continued commitment to support all initiatives that help to promote arts and culture and to develop creativity and innovation. Arabic blogging is a creative form of expression that reflects the values of openness to others, understanding of other cultures and contributes to building bridges of knowledge online.

"This Arab cultural forum will contribute to strengthening the mechanisms of Arab cooperation in the field of culture under the umbrella of the Arab League and driven by the UAE, inspired by the cultural vision of its wise leadership. It also establishes the concept of cognitive Arab Open Space through the Internet."

H.E Salem Khamis Al Shair, Director General of the General Information Authority, said:

“The General Information Authority is pleased to be a partner in this great event that focuses on knowledge and we ask all those interested in blogging and reaching Arab communities online to attend the conference and contribute to its discussions.”

Al Shair emphasized the essential role of Arab bloggers in general and UAE bloggers in particular in establishing channels of interaction between individuals and different institutions, enabling them to identify public views about the services they provide and helping them to improve these services to better suit public interest.

Through this conference, which is the first of its kind in the Arab region, the organizers are seeking to achieve a number of objectives including: introducing best practices to Arab blogging; improving the quality of Arabic content on the internet; connecting  Ajman and the UAE at large with the Arab bloggers community through touristic, cultural and media sites with the aim of reaching out to the media as a first step to creating an Arab bloggers forum in Ajman. The conference will also establish an award called “The Arab bloggers Award” to be presented to three bloggers on the basis of criteria that will be announced at a later stage.

The Department of Culture and Information has created a special email address for this year’s conference and upcoming conferences to communicate with bloggers as well as the organisers and sponsors.