Maldives Vice President Abdullah Jihad says “media’s key role is not to depress and dishearten citizens, but to motivate, encourage and inspire nations” in order to pave the way for future generations and build a better society.
“This is where intergovernmental organizations like AIBD comes into the picture. It can provide smaller states like Maldives an opportunity to strengthen the efficiency of media for the betterment of the country”, he said.
The Maldives Vice President delivered this message during the Inaugural Ceremony of the 43rd Annual Gathering/16th AIBD General Conference & Associate Meeting held on 21 August 2017 in Maldives.
In his speech, Vice President Jihad spoke about the growing role of social media in the contemporary world, stressing that its rise has made such an impact that it has become a challenge for the traditional media to lure and sustain the audience.
“The social media offers a level of flexibility that the traditional media does not afford. It offers a much higher level of interactivity making this, perhaps the main distinguishing factor” he said.
He also pointed out that as social media rapidly grows as a medium, member countries of AIBD should consider ways to blend in and integrate traditional media with new media.
AIBD can take a lead, he said, in addressing this need, and should design more courses on social media including training of technical staff.
Dr Abbas Naseri Taheri, President of AIBD General Conference and Advisor to IRIB President and Director General, IRIB International Cooperation Department, delivered the welcoming remarks.
In his speech, Dr Taheri cited various demands on media to make a difference in helping solve poverty, malnutrition, lack of education, gender and socio-economic inequality, environmental degradation and conflict, among others.
One demand is for media to produce compelling and distinct content so that audiencescan attain great satisfaction and great experiences that drive participation and engagement.
Two is to contribute to public understanding and analysis of sustainable development concerns and achievements.
Three is getting media to adapt to emerging technologies and social media that can equip broadcasters with effective platforms to produce better programme content, interact differently with and reach out to bigger audiences.
Four is to strengthen human resource skills and competence, a primary mandate of the Institute.
“I hope that a regional consensus would be created in this gathering to meet these demands, no doubt a step forward towards a balanced and sustainable development”, he said.
Ms Aminath Shaayan Shahid, Deputy Managing Director of Public Service Media (PSM), also spoke during the Inaugural Ceremony.
In her opening remarks, Ms Shaayan highlighted the diversified services of PSM, who hosted the 16th General Conference in Maldives. She cited the content they produce for its 8 TV channels, 3 radio channels, an online media platform and a magazine.
As young people who comprise two thirds of Maldives population are both catalysts and agents of change, she said PSM stresses the importance of training young professionals.
In this way, she said, “they can play their designated role in building a well-informed, educated, entertained and an aware society that will engage in building this nation”.
The presentation of the AIBD Awards 2017 was also held during the Inaugural Ceremony.
Trophies and certificates were presented to winners or their representatives in various categories covering Best TV programme on ‘Towards a Waste Free Society’, on ‘Bridging the Gender Gap’, Best Radio programme on ‘The journey of the Migrant’ and on ‘Fighting Deforestation”.