Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Middle East Conference Opens with Call to Protect Journalists

Dubai, 8 February 2011

Middle East Conference Opens with Call to Protect Journalists

The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) opened
its annual Middle East Conference on Tuesday by calling on authorities to
protect journalists covering the ongoing demonstrations in the region and to
allow the press to fulfil its role in providing free and credible news.

"The demonstrations in the Middle East illustrate the need for strong
newspapers in the region," said Christoph Riess, CEO of WAN-IFRA, the global
association of the world's press. "We need newspapers that are free to
provide credible, critical and timely information to the society."

"Journalists who are covering the ongoing demonstrations must be free to
report without fear of attack or arrest," he said.

The 6th annual WAN-IFRA conference drew 250 participants from 17 countries
and is focused on successful cross-platform advertising strategies. But the
demonstrations in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and elsewhere also were addressed.

Dhaen Shaheen, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Al Bayan newspaper in Dubai, one
of the conference hosts, said the demonstrations "have created a new
situation in the media" and illustrate how technology allows for more open

"We can see the new technology has created a virtual space, virtual
parliaments and discussion platforms to express everything they want," he
said. "The technology has changed the tools of communication, especially
regarding the expression of points of view."

The conference, which continues through Friday, will examine the
transformation of newspapers into multi-media companies and how they can
succeed in offer cross-media advertising solutions. This is a critical
issue for the newspaper business in the region; 85 percent of newspapers in
the Arab world have their own websites, but digital platforms produce only 2
percent of advertising revenues, said Mohammad Abdullah, Managing Director
of TECOM Investments Media Cluster in Dubai, a conference host.

Summaries of conference presentations and other information will be posted
at http://www.wan-ifra.org/microsites/middle-east-conference-summaries

WAN-IFRA, based in Paris, France, and Darmstadt, Germany, with subsidiaries
in Singapore, India, Spain, France and Sweden, is the global organisation of
the world¹s newspapers and news publishers. It represents more than 18,000
publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120
countries. The organisation was created by the merger of the World
Association of Newspapers and IFRA, the research and service organisation
for the news publishing industry.

Learn more about WAN-IFRA at http://www.wan-ifra.org or through the WAN-IFRA
Magazine at http://www.wan-ifra.org/magazine

Inquiries to: Larry Kilman, Director of Communications and Public Affairs,
WAN-IFRA, 7 rue Geoffroy St Hilaire, 75005 Paris France. Tel: +33 1 47 42 85
00. Fax: +33 1 47 42 49 48. Mobile: +33 6 10 28 97 36. E-mail:

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