IGCF 2017: UAE Minister of State for Happiness calls for more positive media approach

SHARJAH, — The importance of mass media in delivering positive messages to society and fostering a more positive outlook was highlighted by Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi, the UAE Minister of State for Happiness, at the International Government Communication Forum, IGCF 2017.

In her keynote speech on the second day of the forum, Al Roumi spoke of recent studies on mass media and social media as well as entertainment, which showed how the mood of the individual was affected by the information they were subjected to. One particular study, which subjected individuals to three minutes of ‘positive news’ before 10am each day, found that the impact was felt by the individual for eight hours after receiving the news.

She noted, “We are always going to have negative events and occasions. But we should ask how we are going to present this news, along with solutions. Do we present stories negatively, or in a way that encourages us to search for solutions? “Positive content will build positive value in society and a positive way of thinking. Why can’t we have greater space for news that spreads hope and happiness? Why can’t we focus on success stories and encourage positive thought?”

The minister also highlighted the importance of seeking stories on “good role models who foster hope and encourage the youth.”

“The media is an important tool, it can build values and awareness, and specifically translate a culture of positive values in society. Therefore, it is important to build a strategic partnership with the mass media. Let us focus on the success stories and good news in order to improve daily life,” she said.

Al Roumi referred to a number of initiatives introduced by media institutions in the country to highlight positive news and experiences, including WAM’s section for positive stories, Sharjah TV’s ‘Al Bath Al Mubashir’, Sharjah Radio’s ‘Al Atheer’, Noor Dubai’s segment ‘Positive Minutes’, Al Khaleej newspaper’s initiative of ‘Country of Happiness’ and 24.ae’s ‘Happiness Bulletin’.

In his speech, Tariq Saeed Allay, Director of Sharjah Government Media Bureau, highlighted the importance of the forum, saying, “Government communication is the basis for cooperation and coordination on a global level. It is a tool to shape awareness and form social partnerships.

“It is a cultural power like no other, which can help us to overcome humanitarian problems and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals on the United Nations’ 2030 agenda,” he added.

Former German President Horst Kohler in his speech urged the participants of IGCF 2017 to consider “the profound challenges that humanity faces in the long term.”

Challenges highlighted by the German President included global warming, with 15 of the 16 hottest years on record taking place in the 21st century, and global inequality where over a billion people are living in poverty, 780 million are without access to clean water and millions of children are unable to attend school.

President Kohler said, “We must enable massive economic growth in poor countries � where hospitals and schools and services and industry are needed to provide people with education, work, and income. But which natural resources should we feed on if we are already reaching our planet’s ecological limits? “I am asking this question because I am not always sure whether we have grasped the gigantic dimensions of this challenge. Humanity’s greatest challenge in the 21st century is to enable all people to live in dignity without destroying our planet. This goal cannot be reached with the current models of economic growth. If everybody produced and consumed like Europeans and Americans, we would need three or four planets in reserve. There has to be another way.”

President Kohler also spoke of the recent political issues and the newly emerging narratives of egotism and confrontation in the international sphere, a trend that made global agreements such as the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Paris Agreement on Climate Change all the more important.

Source: Emirates News Agency