MUSCAT, Oct 30 – The Second International Scientific Conference kicked off on Monday at Sultan Qaboos University will focus on “Arab Society and Social Networks in a Changing World”.
The conference aims at highlighting social media influence on the community, analysing relations between various social networks as new media platforms, looking at related topics like social networking, citizen journalism and blogging journalism, and viewing impacts of these new media tools on education, economy, politics, technology, society and media. The conference was held under auspices of Dr Abdulmunim bin Mansour al Hasani, Minister of Information, in the presence of Dr Ali bin Saud al Bemani, Vice-Chancellor of SQU, and a number of local media representatives, academics, researchers and officials.
The opening ceremony included the launch of Code of Ethics for journalists which was prepared by media professors in media department at SQU, and Oman Journalist Association (OJA). The code was signed by various local media representatives and chiefs.
With contribution from around 120 participants form the Sultanate and abroad, the four-day event also seeks to encourage researchers to keep abreast of international concerns about social networks, and enrich the Arab communities with scientific credit to be a reference for decision makers and the institutions concerned.
Dr Abdullah al Kindi, an Associate Professor in Mass Communication Department and Head of Scientific Committee of the Conference, said in his speech that mass use of social media platforms constitutes a real landmark as more than half of the population around the world, roughly 4 billion, are connected to the Internet, 3 billion of whom use social networks.
“We have to consider the influence of these networks and the changes they make on people’s communication.
We need to produce a competitive, creative and developed content,” he urged.
Dr Basyouni Hamada, professor from Qatar University, said in his paper that despite the massive trend towards using social media in all its different forms, it didn’t help in terms of combating corruption in the Arab world.
“To properly utilise the new media platforms, there must be a comprehensive understanding of their potentials to change reality. We must also realise that this doesn’t mean total journalistic freedom, but rather well-codification of issues,” he asserted.
The main topics will be covered by 105 papers through 24th sessions and they discuss new media and its relation to traditional one, impacts of which from political, social, cultural and educational aspects, besides legal and ethical frames.
The first day debated citizen journalism, use of social media in political marketing; obstacles and risks, and future of Arab culture in digital era.
Also, pioneers in producing local contents in social platforms displayed their experiences, then a discussion panel on impacts and regulations was held.
— Pictures by Khalfan al Toobi
Zainab al Nassri