Forum held to boost ties between Oman, UK

OXFORD: A significant step in further strengthening the cordial relations between the Sultanate of Oman and the United Kingdom, with cooperation between the two countries dating back to early 19th century, was portrayed in a day-long forum held at St Mary’s Church Anthony’s College, Oxford University, organized by the Omani Journalists Association (OJA) in collaboration with British press.

In welcoming the participants to the Symposium, Professor Eugene Rogan, Director of the Middle East Center at the university, mentioned that the Sultanate has always played an important role not only in the Gulf region but the Middle East more broadly and unique for the balance it preserves with all of its neighbors.

He said as professionals with closest links to government sources and official information, we all stand to benefit from this dialogue between Omani and other global journalists, between scholars and the press.

Dr Mohammad al Araimi, Chairman of Oman Journalists Association (OJA) said the Omani Media exemplifies an achievement of modern Omani renaissance, reflecting the hopes and aspirations of the Omani people for peace, progress and prosperity.

He mentioned that modern Omani media grew and developed as a result of Omani renaissance in 1970.

Professor Meera Selva, Director of the Journalism Fellowship Program at the Reuters Institute for the study of journalism, at Oxford, said journalism is becoming more important but less robust, according to a new report identifying five trends about the future of journalism and their potential impact upon society.

The report, “More Important, But Less Robust? Five things everybody needs to know about the future of journalism ”, highlights risks posed by growing information inequality, journalism business model, and the role of social media platforms.

It also underlines that digital media drive more diverse news diets and argues that, despite the challenges, the best journalism is better than ever.

The five global trends are based on recent research conducted at the Reuters Institute. They reflect changes to the way people access news, transformations in professional journalism and the business of news, as well as changing political environments in some parts of the world.

Dr Toby Matthiesen, Senior Research Fellow in the International relations of the Middle East spoke about the challenges that Arab newspapers are facing from the rise in digital and the press has an important role in this challenge.

Quite apart from this, he mentioned Oman is profoundly affected by global challenges. Not least, because it has tried to play a balancing role both in the rift between Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt with Qatar and the conflict in Yemen.

All these regional conflicts have required much diplomatic skill, and have put Oman’s regional diplomacy into the spotlight.

A photo exhibition at the forum displayed photos of the scenic beauty of Oman and its handicrafts. It included photos of British royal visits to the Sultanate.

The gallery included 80 portraits of photojournalists who are members of the association dealing with many aspects of life in the Sultanate of Oman.

The most important objectives of Oman Journalists Association (OJA) are:

-Work to protect the principles of journalistic work based on the constants of society and professional ethics in accordance with the Basic Law of the State and the laws in force in the Sultanate.

-Defend the rights and interests of journalists so that they can perform their mission in the best manner in accordance with the laws in force in the Sultanate.

-Work to settle disputes related to the press profession between the members of the Association and the institutions, press and media organizations they work in, accordance with the laws in force in the Sultanate.

-Contribute to the advancement of the Omani press to be the express and sincere face of the Sultanate of Oman in all Arab, regional and international forums.

-Support and strengthen relations between journalists and members of the Association and journalists working in the world newspapers.

Text by Andy Jalil

Oman Observer

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