The College of Information, Mass Communication and Humanities in Ajman University of Science and Technology, held a seminar on the theme “News Making in the Era of Digital Media and Citizen Journalism”, which was conducted by Sheikh Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi, an ardent art collector, blogger, columnist and entrepreneur.
Dr. Ahmed Ankit, Assistant to the AUST President for External Relations and Cultural Affairs, and Dr. Khalid Al Khaja, Dean of the College of Information, Mass Communication and Humanities were present at the seminar along with an audience of faculty members and students from the College.
The seminar was the students’ initiative, for it fascinated them how Sheikh Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, who holds various honorable positions with utmost dedication and flamboyance, could be so popular on Twitter that he has actually been placed first among its list of top 100 most prominent figures. Among other roles, Sheikh Al-Qassemi is Founder of Barjeel Art Foundation, Non Resident Fellow at Dubai School of Government and Columnist at The National Newspaper in Abu Dhabi
The lecturer started by pointing out to the early signs of increasing demand for blogs and social networks in the Arab World. Sheikh Al-Qassemi explained that lack of transparency in traditional media and rising unemployment rates are the main factors that pushed the Arab populace to turn to new media.
“Citizen Journalism in the pan-Arab world started to take shape only in 2006, the year that witnessed many significant events Arab-wide the news of which were mainly disseminated and interacted with through social networks,” said Sheikh Al-Qassemi.
The statistics he presented clearly reveal the momentous rise in social network users in the Arab world. Facebook users upped to 45 million last June from just 12 million in 2010. While twitter saw an astounding boost with 172 million Arab tweets in the first quarter of the current year, climbing from 23 million tweets in 2011.