Sharjah Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler H.H Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Honors G.C.A Winners


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Sharjah: December 16, 2013 By: Zulfiqar Shah
His Highness (HH) Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah and Chairman of the Sharjah Executive Council, honored winners in the first edition of the Sharjah Government Communication Award (GCA) at a ceremony held on Sunday.
Under the patronage of HH the Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, the honoring ceremony was organized by Sharjah Media Centre (SMC) to recognize the media role in all aspects of the political, economic, cultural and social life and to value the contribution of local and regional media institutions and individuals to the development of a distinguished media industry in the UAE, GCC and Middle East. Present at the ceremony were Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qassimi, Chairman of SMC; Osama Samra, Director of SMC, and a number of thought leaders, senior government officials and public figures from the UAE and Arab region, as well as local, Arab and international media representatives. HH the Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah stated that the emirate, through the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, has always adopted government initiatives that would promote the human element, the basis of the development process in all social, economic and political fields. HH said: “Today, we find the translation of that vision evident and clearly tangible in the first-of-its-kind initiative that Sharjah Media Centre – the media and communications arm of the Government of Sharjah – started through the launch of the Sharjah Government Communication Award, which values the efforts of government institutions and aims at developing the media competencies within them.”
Expressing his happiness over the efforts put into supporting and developing government communication according to the strategy of Sharjah, HH Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad bin Sultan Al Qasimi said: “On this occasion, I cannot but thank Sharjah Media Centre and all of its employees for their initiative and efforts that serve the government communication sector. I also thank the judging panel, which did not spare any effort in developing the award and determining its standards and categories; and in evaluating the entries to the first edition of the Sharjah Government Communication Award.” The Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah also expressed his wishes of good luck and success to all participants and said: “I congratulate those who will have the privilege of winning the award. The biggest win, however, is this gathering, which brings us all together with its blessed initiatives in the emirate of Sharjah.”

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Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qassimi, on the other hand, asserted the significance of the GCA, which is one of a series of initiatives launched by SMC for the purpose of building an integrated system within the concept of government communication. The most prominent of these initiatives is the launch of the International Government Communication Forum, which, according to the Chairman of SMC, asserted the seriousness of its message through the rapid implementation of the recommendations it produced and the subsequent launch of the Government Communication Unit, the first active government communication network in the region. Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qassimi expressed his deep gratitude to HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and the Sharjah Executive Council, under the chairmanship of HH Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, for their continuous support to SMC’s initiatives.
His Excellency said: “Through our programs and initiatives in the field of government communication, we, in Sharjah, aim to give more attention to this field, develop it and honor its innovators. What we aspire to achieve through the Sharjah Government Communication Award is hard work, not slogans. What we seek is stimulating creativity and accomplishing achievements, one after another.” Towards the end of his speech, the director of SMC congratulated the GCA winners, saying: “The fact that you have won the Sharjah Government Communication Award is a source of pride for all of us. With you, we commence our journey towards an annual occasion that brings together leaders of government communication from across the region.”
For his part, Samra extended his sincere thanks to His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad bin Sultan Al Qasimi for patronizing and attending this seminal event and for his continuous support to SMC. The director of SMC clarified that the GCA emanated from Sharjah’s vision to convey its meaningful message to the world and, therefore, build a new government communication scene in the region. Samra finally expressed his appreciation to the members of the GCA’s judging panel for their role in the success of the award. As a member of the GCA’s judging panel, Rawan Al Damen, Senior Producer and Director at the Programs Department- Al Jazeera News Channel, presented the panel’s statement, saying: “Over the year, Sharjah Media Centre received more than 300 entries from institutions and individuals from the UAE in general and Sharjah in particular. After verifying the conformity of each entry to the criteria of the corresponding category, a mini-committee collected and classified all conforming entries. Consequently, the six-member judging panel received over 160 entries to the award’s nine nominated categories. Then began the examination, analysis and evaluation phase, which was followed by the mathematical calculation of the grades and unanimous decision of the panel.” Expressing her happiness to work as a key member of the GCA’s judging panel in an atmosphere of total integrity, independence and quiet contemplation for a confident decision, Al Damen said: “We cannot forget to thank Sharjah Media Centre and Sharjah Government Communication Award’s team for their persistent efforts, nor can we forget to thank every individual and institution that spent time and effort, trusted the judging panel and participated in the award’s first edition.” Al Damen brought the panel’s recommendations forward to improve GCA in its second year, including the submission of a clear concise file outlining only the year’s achievement in sound Arabic language for categories such as Best Practices in Government Communication, Best Social Media Site for Government Communication and others. She said: “The files submitted were many and lengthy.”
The panel also recommended the submission of an “investigative report” instead of a “news report” for the Best Investigative Report category, noting that a large number of the submissions for the said category did not entail any fact-finding or collecting opinions. Entrants to next year’s Best Topical TV Program and Best Radio Talk Show award were advised to ensure that their entries employ distinct video or audio elements in terms of diversity and technicalities. According to the GCA’s judging panel, some of the TV and radio episodes submitted this year were recorded inside the studio and used only dialogue, which is no longer enough to attract viewers and listeners. With regards to the Young Media Person award, the panel recommended that students submit a single distinguished project completed in the same year of the award, rather than providing lengthy files covering several years. As for the Best Journalistic Photo category, the panel affirmed that all entries did not reflect the excellence desired in the field of photojournalism. Al Damen commented: “We in the judging panel decided to withhold the award for this year and recommend Sharjah Media Centre to encourage a training course for developing journalistic photography in the field of government communication here in the UAE.” At the end of the statement, the GCA’s judging panel emphasized the importance of excellence. In this respect, Al Damen concluded: “Excellence is what we, as a judging panel, sought in the entries submitted. Excellent works competed with each other and the choice was difficult.” “I feel we are all winners tonight, as it has been proven beyond doubt that there is genuine interest in government communication from official institutions. This heralds a better tomorrow when we can take active steps towards establishing the best professional practices in the Arab government communication sector,” she added. HH the Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah then honored the winners in the selected and nominated categories of the GCA. These included:
Selected Categories:
Media Personality I GCC
Saudi host and journalist Dawood Al Shirian
Leadership in Media I GCC
Sky News Arabia
Nominated Categories:
Best Practices in Government Communication I Sharjah
Sharjah City Municipality
Best Official Spokesperson I Sharjah
Colonel Sultan Abdullah Al Khayyal, Director of Sharjah Police’s Media and Public Relations Department
Best News Website I Sharjah
Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority
Young Media Person I Sharjah
Mahbouba Abdulrahman Saleh, a public relations student at the University of Sharjah
Best Social Media Site for Government Communication I UAE
Emirates Identity Authority
Best Investigative Report I UAE
Ahmed Mohamed Morsy of Al Ittihad Newspaper and Mazhar Farooqui of Gulf News
Best Topical TV Program I UAE
Al Shurti Social TV Program
Judging Panel’s Award
Qadiyat Watan TV Program by Dubai Media Incorporated and Al Khat Al Mubasher Live Show by Sharjah Media Corporation
Best Radio Talk Show I UAE
Dubai Today, a program aired by Dubai Eye Radio
It is worth noting that the GCA aims to encourage institutions to do their best in the field of government communication and, hence, support SMC’s aspiration to build a new government communicate on system in line with Sharjah’s cultural and media vision and establish the emirate as a prestigious media hub in the region.

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