Thursday, March 05, 2020

Youth-focussed workshops at IGCF 2020 highlight communication best practices of global brands and local government entities

The concluding day of the ninth edition of the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF 2020) featured interactive workshops and insightful sessions specially designed to equip students and working professionals with tools for decoding the best practises for effective communication.

Held at the Sharjah Expo Centre, the forum sought to educate experts, journalists, photojournalists and government communication employees from the Arab region and beyond to facilitate knowledge exchange and initiate meaningful dialogue around government communication by initiating the requisite training workshops, expert sessions and discussions.

Workshops discuss how to tackle the scourge of fake news

The second day of the forum organised several workshops and sessions for students including ‘Verifying Information and Detecting Fake News’ presented by Dr Hosam Slama, Dean of the College of Mass Communication, Ajman University.

During the session, Dr Hosam introduced participants to information verification methods and to the skills required to detect and deal with fake news.

Dr Hosam said, “Today’s is an information-driven world where there are countless methods and channels that people can use to spread information. The authenticity of such information is what determines if it can be called fake news or not. My workshop aimed at making participants aware of the psychological and societal impact of fake news, and encouraged them to look into things they can do as media students and professionals to uphold ethical and transparent communications and journalistic practices.”

“Fake news is a problem that needs to be solved actively. With the advent of technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, the process of information sharing has changed,” he added.

Another training session titled ‘How to Develop and Implement Government Initiatives’ led by Dr. Essam Nasr Selim, Acting Dean of the College of Communication at the University of Sharjah and Professor of Media at Cairo University, introduced participants to the skills they can develop to promote and facilitate government programmes and initiatives, particularly in the field of sustainability.

Social Marketing: Global Best Practices

Another highly interactive training session open to all forum visitors titled ‘Social Marketing: Global Best Practices’ offered professionals in marketing, communications, PR and digital strategy from various government entities across the UAE a crash course in digital and social media marketing.

At the outset of the session, one of the participants remarked, “I want to learn how to effectively run a campaign and ensure it reaches our target audience.”

The session was led by Mohtab Arabiat, Head of Digital Development, AstroLabs Academy, a capability building company focussed on developing the digital ecosystem of the MENA region.

Mohtab noted, “Using social media will not only help organisations reach a larger audience, but will allow them to better measure their outreach and initiate dialogue. While it seems absurd for a person to talk to a giant outdoor billboard, social media platforms enable thousands to do just that.”

He added, “The challenge is to reach the right target audience, given that many social media platforms are designed to maximise positive user experiences and minimise noise. This leaves many organisations to compete among hundreds, if not thousands, of other individuals and entities, with a disconcerting reach rate of 1 percent.”

Sharing best practices from global consumer brands and local government organisations, Mohtab talked about the potential of social media and how audience profiling methods and metrics can help entities accurately measure real impact.

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