Sharjah: As part of the 9th edition of the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF), a ‘Communication Chat’ session preceding the Forum was held yesterday at Al Majaz Amphitheatre, Sharjah, where five officials from Sharjah government entities shared government communication practices, and discussed their experience in building true partnerships with the public.

The session was held in the presence of Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Media Council; HE Tariq Saeed Allay, Director of Sharjah Government Media Bureau (SGMB); and Jawaher Al Naqbi, Director of International Government Communication Centre (IGCC).

Participants included HE Major General Saif Al Zari Al Shamsi, Commander in Chief of Sharjah Police;  HE Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, Executive Chairman of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq); HE Dr Khalid Omar Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Media City (Shams); HE Nada Askar Al Naqbi, Director General of Sharjah Women’s Sports; HE Khalid Jassim Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA).

Effective awareness campaigns to enhance community safety

HE Major General Saif Al Zari Al Shamsi discussed various types of communication channels used by Sharjah Police to reach the audience, including print magazines to announce most recent news, institutional decisions, and tips, as well as a dedicated youth magazine. Other channels include partnering with local TV and radio shows, using various social media platforms, and the ‘Aoun’ initiative launched this year, a digital service offered by Sharjah Police that enables the public to request traffic and police services through WhatsApp.

Major General Al Shamsi stressed the important role of media in enhancing community and traffic safety, delivering essential awareness messages, while also giving community members the opportunity to be heard. Such partnerships have contributed to a significant decrease in fatal traffic accidents and emergency response rates, he noted.

He pointed out that future government communication endeavours must focus on enhancing safety practices among the public through effective awareness campaigns, increased partnerships with leading media outlets, as well as increased efforts to raise awareness among non-Arab communities.

Promoting creative entrepreneurship

For his part, HE Dr Khalid Omar Al Midfa pointed out that since its inception in 2017, Shams has been dedicated to the development of media community not only in Sharjah, but across the UAE and in the region too. To realise this goal, has offered a wide variety of service offerings and platforms to suit the varied needs of small and big businesses alike.

He noted that through these service schemes, Shams seeks to support small and one-person enterprises, which have well-exceeded 4000 businesses in just three years, thus realising its vision to promote creative entrepreneurship.

Anticipating the evolving nature of government communications

Highlighting the organisation’s 11-year experience in government communication, HE Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal highlighted the pressing need for government organisations to develop strategies that anticipate the rapidly evolving nature of government communication, including both conventional and contemporary channels, to convey information to the public.

Another important aspect of Shurooq’s communication practices is to develop and enhance internal communication strategies within the authority, as well as to strengthen relations with the media and different segments of society.

Effective strategies to improve communication channels with the public

Highlighting the objectives of SWSF, Nada Askar Al Naqbi, said: “The organisation seeks to highlight the role of women athletes in the UAE and encourage them to enter sport events and competitions regionally and globally. It also strives to establish a modern, integrated system to promote and develop women’s sports in the emirate.”

Al Naqbi highlighted that one of the key reasons for the success of their bi-annual Arab Women Sports Tournament (AWST) since 2012, has stemmed from the delivery of strategies to open effective communication channels with the public and promote partnerships with various sports entities, including unions, committees and sports councils in the UAE and the Arab region..

Sharing expertise and best practices to improve government communication strategies

HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of SCTDA, underscored that vital role of media in achieving the entity’s missions and goals, to promote and encourage the tourism sector in Sharjah, by sustaining and developing resources and investments, as well as to raise Sharjah's profile as a leading tourist destination.

He noted that sharing expertise and best practices among government entities and organisations allows them to learn from and share ideas to improve government communication strategies.

The ninth edition of the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF 2020), which is taking place March 4-5 at Expo Centre Sharjah, is focusing on four core pillars to guide communication teams. These include: Embedding a culture of engagement in government; Technology as a community enabler; Communication through culture; and Holistic well-being.


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