IGCF2014 workshops to discuss evolution of government communication and rolein emergency scenarios

February 16, 2014 9:36 am

Sharjah Media Centre (SMC) has announced the opening of online registrations for two parallel training workshops designed for professionals of the media and government communication industry on the opening day (February 22) of the three-day International Government Communication Forum (IGCF 2014).

The first workshop titled ‘Social Media in a Changing World’ will offer insights on the changing role of social media during emergencies and its impact on citizen behaviour.It will also examine how existing crisis communication plans could be amended to make them truly relevant. Through exploration, discussion and scenario planning, the workshop will help participants seek answers to how social media is changing not only the speed of crisis communications, but also the way a crisis is reported. It will additionally analyse how scenario planning can assist in increasing the speed of response in crisis communications and in harnessing citizen concern and turning it into positive action in the community.

The workshop will be conducted by Donald Steel, a specialist in reputation and crisis management who is currently the Associate Director of Crisis Communications at Kenyon International Emergency Services, the world’s leading full-service disaster management company.

Dr ZaheraHarb, a Senior Lecturer in International Journalism at the Journalism Department at City University London, will conduct the second workshop on ‘The Changing Role of Government Communications’. With over 11 years of experience, Dr Harbhas co-produced, hosted and presented several TV programmes and documentaries. Her research interests include mediating conflicts, journalism ethics and citizen journalism. She has also conducted media training courses and workshops in UK, Egypt, Malta, Spain, Armenia, Ukraine, Brussels, Kuwait, Tunisia, Qatar and the UAE.

DrHarb’s workshop will highlight the digital revolution’s impact on governments’ dissemination of information to the public, and the change in theories that defined the relationship between the message, the messenger and the receiver.Through exploring examples of international government communication plans, primarily the UK Government Communication Strategy for 2014, the participants will be taken throughnew communication theories and modern international approaches to government communication in a world driven by social media.

Speaking about the workshops, Osama Samra, Director of Sharjah Media Centre, said: “The main objective of the IGCF is to cultivate the understanding, skills and performance of those involved in government communication. The specialised workshops have been designed to complement the forum’s sessions and discussions through providing practical training and case studies. Led by industry experts, the workshop will seek to enhance the conceptual understanding of government communication among the participants and keep them updated with the latest tools and mechanisms.

“Aware of their importance, we have dedicated a full day in IGCF’s agenda this year for the workshops, and I would advise all government and media professionals interested in attending these sessions to complete the workshops’ online registration forms at the earliest to avoid disappointments due to the limited number of seats available.”

The first regional Government Communication event was organised by Sharjah Media Centre in 2012. The forum discussed relevant communication challenges that were triggered by the socio-political occurrences in the Arab world. IGCF 2014 is a first-of-its-kind event that articulates the SMC’s efforts to develop government communication mechanisms for the benefit of government institutions in the UAE and the wider region.