No room for monopoly with new media: info-minister Sheikh Salem Al-Ali Informatics Prize holds seminar

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 23, (KUNA): With the wide and increasing spread of use of and access to new media and information technology, there is no longer room for monopoly within any media institution or even room for containment of news within a region or country, said the minister of information in remarks Tuesday night.

Minister Sheikh Salman Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, also Minister of State for Youth Affairs, was addressing a seminar held by Sheikh Salem Al-Ali Informatics Prize.

The minister pointed out states used to spend great sums on setting up television and/or radio stations, “whereas today, every citizen is in-fact a miniature broadcaster of news and has the means to report incidents and developments and express opinions freely, and ultimately have an effect within society.” The days of “single sender-receiver” of reports are long gone, and media and communication nowadays simultaneously involves many parties and goes in multiple directions. “It is an interactive and more influential mode,” he stressed. This brought along new challenges and the ministry is aiming to keep up with latest advancements, he said.

As for social-networks media, he said media institutions today cannot do without these to promote their product. Audiences are now attracted to specific programs rather than programing by a specific channel. This modern media field still needs more organization if we are to utilize all its potential and master its challenge, Sheikh Salman said, and realize constructive and accountable freedom of expression and interaction.

“As officials in the media domain, we appreciate this shift, and realize its effect on audiences and masses.” The minister pointed out some of the challenge lies in the fact that a big percentage of such new media users are too young and inexperienced to fully realize the meaning of freedom and its limits.
The challenge today, he remarked, is to prepare our youth to have more active and constructive contributions to society, particularly with the increasing influence of their communications tools-of-choice; social networks.

The challenge of clearly defining such concepts as “freedom” of expression and interaction and laying out the legal frameworks to regulate the field is an international challenge. The world at large is after regulations that would invest today’s information and communication technology in a moral and constructive manner.

The minister remarked there are efforts to draft a comprehensive bill that would cover both conventional media and the new modes of social networking and the like.


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