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Saturday, May 21, 2005

In a meeting chaired by Queen RaniaArab media leaders agree to set up Arab Media Network for Human Development

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department- Amman) Opinion leaders from major media networks in the Arab World together with Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah on Friday, agreed to institutionalize the first-of-its-kind effort to utilize the media as a tool to advance key development issues in the Arab world.

The Arab Media Network for Human Development will be an offshoot of the Arab Women’s Media Campaign, launched in March 2004, by Queen Rania, during her two-year presidency of the Arab Women’s Summit.

Chaired by Queen Rania, the third meeting of the Advisory Board of the Arab Women’s Media Campaign - part of the three-day activities of the World Economic Forum, which convened on Friday, at the Dead Sea - set the grounds for the establishment of the organization to effectively employ media to address and promote Arab women’s issues, develop new and creative tools and measures to enhance the representation of Arab women in the media and strengthen partnerships between media networks, outlets and civil society at large.

Queen Rania underlined the media leaders’ commitment, which had enabled the campaign to succeed, stressing that the media is a vital tool through which individuals can create, change and generate innovative ways to portray women as an integral part of Arab societies.

She added that reforming and developing societies rests on strengthening civil society institutions, and advancing such campaigns that can affect public policy and decision-making.

Envisioned as a regional non-governmental institution, based in Jordan, the organization will build upon the skills and insights of Arab media leaders and civil society organizations to bring together independent initiatives and encourage diverse groups to play a role in addressing issues related to women and society in general.

Participants in Friday’s meeting concurred that institutionalizing the campaign was a main component of its success. They reviewed the campaign’s accomplishments to date and its future activities, which will provide the Arab world with the needed forum for structuring debates so as to offer new tools to reflect on the realities of women in the region.

Covering four main areas – women as an integral part of society, women and education, women's economic participation and violence against women – the Campaign produced TV spots, which were aired on the region’s main satellite channels and were broadcast through the Arab Broadcasting Union to more than 21 state-run Arab television stations.

Members of the Advisory Board attending included: General Manager of Al-Arabiyya TV, Abdel Rahman Al-Rashed, Editor-in-Chief of Al-Hayat/ LBC, George Samaa’n, Dubai Media Institute Advisor, Ali Jaber, representatives from Future TV and Al-Jazira TV, Government Spokesperson and Minister of Culture Ms. Asma Khader Higher Council of Media Chairman Dr. Ibrahim Izzedine, JT