“Report on the UAE Oral History Assignment”
The report discuses the major shift in UAE Communication and media based on the interview and research. The interview helped to get a real insight in the life style and communication methods in the earlier days. The report discusses the recent trends in UAE media and communication history with emphasis on digitalization and telecommunication history. The technology change in communication is discussed with the rapid development of ICT in UAE after the declaration of Dubai as media free zone. The Social media revolution in UAE is the current trend in communication. Social media impact on UAE government and citizens are discussed. The transformation of communication in UAE as a result of social media has been discussed with the benefits, pitfalls and statistics in this report.
The main findings from interview and research are discussed below.
Shift in UAE Communication
The growth of media began with radio in 1950’s. The history of Radio in UAE dates back 60 years. BFBC (British Forces Broadcasting Services) had the first FM studio running news and entertainment programs in UAE. Channel 4 was started in 1970’s which was the first UAE radio. Arab media group and Emirates radio quickly followed. Currently there are 7 radio stations with 72 channels in UAE. Televisions became popular in 1990’s and almost every household has a television in UAE. Internet growth began in 2000 and research reveals that nearly 75% of the UAE population has access to internet (Khalled, 2012). The media censorship is regulated by TRA in UAE. UAE has experienced major shifts in telecommunication and media in the past four decades. The growth of the nation was fuelled by the rich oil reserves. UAE has grown rapidly and has achieved remarkable progress in the telecommunication arena. Dubai serves as the major hub of UAE media and communication.
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Recent trends in UAE media and communication history
Nissar Hoath, 2013 discusses the importance of digitalizing historical records from print, radio and TV etc. The Abu Dhabi media has started securing the UAE historical data on media and communication from 1950 in a digital form. At the end of the first phase of this project, more than 5000 hours of UAE history recordings are made digitally. This is a nine year program to be completed by 2020. This indicates the importance of UAE media and communication history.
According to James Chung, Susie Wilkening, Sally Johnstone, 2012, digitalization is the recent trend in UAE communication and media. Other channels that dominate the field include Cable TV, wireless networks, TV channels etc. TRA (Telecommunications Regulatory Authority) controls the entire telecommunication in UAE. Etisalat and Du now known as (Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company) EITC are the two major mobile service providers in UAE. All television and radio channels are owned by the UAE government except in the Dubai media free zone.
Dubai became a media free zone from 2000. The technology change in communication began here. The Emirate of Dubai passed the technology and free media law in January 2000 aiming at bringing rapid changes in technology in UAE. Dubai Internet City was launched in October 2000 (Jumana Khamis. 2014) as a means of development in ICT (Information and Communication Technology) sector. Dubai internet city became a huge success in 2003 with industries emerging in the ICT sector. TECOM investments manage the free zone including 10 major business parks. Dubai has now become a major hub of ICT technologies in UAE. This directly benefits the media, communication, education, information technology and other related fields. These sectors saw tremendous growth due to the change of ICT technologies in Dubai. Dubai is renowned world wide as a leader in ICT technologies.
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Social media revolution in UAE
Jumana Khamis, (2014) discusses the shift of communication power from UAE government to the people of UAE. Social media has brought this shift. Social media has changed the communication media totally in UAE with the interaction between government and citizens happening in a transparent manner. Earlier, the communication between UAE government and people was very rare but with the growth of the social media the communication has enhanced. UAE government uses social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to get the needs of the people. People freely post their opinion on these social media. Jumana Khamis, (2014) comments that communication in UAE has transformed rapidly. Earlier the communication between people and Government was vertical and hierarchical with government stating rules and regulations to the people over media. Now, Social media has changed this communication pattern to a network base.
There are critics about social media arguing the involvement of people in government decision making. They even argue that social media can bring in a culture change in UAE with everyone expressing their opinions. Certain industrialists argue that social media can hamper creativity. Most of the intellectuals distance themselves from social media due to the following of the pop culture. Most of the people feel that social media is a waste of time and it kills useful leisure time or traveling etc.
Jumana Khamis, (2014) gives statistics on social media. 70 percent of the users of social media are below the age of 30 and currently there are more than 65 million active Arab users in social media. According to the author, social media has opened a new way of expressing the concerns, needs and demands of the society. UAE government takes social media as a form of communication and now it has become a necessity.
The report has discussed the major shift in UAE Communication and media. The report gives details on the recent trends in UAE media, technology change, ICT and Social media. The communication of UAE has transformed to a great deal from Radio to social media. This transformation is clearly explained in this report. Communication forms the backbone in the growth of UAE. Communication can be attributed as one of the reasons of rapid growth of UAE. The communication change is discussed in the report in a critical manner focusing on social media. Finally as a result of critical analysis, it can be concluded that social media has transformed the communication to a great extent in UAE but ethics have to be followed in expressing the opinions in the social media. The report will serve as a guide for readers to study the change in UAE media and communication.
- James Chung, Susie Wilkening, Sally Johnstone. 2012. Trends in Telecommunications in the United Arab Emirates. Reach Advisors publication
- Jumana Khamis. 2014. Social media shifts power of communication to people. Arab media. February 23, 2014
- Khaleed. 2012. United Arab Emirates – History Background – Uae, Traditional, Country, and British – StateUniversity available at http://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/1605/United-Arab-Emirates-HISTORY-BACKGROUND.html#ixzz3E8tI0Oaa
- Nissar Hoath. 2013. Abu Dhabi Media digitalizes 3m rare historical records. Abu Dhabi Media. 15 April 2013
- How people communicated before the establishment of the UAE in 1971?
- Which media were available and how they were used?
- How communication and media have changed since the early 20th century and compare past and present?
- What is the positive side of media and communication development in the UAE?
- What is the negative side for media and communication development in the UAE?
- How the media affect the education from the past compared to present?
- How the UAE was communication with the outside world?
- Could you imagine the UAE without the media and communication? It will develop or not? And how?
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