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Nobel Peace Prize Laureate to open Arab newspaper conference

TUNIS, TUNISIA / DUBAI, UAE: Yemeni "Arab Spring" activist and journalist Tawakkol Karman, laureate of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, will open the Arab Free Press Forum, the annual event organised by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), to be held in Tunisia next week.
The historic changes occurring in the Middle East have resulted in enormous challenges and opportunities for media in the region, and WAN-IFRA is organising two events in early 2012 to respond to the needs of publishers and editors: the 5th annual Free Press Forum, on 22 to 24 January, and the 7th annual Middle East Conference, to be held in Dubai on 29 February and 1 March.

Full details of the Arab Free Press Forum can be found at The programme and registration information for the Middle East Conference can be found at

Tawakkol Karman, who will join the conference via live telephone address from Sana'a, is one of three women who shared the Nobel Peace Prize last year. At 32, she is the youngest person to win the Peace Prize and the first Arab woman to receive a Nobel in any category.

'I see a glimpse of a new world'

"I see on the horizon a glimpse of a new world," she said in her Nobel acceptance speech. For media in the region, the democratic revolutions have created an opportunity for free and independent media, but have exposed a vast need for new strategies, approaches and training for the new era, if the press is to fulfil its societal role.

The Arab Free Press Forum, held with the support of UNESCO, the Swedish International Development Agency, the World Editors Forum, Google and Agence France-Presse, will bring together more than 120 participants from the region to exchange strategies and ideas on strengthening press freedom, ethical journalism and best business practices. Among them will be leading lights of the revolutions, including Egyptian Ibrahim Essa, editor of Al-Tahrir newspaper, and Bahrain human rights campaigner, Nabeel Rajab.

The Middle East Conference in Dubai at the end of February takes the theme, "Embrace the Future: Successful Strategies for Media Houses" and offers Middle East publishers the opportunity to hear from and share ideas with a wide array of international speakers who will present best practices and strategies from successful media companies around the world.

Highlights of the Arab Free Press Forum include:

  • Two days of business sessions featuring top media personalities from the region and beyond on diverse subjects that include: how best to support Arab media in transition; how can mainstream media regain public trust as a credible source of news; the role of social media; have priorities changed for Arab media businesses; and much more. Full details can be found here.
  • Presentation of two outstanding documentary films and an opportunity to discuss them with their directors, Hassan Abdelghani and May Ying Welsh.
  • In acknowledgement of the fundamental role that photojournalism plays in communicating the news, WAN-IFRA and the Ambassador of the Netherlands Embassy in Tunis have invited delegates to attend this year's internationally renowned World Press Photo Exhibition.

Topics of the Middle East Conference in Dubai include:

  • Social Media - The silver bullet in Media? - Leadership and human resource management.
  • Monomedia to Multimedia to Smart media.
  • Innovation in Newsrooms.
  • Advertising campaigns - The power of print.
  • Plus much more!
For the evolving conference programme and registration details, please consult


WAN-IFRA, based in Paris, France, and Darmstadt, Germany, with subsidiaries in Singapore, India, Spain, France and Sweden, is the global organisation of the world’s newspapers and news publishers. It represents more than 18 000 publications, 15 000 online sites and over 3000 companies in more than 120 countries. The organisation was created by the merger of the World Association of Newspapers and IFRA, the research and service organisation for the news publishing industry.
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