Nov. 29, 2016

Tariq Saeed Allay

UAE, Sharjah

Tariq Saeed Allay

Director, Sharjah Media Centre

TBY talks to Tariq Saeed Allay, Director of Sharjah Media Centre, on the Centre's evolution, promoting Sharjah's image, and expanding coverage.


Tariq Saeed Allay is the Director of Sharjah Media Centre, the media and communication arm of the government of Sharjah. He previously served as Head of the Communication Department at the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) for 10 years. He received a bachelor’s degree in communication sciences from the University of Sharjah in 2005 and has since attended numerous training courses and workshops to refine his media and communication skills at the hands of some of the most skilled trainers in the world.

Sharjah Media Centre is adapting to the Emirate's rapid evolution. What are the main new developments at the Centre?

The government established Sharjah Media Centre five years ago. Today, it has emerged as a single-window, unique platform that anyone can approach to know any and everything about Sharjah, its government, institutions, the economy, government procedures, media, education, history, and landmarks—or any other area. We have a team of more than 100 qualified, well-trained professionals. We are also constantly looking to empower our staff by providing them with training and new skills so that they give their best in serving the Centre. We are in touch with other contact centers in the UAE and the region to help us with this. The Centre is also responsible for the PR and media coverage of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, both in the UAE and abroad. We have a dedicated social media account for the Ruler covering all of his events and engagements.

The Sharjah Media Centre is the media arm of the government of Sharjah and aims to promote the Emirate. How is the Centre working to achieve that?

We have built a rewarding relationship with other government departments and agencies in the Emirate and are constantly working with them toward the objective of acting as the media arm and platform of the government. For example, we liaise with the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority to publish various statistics about the industry, such as the Emirate's tourist numbers and museum visitor data. If the number of tourists visiting a particular area or attraction is seen as dwindling, then the Centre could focus on promoting it. Of course, we are constantly working to strengthen our partnership with other stakeholders and present a positive image of the Emirate through our media interaction. Since the inception of the Centre, especially with the launch of the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF), which is attended by more than 2,000 world leaders and media personalities, there has been a clear, positive, and perceptible improvement in the way Sharjah is seen around the world and across the region.

This year Sharjah hosted the fifth International Government Communication Forum (IGCF) with the slogan “Citizens for Prosperity." What were the main highlights of this year and how would you rate its results?

The IGCF is all about enhancing government communication and this year we focused on improving communication between citizens and the government. As HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Member of Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, said in his opening address at the 2015 edition of the Forum, communication needs to be two-way, not just one way—from the government to the people. As part of this theme, we discussed various aspects of communication involving the government and its people, including areas as different as aviation and culture, with experienced speakers from both the public and private sectors running the sessions.

What are your priorities and goals for 2016?

Every year we set ourselves certain objectives and activities that are aimed at supporting and working with other government departments. We need to take the next step now and have one centralized media entity in Sharjah. We are planning to meet with every media team of every government department at least every three months to see what their problems and concerns are and how to address them. We are working to produce one coordinated media calendar for Sharjah. We need to streamline the system. We also need to improve our call center so that it is open and accessible 24 hours. We need to make the Press Club more attractive and accessible to journalists as well by providing more services and benefits. We also need to expand the scope of the Ruler's PR and media coverage beyond Arabic and English to other languages, especially when he travels abroad.