Sharjah 2016 | ECONOMY | FOCUS: MEDIA

Sharjah's media landscape is defined by its promotion of local and regional discourse, carving out a niche for itself as it aims to respect both freedom and public responsibility.

Sharjah Media Corporation

Established by Emiri Decree in 2009, the Sharjah Media Corporation is a government organization tasked with strengthening the media industry in Sharjah. With an emphasis on education-oriented television and radio programming, the corporation offers a dynamic array of content. After a recent switch from analog technologies to state-of-the-art digital broadcasting, the Sharjah Media Corporation is looking to expand, and it has begun implementing a new, geographically-inclusive television broadcasting plan that will bring quality programming to all of Sharjah in the near future. Sharjah television is not, however, merely focused on local events, and a robust reporting infrastructure allows it to cover stories across the UAE and wider world.

Sharjah Media Centre

The Sharjah Media Centre is an institution tasked with managing, producing, and disseminating the Emirate's message across the region and the world. As Director Tariq Saeed Allay told TBY, “We showcase Sharjah and its journey of excellence and progress by sending out media releases to targeted markets overseas." Recently, journalists from across the world were invited to tour the Mleiha Archaeological and Eco-tourism project, where they were able to experience and assess one of Sharjah's most important new eco-tourism investment programs. Meanwhile, the Emirate's first international photography festival, XPOSURE 2016, was held in October and had a wide variety of activities showcasing photojournalism in the UAE and the wider world. The Sharjah Media Centre also hosts the Sharjah Press Club.

Committed to Open Communication

One of the ways Sharjah strives to uphold a diverse and fruitful dialogue in the media is through the International Government Communication Forum, an initiative designed to enrich the means and methods of communication between governments and societies. Since 2012, this annual forum has brought together government and media leaders from across the world to discuss ideas, challenges, and opportunities in local, regional, and international media ecosystems. Hosting speakers as esteemed as: HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah; Michel Sleiman, President of the Republic of Lebanon (2008-2014); José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission (2004-2014) and Prime Minister of Portugal (2002-2004); Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia (2010-2013); and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia, among many others, Sharjah has endeavored to stimulate and elevate the discussion around the most pressing and important media questions of our day.

Sharjah Media City Free Zone

The Sharjah Media City Free Zone is an initiative aimed at strengthening the relationship between media producers, consumers, and the government. According to GulfNews, the free zone's mandate is to ensure that Sharjah continues to play a key and formative role in training and supporting creatives across all media disciplines and ensuring the production of innovative content. The Media City is expected to stimulate growth and diversity across the entire media landscape and to establish Sharjah as a regional media hub.
Sharjah Publishing City is also in the works and plans to attract publishing interests from across the world. An initiative of the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), the publishing “free zone" will provide tax incentives and a strategic distribution center for international and regional publishing firms. According to the SBA, the city will stretch across nearly 20,000sqm and provide a number of business-oriented support mechanisms.
Yet the city is but one of many programs initiated by the SBA. The SBA also runs Sharjah's library system and oversees both the Sharjah International Book Fair and the Sharjah Children's Reading Festival. Since its inauguration in the 1982, the Sharjah International Book Fair has grown into one of the premier publishing fairs in the world, and in 2014 it hosted 1256 publishers from 59 nations and introduced more than 1.4 million visitors to the latest literary splendors of the world.