In pictures.. The opening of Dubai Press Club in 1999

03 Jul 2022
Dubai Press Club

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched the Dubai Press Club (DPC), the Arab Journalism Award (AJA), and the Arab Media Forum (AMF) 24 years ago, establishing Dubai as a leader in Arab media. This came from Sheikh Mohammed’s strong belief in the Media’s critical role in the economic growth and development.

When Dubai Press Club was founded in November 1999, Dubai cemented its place as a regional and global media hub and the meeting place for Arab and Western media. 20 years later and due to the long-term version and the tremendous efforts to support the media industry, Dubai was named the Arab media capital for the years 2020 and 2021.

Dubai Press Club - Mohammad Al Gergawi

Mohammed bin Rashid visits the headquarters of the Dubai Press Club upon its opening in 1999

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Minister of Defense at the time announced the opening of the Dubai Press Club and the launch of the Arab Journalism Award in a press conference in 1999. The event was attended by His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, then Minister of Information and Culture, and His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Mohammad Al Gergawi President of the Dubai Press Club.

In light of the press’s influence on societies and public opinion, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum emphasized in his speech that the press has always played a pivotal role in the Arab world. It promoted the development in the Arab countries and defended the just causes of our Arab nation.

His Highness addressed the journalists and stated:

We aim to strengthen the press’s pillars so that it can fully fulfill its role and responsibilities. This can only be accomplished through the efforts of journalists who possess knowledge, integrity, and objectivity, possess talent, and are confident that their message has noble goals and purposes.

Adaptation to Global Changes

As a result of the responsibility entrusted to the press to keep up with global changes, His Highness emphasized that the Arab press has never failed to complete its mission, particularly in this era of political, economic, and scientific changes that usher in a new era for humanity, the era of information, communication, and globalization. He continued: “We live in a new era after tremendous scientific achievements have poured in over the past two decades and produced facts that have profound effects on human activity in all its dimensions. And you, as workers in the media sector in general and the press in particular, represent one of the most crucial channels in this relationship. You must be proactive to keep up with this change, which imposes additional burdens and responsibilities on you and your nation that you cannot avoid but you have to interact positively with it.”

His Highness added that these changes present us with great challenges and opportunities, and that all we must do is rise to the occasion and seize the opportunities. “I have great faith in the youth of our nation, who are able to complete this task, keep up with the times, speak its language, and contribute to its accomplishments.”

Mohammed bin Rashid speaking at the opening of the Dubai Press Club in 1999


His Highness noted that these changes present us with great challenges and opportunities, and that all we need to do is rise to the occasion and seize the opportunities.

Freedom is a privilege and a responsibility

Sheikh Mohammed explained that freedom of expression and access to information is essential for the development of the press in the United Arab Emirates, and that the platforms of openness and transparency established by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and his brother Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum are to be credited for that.

It was also pointed out by His Highness that freedom does not in any way violate morality, and it is a privilege and responsibility.

Dubai Press Club

Mohammed bin Rashid listens to an explanation about the latest electronic devices provided by the club 

From the podium of the Dubai Press Club, His Highness urged journalists in the country to establish the Journalists Association, which would contribute to deeper cooperation among them to develop work. He added that the Dubai Press Club places all of its facilities at the disposal of journalists as a starting point.

Arab Journalism Award

The Dubai Press Club’s launch ceremony witnessed the announcement of the establishment of  Arab Journalism Award. The award honors efforts made by journalists to convey the truth.

The Media Personality of the Year award is given to the most prominent Arab media figures who have established a track record of accomplishments and left clear imprints throughout their journey in the media scene. The award was established to be an annual award for various fields of journalistic work. This is the first time in the Middle East that an award in the category of visual journalism has been introduced. It was announced that a committee of specialists and experts had been formed to establish the award system.

“In partnership with the Arab Journalism Award, the club establishes a new stage in the march of the county’s media, contributing to the advancement of the press and the development of its tools, cementing Dubai’s position as an incubator for Arab media and media talent”, this how the  President of the Dubai Press Club Mohammad Al Gergawi described the strategic importance of these media projects. He noted that His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision will leave distinct fingerprints in the Arab media and will make Dubai a center and a forum for journalists and thinkers from across the region and the globe.

Dubai Press Club - Mohammed bin Rashid

Mohammed bin Rashid meets the Dubai Press Club staff at its inauguration in 1999


Dubai Press Club - Mohammad Al Gergawi - Mohammed Al-Murr

Abdullah bin Zayed, Mohammad Al Gergawi, Mohammed Al-Murr and several attendees at the opening ceremony