The Ministry of Culture concluded yesterday the first edition of the symposium season, which began on March 17, in partnership with the University of Qatar and the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies. The last session was entitled “Social Communication”, during which attendees discussed the extent of the impact of social media on society, and the pros and cons of these sites.
Speaking at the end of the symposiums, HE the Minister of Culture’s Advisor, Dr. Ghanem Bin Mubarak Al-Ali, said that the end of this season comes amid success and interaction by society and institutions. And h added that the concerted efforts and partnership have resulted in a season full of intellectual and literary activities, achieving the desired goals of promoting and enriching the cultural scene, extending bridges of communication with all sectors and groups of society, including academics, researchers, students, writers and journalists, and highlighting interlocutors and speakers from creative and specialized people.
Dr. Al-Ali stated, the symposium season, in its first session, brought together intellectuals and intellectuals from different generations for dialog on various literary and intellectual issues that are directly related to the concerns of cultural elites in their relationship with society. It also succeeded in creating a positive movement in the cultural environment and enriched the ideas, perceptions and recommendations that will be of interest to the Ministry of Culture for its study and follow-up, so as to serve society and culture in Qatar.
He continued: The symposium season will continue as an ongoing event, in order to maintain this momentum and cultural, social and media activity. It is also an enhancement of the cultural movement that has taken place during the symposium season. The fair is part of the Ministry of Culture’s policy to localize books in Qatar. It seeks to promote and spread a culture of reading and celebrates Qatari heritage that promotes indigenous cultural values.
Dr. Ghanem bin Mubarak Al-Ali said: The exhibition will feature cultural and religious events related to the Ramadan atmosphere in which Qatari society is known. The Ministry of Culture chose to create a souq as a space for the exhibition to bring writers closer to the public and create a cultural movement in this historical place, which during the holy month will be a destination for the public. He invited everyone to visit the fair, which will run from April 8th to 16th, “in your presence there is support for the status of the book and encouragement for reading,” thanking everyone for their contribution to the success of the symposium season.
A number of media professionals and social media users participated in the “social media” session, which was held at the Doha Institute for Higher Studies. They are Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Harmi, Dr. Jaber Nasser Al-Marri, media expert at the Ministry of Culture, Mr. Mubarak Al-Khayarin, Mr. Abdullah Al-Anzi, poet Abdul Rahman Bin Saud Al-Hajri, and journalist Iman Al-Kaabi, social media official at Qatar Radio.
The session discussed the social media’s impact on society and the positive and negative aspects of communication media. Media session was opened by Hassan Al-Sai, who thanked the Ministry of Culture for its efforts in holding the symposium season, as it adopted a common platform in presenting ideas and opinions, in order to enrich the cultural and intellectual scene.
Dr. Abdul Rahman al-Harmi said electronic devices should be used in a positive way, rather than a negative one. He said: Globalization has not chosen anyone to be or not, as it has become part of our lives, which makes us all have to take responsibility for its repercussions, and while it can be said that electronic devices are an information asset, they can in turn be a time bomb.
Journalist Jaber Nasser al-Marri addressed the negatives of the two Twitter users, starting from a media and political perspective. He pointed out that some social media users may use it negatively, while others may use it in a positive way, thus becoming a knowledge treasure, stressing the importance of the users of these sites to be socially responsible, emotionally consistent, and avoid the person while verifying the information transmitted.
He said that at one time, the media was the primary means through which messages were delivered, until today, space expanded, and these means multiplied through social media. He described what is happening to these sites as scary, due to the lack of controls and the rush in commenting and tweeting.
Al-Marri came out on the political front, citing the extent of the impact of social media on him, against the backdrop of the sanctions that were imposed on Russian social media users in the wake of the war on Ukraine. That means that the pioneers and activists can be blackmailed by depriving them from using social media, even though they may be a source of their livelihood.
Mr. Mubarak thanked the Ministry of Culture for organizing the festival. He described the Twitter platform as a huge recycling space, and that even though it is, the discussions taking place there are events, far from ideas, and described it as very problematic.
He said that since he started to enter Twitter, he had set his goal to avoid controversy and unhelpful discussions, and that is why he was keen to keep up with the policy of government development in the state. as well as to provide everything that benefits the people. He found an interaction with the “Twitter” pioneers, which reflects their thirst for knowledge, as well as their awareness of what is going on in their surroundings. Warning of the danger of hastening the process of tweeting without scrutiny and commitment to the credibility of the information.
Abdullah Al-Anzi described the symposium season as a contribution to increasing freedom. Thanking HE Minister of Culture Sheik Abdulrahman bin Hamad Al-Thani. He called for rapprochement between parents and their families, especially when they use social media sites, because they are difficult to isolate.
Poet Abdul Rahman Saud Al-Hajri described some of those who tweeted the news as bullying. He called for ignoring this quality. Tweeters should seek news from official sources, pointing out the possibility of diversity of views, without any offense to persons.
Iman Al-Kaabi, a journalist, said the symposium season enriches the cultural scene. She shared her personal experience in directing her children to use social media. She said she was proud to direct her children to use these sites in the most appropriate way. He called on parents to follow up on their parents and provide them with the best guidance in using these websites.
The audience responded to the speakers’ comments by calling for criteria for the use of Twitter and the creation of a WhatsApp Tweeps Association. Poet Mubarak Al Khalifa warned against the danger of using Twitter to achieve “trending”, “get the most likes, views, etc., away from any meaningful content that could be presented.”
Writer Mariam Yassin Al-Hammadi, director of the Department of Culture and Arts and general manager of the Qatari Authors Forum, said that communication itself has become a form of cultural production, calling for the need for tweeters to go beyond areas of disagreement and conflict, so there is a responsibility with legal, ethical and professional authority.
Writer and media professional Dr. Abdullah Faraj Al-Marzouki thanked the Ministry of Culture for organizing the symposium season. He described the ministry’s hosting of the Ramadan Book Fair as a source of satisfaction. He called on Twitter users to avoid creating strife, so that they can practice Twitter in a clean environment while keeping up with the times.
Dr. Marzouki also called for the establishment of a WhatsApp association that brings together the two tweeps, similar to what is happening at the Qatari authors’ forum, to facilitate communication.
Dr. Marzouk Bashir, a writer, thanked the Ministry of Culture for choosing the titles of the symposium season and for stimulating discussion about it. He pointed out that the communication process in itself is old, and not the result of the modern era, but it has evolved with human development, in addition to technical and cultural development. He called on academics to teach modern communication processes in their curricula, in accordance with rules and standards.
In the Twitter response to the audience, journalist Jaber Nasser Al-Marri stressed the need for specialization for the Tweeps, and that they should realize that, they can lead public opinion, which requires a great responsibility, so that their abstractions are in accordance with what supports and serves the country.
Al-Anzi echoed his sentiment, stressing the importance of being a specialist and calling for the activation of the role of censorship by cybercrime.
Poet Abdul Rahman Al-Hajri described Twitter as a platform that has no platform. Iman Al-Kaabi said that it is not necessary for every tweet to be tweeted, as Twitter used to be an elite platform until its current widespread use, without any standards or regulations, extended.