Forum to focus on print media

The region’s publishing market is to come under the microscope in a two-day forum in March.

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By  Tim Burrowes Published  January 29, 2006

The region’s publishing market is to come under the microscope in a two-day forum in March. The Middle East Publishing Conference takes place in Dubai in five weeks’ time. Although the main focus will be on print media, the conference will also be taking in online publishing issues. Topics on the agenda include auditing of circulation. BPA Worldwide and ABC UK, which are seen as the world’s two leading publishing audit bodies, will be joined by representatives from Castor, the Circulation Audit Steering Organisation, set up to help move media owners in the Middle East towards robust auditing of figures. None of the speakers for the event, which will be conducted in both English and Arabic, have yet been revealed. The conference is taking place with the support of the International Federation of the Periodical Press and the World Association of Newspapers. Speaking at a press conference to launch the event, Larry Kilman, director of communications for WAN, said: “The issues we will examine during this conference are similar to the concerns facing publishers in much of the rest of the world. The issues are really very simple — how print media can attract and build audiences, and fulfil our role in society.” He also called on publishers in the region to band together to prove the effectiveness of print compared to other media. He said: “This is one area where co-operation among print publications is essential — we need industry-wide mechanisms to show advertisers that print advertising is valuable and effective.” The latest effectiveness research will be unveiled at the conference, although it is unlikely to include Middle East case studies. Organisers Dubai Consultancy Research & Media Centre will also hold a lifetime achievement awards for those who have contributed the most to the region’s publishing industry. Asked why there was not a specific item on the agenda looking to set out a code of conduct for the media, Kilman warned against such a path. He said: “A code of ethics is something we are generally opposed to. It can be a tool of repressive governments to use against the press. It is much better for individual titles to have their own codes.” It takes place on 5 and 6 March at the Fairmont Hotel.

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