Darmstadt, 4 October 2005 – More than 100 representatives of the Arab publishing industry, from 14 countries gathered in Beirut on 29 and 30 September 2005 for one of the first high-level conferences on business strategy and advanced newspaper technology specifically for the Middle East.
The event was so unprecedented that it received a personal welcome from Lebanon’s Minister of Telecommunication Marwan Hamadeh delivered by his adviser Gilbert Najjar. Najjar told the audience that media in the region have expanded to the point that “when we say ‘radio,’ it has a whole new meaning.” Thanks to the Internet and mobile phone technology, he said, communication and the distribution of information are now possible through a variety of platforms and to very diverse audiences – presenting a challenge to newspapers, but also opportunities.
The Ifra Middle East conference agenda was filled with both regional and world experts in various facets of those challenges and opportunities. Topics included new products and innovations, prepress and printing technologies, printing centres and cost savings, editorial workflow and organisation, and online and mobile strategies. Among the hot issues under discussion were the conversion of broadsheet newspapers for more compact formats, and the implementation of computer-to-plate technology for saving costs and improving quality.
The conference at the Mövenpick Hotel & Resort Beirut was organised by Ifra, the world’s leading association for newspaper and media publishing, and cosponsored by Lebanese newspapers An-Nahar, Al Hayat, Daily Star, as well as Emirates Media and KnowledgeView.
In his greeting to participants, Ifra CEO Reiner Mittelbach noted that the threats and prospects for the newspapers industry are enormous, explaining why Ifra has directed substantial resources into the Middle East to support its members here. Ifra has more than 3000 member news publishing and news technology suppliers in more than 70 countries.
The proceedings of Ifra Middle East 2005 were being reported in near real-time through an advanced multimedia newsblog online at http://mideast.ifra-nt.com, featuring video, podcasts, digital images, presentation downloads and text analysis. Also event co-sponsor KnowledgeView was producing a live conference print publication titled Rouya, which means “vision” in Arabic.
For more information about Ifra Middle East 2005 or other Ifra activities, contact [email protected]
or call +49.6151.733-6.