In 2017 the National Media Council, partnered with the Center for Public Policy and Leadership in UAE University to conduct a nation-wide survey to gather the perspective of youth on the local media sector and suggestions on how it can be improved to meet international standards and best practices. The survey provided rich insights and was followed by a youth discussion workshop.
These efforts led to the establishment of a Youth Media Council, a platform for regular and continuous communication with a select group of youth, and which serves as a consultative arm for the National Media Council (now merged into the Ministry of Culture and Youth). It allows the National Media Council and the Media Sector in general to benefit from the competencies, experiences, and creative ideas of youth in preparing, designing and directing projects and initiatives.
The Youth Media Council is composed of 12 members aged 18 to 30, who serve a two-year renewable term. Membership is equally split among young men and women, and consists of both Emiratis and expats, in addition to a general coordinator from the National Media Council.
* Since its establishment in early 2018, the Youth Media Council organized and participated in 234 official discussions.
* The Youth Media Council regularly participates in brainstorming session with the National Media Council's Strategic Department to contribute insights for the initiatives of the authority.
* The National Media Council (NMC) launched Media Lab as a means of engaging with media professionals. Media Lab targets three categories of promising young media talent; writers, filmmakers, and games producers. NMC held brainstorming sessions related to the three categories, with the activities led by members of the Youth Media Council to discuss the needs of each group and to develop initiatives and programs commensurate with their requirements.
Below are examples of projects initiated by the Youth Media Council:
* In collaboration with Facebook, the Youth Media Council launched a program allowing WhatsApp users to report false news stories as a means of raising awareness around false information and empowering the general public to combat it.
* "Youth Tube" / "Youth Views", a competition open to all youth in the UAE to form teams and write, produce and edit a short film of 5-7 minutes about the UAE through the eyes of youth.
The UAE believes that youth are key to the success of the country. Therefore, empowering youth to be at the cutting edge of every field is a central component of the UAE's plans. Further, the UAE ensures there are open channels of communication to engage with youth and listen to their views and perspectives on various issues.
The establishment of the Youth Media Council is an example of this engagement in the media sector. It has served as an effective means of harnessing the potential of youth and drawing on their insights to contribute to the development of the UAE's media sector. The Youth Media Council has in turn allowed the members of the council to develop future foresight, engage and facilitate high-level dialogue and see concrete examples of the impact they can have in the development of the country.