ABU DHABI, 8th October 2016 (WAM) – The National media Council (NMC) hosted its first annual forum for the strategic partners of the Emirates News Agency (WAM), with the aim of boosting communications and sharing views on the agency’s services.

NMC Director General Mansour Al Mansouri emphasised the forum’s importance as a platform for discussing the best ways of cooperation. He also underlined the vital role played by WAM in reflecting the UAE’s achievements and enhancing its image.

“This forum emanates from WAM’s strong belief that relations with strategic partners form the basis for developing its mandate to provide quality media services,” he said.

Further, Al Mansouri renewed NMC and WAM’s keen interest to deepening relations with its strategic partners, saying that sharing expertise and views is no longer a luxury, but a need to spread knowledge and to align with the strategy that embraces synergy as a key element for excellent performance.

Additionally, Mohammed Jalal Al Raisi, Deputy Executive Director, WAM, spoke about the agency’s development since its inception in November 1976. He noted that WAM began its professional services on 18th June, 1977, covering the news of the UAE and highlighting the political, economic and development of the country.

“Years of hard work and progress led WAM to be among the first news agencies in the world to transmit news, supported by photography and video footage,” he added.

Further, he noted that 128,000 news stories were transmitted by WAM last year, and this number is expected to rise by 5% to 130,000 by the end of 2016.

Al Raisi also highlighted the services offered to WAM subscribers through its website and social media platforms, including news in Arabic, English and Urdu. He revealed additional plans to add Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish services in the future.

He also said that WAM subscribers are able to access its ‘FileWorks’ system and portal to receive exclusive services, such as uploading and downloading news, pictures and videos.

WAM is also active on other fronts. For instance, it is currently working on an ambitious programme to provide media training to media students in universities. The programme, called ‘The Future Journalist’, entails development of a virtual hands-on platform for students to practice their skills.

The Agency is also engaged in collaboration with educational zones to encourage students in schools to consider media as a future career path.

Additionally, a panel discussion was held at the end of the forum to explore ways of strengthening WAM’s relations with its strategic partners and key stakeholders, as well as developing the means to address challenges.