Mutual respect and trust based on responsibility, transparency and reliability are the key words for developing a fruitful relationship between the media and government departments, Major General Mohammad Al Marri, Director General of the Residency and Foreigners Affairs Department, has said. https://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/theuae/2010/August/theuae_August804.xml&section=theuae&col= He was addressing an interactive session at the Directorate General of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (DGRFA) on Sunday, as part of the department’s efforts to develop a more effective partnership with the local media. In his keynote speech, Major Al Marri said that an improper way of carrying information or misquoting government sources leads to contrary and negative consequences based on misconception and lack of coordination. The objective, he said, is to help the media convey a true image of the government services being rendered to the public. “It will help the government departments get an honest feedback from the public through the media based on facts,” he noted. The public may misunderstand the message conveyed by the mass media, particularly the electronic media, which has become accessible at any place and any time. Major Al Marri stressed that the UAE gives full support to the media. “His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, meeting media people twice in less than two weeks, truly indicates this support,” he said. The interactive session also featured a discussion on the role media plays as a watchdog on the activities and services of government departments. “Media is supposed to provide constructive criticism, rather than fishing in troubled waters so as not to confuse and mislead the public,” said Fadhila Al Maeni of Al Bayan newspaper. “Media is a valuable link between decision makers and the public opinion that helps crystallize social unanimity on the priorities of the society. The more reliable facts media carries, the wider readership it gains and more influential it becomes,” she said. The third part of the seminar shed light on the obstacles that may hamper the role of media in reporting on government departments. The speakers pointed that at times it might be difficult for a reporter to get the information he or she is scouting for. The speakers added that it also gets difficult to reach the spokesperson of a government department. “He (the spokesperson) is not even authorised to comment; this gap needs to be bridged,” a journalist said. The discussion saw the presence of media people from all Arab and foreign media as well as high ranking officers from the department.