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Cairo Media Conference 5

November 20, 2023

A strong press has been theorized to be a key element of a functioning healthy country, with citizens relying on journalism and the media industry to provide accurate information and to hold authority accountable, particularly at times of crises. Yet, several forces pose significant challenges to that effort, including the challenges that come with the advent of technological innovations such as Artificial Intelligence (AI). This is why the department of Journalism and Mass Communication in collaboration with Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway hosted the fifth edition of the Cairo Media Conference on November 20.  This meeting has become one of the premier events for leaders in the industry to put forward new ideas and exchange diverse financial, technical and editorial perspectives. 

The theme for this year’s conference was “Artificial Intelligence: the New Frontier for Journalism and Media” was kicked off with an opening speech from Khaled El-Balshy, Head of the Egyptian Press Syndicate. In light of the ongoing war in Gaza, related topics of media coverage and the circumstances and scarifies of the Palestinian journalists overshadowed his speech. 

Keynotes were given by Arne Jensen, Senior Advisor to the Association of Norwegian Editors, Linet Kwamboka, Senior Program Manager, Data4Now-Kenya and Tarjei Leer-Salvesen all of whom addressed various aspects of AI impact, opportunities and challenges in relation to journalism and media. 

The first panel  included Alas El-Ghatrifi, Editor in Chief of Al Masry Al Youm newspaper, Hildegunn Soldal, Head of Digital, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation and Khaled El-Baramawy, Journalist & TV Host specialized in Digital Media trends and moderated by Mahmoud El Tamimi, Journalist and owner of Media Clinic Pro. The panel focused on the early responses to the AI in the world of news discussing the place of AI as either a complementary or the core of the future journalism in both Egypt and globally. 

This was followed by a second panel whose main concern was the ethical and responsible use of AI, sharing real examples and guidelines from Egypt, Norway and other outstanding models as the world struggles with the seismic waves of change that are coming with this revolutionary technology. Panelists included Nouri Sakr, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, AUC , Georgy Sabry, Head of Content Sector, Sarmady, Fabrizio Palumbo, Associate Professor, OsloMet University and Arne Jensen with the moderation of Ehab Al-Zalaky, journalist and digital media expert. 

Finally the last panel was concerned with the one of the key features of AI system: the ability to process data, analyze patterns, generate insights and exchange information quickly. Additionally, the panel addressed issues related to access to information on a global level. Panelists Amr El-Eraqi, adjunct faculty, AUC, Abeer Saady, Media Development expert, specialist in conflict zones & gender inequality, Tarek Said , Journalist and former coordinator of the Egyptian Editors Forum (EEF) and moderated by Ahmed Montasser, Media Product Development Manager, also predicted the impact of AI on the near future of the industry. 

Participants consisted mainly of Egyptian journalists from the top newspapers, broadcasters and media educators and students. The conference was followed up by two workshops on techniques to access global information in a legal manner.