Dubai is a place for everyone- that is its secret. Like millions, I found it to be welcoming and tolerant when I moved to live and work there more than a decade ago. Innovators, adventurers, people starting off, people looking for an area that suits them, young people, old people, women and men all found Dubai to be the city of success. It does not make you feel as though you are a foreigner, a stranger or an outcast.
This city which distinguishes itself has become a popular home for modern and traditional media and the press, in spite of our doubts that it would not be able to deliver its promises due to the difficulties and problems related to the media.
The Arab Media Forum presents a Media Personality of the Year award every year in Dubai and I found myself being honoured with this award. It was given to me by the UAE Vice President and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed Al-Maktoum.
I must admit that the prize does not belong to me alone, because everything that I achieved has been through a collective effort. All my successes in print, digital and television journalism are the result of team work. These lines are not enough to mention all of those people whom I have worked with and the battles that some of them paid with their lives for; may they rest in peace.
In the past, our job was not an ordinary one and we faced many challenges. For this reason, I dedicate this award to every person who lost their life for journalism and suffered because of it. This includes my brother Jawad Kadhim who survived an attempted assault, those who lived in captivity for a long time like my brother Bakr Atyani and Wael Essam before him and those who risked their lives crossing the borders for the unknown.
There is an army of colleagues and friends who were behind these successes and deserve to be honoured with this award. Our profession is a tough one and we have been grappling with it for many years because we are swimming against the tide. Many of us are not recognised for this.
I am one of the lucky few, and I feel grateful for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s appreciation and the Arab Media Forum’s prize. This gratitude is not due to it being the first prize that I have been awarded in forty years, but because I consider it a gesture to people, myself included, who believe in modernisation and insist that the media be used to bring about positive change in our region that deserves better.