Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi speaking at the opening of the 8th International Government Communication Forum in UAE. Pic: Emirates News Agency.

SHARJAH - Governments across the world were on Wednesday urged to improve their communication channels and strategies in a bid to allow citizens to have a greater voice in how their countries are governed.

Speaking at the opening of the 8th International Government Communication Forum in United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi said that investing in human capital was a fundamental goal for all governments. Al Qasimi is also the chairman of Sharjah Media Council.

Speaking via recorded video message, veteran American television and radio host, Larry King, concurred with this sentiment, saying that governments needed to invest in training their communications personnel.

King said social media has become real platforms for the industry to communicate with each other, and governments need to be aware of the importance of these platforms in creating world public opinion  

"Governments should take government communication seriously and train their staff to communicate with the people. Fake news and rumors spread very quickly, and governments have to build a fine line with the people because without the support of the people, governments can do nothing," King said.

"I expect fake news to continue into the future but governments have to address it through effective government communication with their people."

British-American entrepreneur and author, Andrew Keen, said the purpose of government in the 21st century was to give humans agency and to empower them. 

"What is clear and what is interesting is that we live in a time where the legitimacy and credibility of government is being undermined, but we now need government more than ever to shape the digital future and protect privacy," Keen said. 

Themed "Behavioural Change Towards Human Development" the high-profile two-day global summit aims to shed light on key challenges and issues in the field of government communication in motivating individuals to play a key role in the development process.

The event is attended by more than 4 000 high-level officials from 140 countries, heads of state and government, 30 international organisations and entrepreneurs.

African News Agency (ANA)