Saturday, 12 May 2007

Forum Bore 'em

This came from an anonymous submission:

"Poor Abdullatif Al Sayegh went down like a lead balloon at the Innovation Forum a couple of days ago. The moderator, BBC's Nima Abu Wardeh, interrupted him twice while he rambled on endlessly about Arab Media Group. After sharply ordering him to stay on topic, she then ordered him back to his seat.

"But it didn't stop there for Dubai's media chief. The first question from the audience was aimed at Al Sayegh, with the delegate asking why his presentation was not relevant to innovation or the business forum. Al Sayegh started blustering about how many ideas AMG has. Nima interrupted him twice to demand he provide an actual example of what these ideas actually were. He cited Shoof TV.

"The whole excruciating performance made David Brent look like Bill Clinton."

46 comments:

AMGescapee said...

Remember the nauseating performance at the radio conference, when he brought along a load of staff just so they could applaud his speech? Lucky he did, cos they were the only ones clapping.

Trouble Maker said...

Anyone at AMG fancy going through the Dubai Eye archives? Al Sayegh went on the Business Breakfast a couple of months after Toady launched to boast about how great it was. Then he promised to get the papers audited, within three months. Be interesting to iknow what happened to that promise.

Abdullatif's bitch said...

He did an interview with Campain as well and said in that he'd be opening offices in London, New York and Tokyo. Wonder what happened to that?

amgescapee said...

Like Anil Bhoyrul said, he only got that job because he's the only Emirati with a degree in media studies

Anonymous said...

Tut, tut, Abullatif's bitch. Obviously an office situated in glamorous Al Quoz, sandwiched between cement works and furniture factories, is infinitely better than London, New York and Tokyo.

Anonymous said...

AMG - Everything We Do - We Do Badly

Anonymous said...

Mind you, Nina's not exactly the world's greatest hack either.
Give her a script and she gets away with it, but if you ever heard her try to give her insights at a conference it's pretty obvious that she's never going to bother the Mensa testers.

Anonymous said...

AMG - Another Mess Guaranteed

Anonymous said...

I hope the woman from the BBC realises that her reward for exposing Abdul Latif's quite breathtaking incompetence will be editorials across the Arabic press in the UAE denouncing the Beeb as anti-Islamic, anti-Arab and anti-Muslim.
There'll be front page stories in the Toady calling on major suppliers to boycott the BBC and Abdul Latif's boss will ring Emaar and Nakheel and order them to ban the BBC from their properties.
And there'll be scripted outrage on radio stations across the country calling on the Beeb to be damned and for Nina to be imprisoned and then deported.
Then the people who install satelite boxes which beam the BBC into the UAE will get a telephone call from a high up in Dubai and be ordered to withdraw from the BBC contract at a few hours notice, and then.......

No, no, sorry. That could never happen in a first world city like Dubai which has such a fair, able media chief life Abdul Latif.

It's all too far fetched.

Isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Here's $100 million - set up two newspapers...
Shall we sell them or give them away? - errr both
Who shall we target - err expats, no locals, no labourers, no everyone
What shall we put in them? vision, humbrage and photos of our esteemed leaders
Who shall we hire? anyone who has already been sacked in Dubai and promote them rapidly
Why are we selling less than 1,000 copies a day and failing? - errr the competion close them now
Why am I CEO of the year? - I know how to spell my own name
Can I rule the world and have the largest media empire in the Middle East and the whole globe - sure because if I spout enough shi someone somewhere will believe me
PS - got another $100 mill?
AMG - Atrocious media gimp

Anonymous said...

Amateur Media Group (AMG) should rightly be taken away from that silly little man Abdulatif Al Sayegh.

He is utterly incompetent and his performanced reveals exactly what we all know - having a lot of money to play with does not automatically give one vision.

The UAE should be ashamed of his management style as he has turned back the progress of the media industry in the UAE by at least two decades.

To Mr Al Sayegh - Denial is not a river in Egypt it is a state of mind among many Emiratis lie yourself.

Wake up and get real, the whole world is laughing at your buffoon-like incompetence. You reap what you sow.

Anonymous said...

Something else he kept banging on about was how "well" AMG is doing compared to other media companies. He kept saying "there is a reason we are doing so well and they are not, it's obvious there is a reason" yet no one had the bollocks to stand up and say yeah because you're government funded you cretin.

Anonymous said...

J'accuse! You guys are a bunch of idiots! The BBC will be shut down in some night of the long knives purge in response to "the woman from the BBC" making Al Sayegh uncomfortable. Give me a break. You like to think you're all living in some hard core, repressive environment where the journos are all heroes and the last defence against opression and tyrrany. And the accusations of management incompetence just sound like sour grapes and undergraduate whining. If you all know so much, go and get a job with the NYT. Better still, go to Zimbabwe or one of the hundred other places in the world that need the kind of journalists you wish you could be. Dubai is softball, not the 21st century Orwellian wet dream you fantasise about. Snap out of it and make it better if you think you can make a difference, otherwise step aside, you're in everyone else's way and you're making fools of yourselves. This is a media blog, show us what you've got.

Anonymous said...

The poster who mocked the notion of a 'night of the long knives' knows as well as everyone else that what was described in the earlier posting was meant to be ironic - but was based entirely on fact.
Friends at 7days tell me they went through all of this and a lot more.
I'm afraid it is not a fantasy - it all happened, every last bit of it.
It was all orchestrated by AMG and their Dubai chums for the simple reason that AMG was, and still is, failing miserably.
The closure of the Emirates Evening Post was to the same end: to clear the market place for Loser Latif and his equally crap head of sales.
Many other publishers in Dubai have also had their chains pulled by Dubai high-ups - all to clear the way for Abdul Latif, because he was so hopelessly out of his depth on his own.

Anonymous said...

"I was being ironic!" Irony - the last refuge of the baseless argument. Spare us.

Anonymous said...

I find it incredible that after everything that's been written on this site there are still people that seem to believe the concerted campaign against 7days and its staff is nothing but a figment of the imagination. Perhaps when they too have their residence visa refused on grounds of 'national security' they'll change their tune. No one is claiming that what 7days, or anyone else, is doing here is on a par with the NYT. The fact is they tried to push the boundaries and got badly burned, because that's the only way AMG can compete. As a journalist, that has me deeply worried. That anyone can feel otherwise has me speechless.

Anonymous said...

Very little of the journalism in Dubai is heroic, but that's not really the point. If the journos of the UAE wanted to be heroes they'd go to a part of the world where they could either have more to report on, or make more of a difference.
But that doesn't mean the moans aren't valid. We all know there isn't a free press, or anything like it. The journos are scared for their jobs; their bosses are scared for their businesses.
The result? Crap editorial that makes Dubai look stupid and a marginally less nice place to live than if there was something decent to read.
Through his toadying to The Vision, people like Abdullatif are actually holding back the UAE. He's an enemy of the state. Deport him!

Al Quoz survivor said...

Al Sayegg will get fired in the end. Even Emiratis get the boot, sorry "promoted" if they mess up often enough.
If I was Sheikh Mo I'd be losing patience that Dubai was being made to look like a tinpot dictatorship by its supine press.

Anonymous said...

I find it incredible that after everything that's been written on this site there are still people that seem to believe the concerted campaign against 7days and its staff is nothing but a figment of the imagination.

Plenty of us do know this and have even had high level confirmation of the movement to "end" 7Days. The printing presses ordered not to print it. The advertisers "advised" to stay away. But what to do? Send an anonymous email with unsubstantiated claims to Associated Newspapers? I'm sure 7Days people are doing all they can along those lines.

It's a slow and interesting game, but Associated will win the war, even if Dubai Inc wins the (Pyrrhic) battle of closing 7Days.

Anonymous said...

Out of genuine interest has anyone ever seen a worse paper than AMG's Emirates Today?

Anonymous said...

To the one who tried to tell us all off...that's the bloody problem. You guys have so much money but no sense of morality. Foreign journalists are simply not allowed to report the truth and we are treated appallingly.
Check out Human Rights Watch - they are keeping a list of all those who are roughed up by the emirati authorities.

You still run your country like a tribal gathering rather than a democracy. That's why you've already lost so many strong, competent and dedicated journalists who believe the truth is more important than your collective ego. Decent people can always take criticism, weak people can't.

Al Sayegh is an arrogant twit with no media savvy at all - he's also not a very good public speaker. He has cost you dear in terms of progressing the role of the media as a fair and accurate conscience for the nation.

Doesn't it make you feel utterly lied to when all you read about is how great everything is here? And the only criticism papers like GN ever dish out is to easy targets like 'the West' - pathetic. Allah forbid it would ever criticise the UAE.

Read UAE papers is about as interesting as watching paint dry.

Anonymous said...

is there any proof (fax, memo etc.) that amg or the big boss ordered the end to distribution or adverts? at the moment, it's all deniable

Anonymous said...

Well, denial is common currency is this part of t' world.

And you thought it was a river in Egypt.

Anonymous said...

re proof/fax come on you know how things work here, they are "made known". so much is still done word of mouth like the whole majlis system. it is a call here a call there, it does not need to be in writing

Anonymous said...

"To the one who tried to tell us all off...that's the bloody problem. You guys have so much money but no sense of morality."

You assume the criticism came from a UAE national. It didn't. What you don't get is that this place is not yet fully formed and the notion of imposing Western models of media excellence here is simply flawed. For numerous reasons. Free speech and media freedom didn't happen overnight where we're from either and they won't here. In addition there is a global perception, and it's academically debated, that certain sections of the Western media actually abuse notions of free speech for the personal gain of media barons and their political preferences. Those in places where the media is a new industry simply don't want to emulate that, they want to maintain that control for themselves. Most importantly, we find ourselves in an actual culture, one that is built on hundreds of generations of deference and high respect for leaders. It smacks of neo-imperialist disdain to assume you can sweep it aside and plant your free press flag in the sand.

The point is this: make a difference. This is your time, your opportunity to play a part in building a real voice through the media in this part of the world. It has to evolve, you can't construct it in the same way you can build roads and buildings. The media is complicated and it needs to be debated and discussed. So do it. Stop whining about everything and denigrating individuals and accusing people of having no morality and rise to the challenge. The people who run this place aren't stupid and they actually are very open to reasonable arguments.

It's difficult and it's complicated and it's interesting - thank God. If you don't want to do it, go home and look at page 3 girls, or celebrities, or sport, or whatever else is dominating our so-called examplars of the free press these days.

Anonymous said...

The critical poster did not sound like an Emirati by the language that he used.
Can anyone think of a relatively newly-arrived Western journalist (about the only one left) at the Toady?
I can.
So your idea of 'playing a part in building a real voice through the media' is to close down the Emirates Evening Post and try to close down 7days, is it?
How can people who used to work for the EEP play a positive role when they're out of work? And wasn't that your intention with 7days?
And the Toady is playing its part in building a positively critical media, is it?
So how come everyone else thinks the Toady has taken the media here back to pre-historic times with its sucking up?
Were you at the editorial conference when the editor in chief rejected a story 'because it made Dubai look bad'?
I was.
Papers like 7days and EEP were never dominated by page 3 girls or celebrities or sport.
Your claim otherwise suggests that you haven't worked in the UAE for long (it is you, isn't it? How's the wife?), or that you are being deliberately dishonest.
The other papers did challenge the authorities when they promised, but failed to deliver.
If that isn't the media's role, then what is?
And if you and Abdul Latif and others think that the Toady's way is the way forward, why won't you just compete on level terms rather than getting other papers closed down?
And why won't you tell us how many copies the Toady sells each day?
Where's the audit you lot promised two years ago?
Come on now. Be Frank.

Anonymous said...

Such has been the staff exodus away from AMG we are all being forced to sign new contracts with a clause now banning us for a year if we leave while increasing our notice period to 3 months - something they promised they would never do...way to go AMG how progressive.
If Pol Pot had newspapers they wouldn't have been more fawning.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 19.27, you do know that the Arab media works under far tighter restrictions than the Western media.

The UAE press (English language) has made great strides in terms of freedom in the past couple of years. Reporting on tower fires, big accidents, workers rights, prostitution, AIDS, the stock market crashing, stories criticising building delays, infrastructure problems, residents protesting, workers protesting etc...

While there is no constant stream of salacious stories about unscrupulous businessmen and the dealings of the royals, you have to concede that three years ago the stories above would not be making it into any paper here.

Slowly and steadily. Frustrating I know, but journos here are gradually making a difference.

But yes...Al Sayegh is an arrogant twit who is trying to push the changes that have been achieved over the past few years.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 09.19 - isn't AMG a Dubai Media City company? and therefore a year ban contravenes Dubai Media City policy of no bans?

Anonymous said...

I too was in that ET news conference where the editor in chief spiked a very good story because it might "make Dubai look bad". She then went and wrote a leader a couple of days later about how she could not believe journalists were so negative and that they should write more good and happy news about Dubai. It was the last insult I could take as far as I was concerned. Some of us (and there were - past tense you note - some bloody good journalists at ET) sweated our arses off to launch that thing (we had 10 weeks to go from nothing – not even an office - to launch) because we believed we might be able to make a success of it and bring some decent journalism to Dubai. Quickly things ebbed away. Within three months we weren't allowed to run a story that 6,000 taxi drivers were on strike - despite the fact everybody knew (no one could get a cab that day) and that we had printed a story the day before saying it was going to happen! Eudore Chand one night unilaterally changed a front page from a good story to a crap one after the chief sub had put the paper to bed. And then CEO of the Year totally undermined his editor while JL was on away getting married. I wonder if he sent a card: "Enjoy your honeymoon. You'll really be screwed when you return". In the meantime two more highly competent journalists (deputy news editor and deputy night editor) came, saw and left in a hurry shaking their heads. Some of us clung on for a while but then came that conference and leader from the new editor in chief. With a CEO and editor like that there was no point in fighting any more. I left soon after and virtually all of the launch team are now gone. Very sad.

Anonymous said...

He once said that AMG would be bigger than Microsoft....He's a man with ambition that's for sure....or was that delusions of grandeur

Anonymous said...

I don't think Emirates Today is the worst paper in the world.
My son returned from school last year with an effort that was worse - but there wasn't much in.
When he turns seven his class are going to try again.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget that the UAE is not our country.
It's one of the few places in the Middle East with anything approaching stability.
The UK or US have democracies going back hunderds of years. They can afford a thriving, challenging press even when it embarrases their leaders.
Don't fool yourself that the ruling family has a firm grip on power, despite appearances to the contrary. They have only as long as the revenues flow and nothing goes wrong.
None of us really knows what goes on behind the scenes - but a lot of the stability is a facade.
If you were in that situation, would you allow a free press? Once you let the genie out of the bottle...

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous May 15 07:54 in response to my earlier post. I don't work for ET, in case the poor guy you are referring to cops any unearned flak. But your response illustrates my point. No real reference to the points raised, just more villification. ("How's the wife?" What is that, a threat?)

Obviously there is a lot of frustration out there but a lot of it seems to be a product of poor business and management practices more than real media issues.

Anonymous said...

Very upset no photos of our esteemed leaders on the front of ET today - what's going on? c'mon pull your fingers out (literally) I've forgotten what they looks like
Please put them back on the front tomorrow

Anonymous said...

No - but they do proudly proclaim that the gardener has got a cheque for Dh50,000. That's 49 months salary apparently.

So in 28 years, not missing a day of work, he's managed to garner annual pay rises to take him to the giddy heights of just over a grand a month...

Anonymous said...

"Obviously there is a lot of frustration out there but a lot of it seems to be a product of poor business and management practices more than real media issues."

Err, no. I would regard a very real media issue one in which the people making the decisions decide that a newspaper which was supposed to push the boundaries in Middle East journalism will not touch any stories which portray Dubai in a less than positive light.

And when the owners of that paper set out to undermine and destroy another paper which does tackle some of the major issues, then again we have a very real media issue.

It's good that people on here give a true insight into how the media in Dubai is actually run.

It's you who should stop whining about people who tell it like it is after hitting their heads against a brick wall.

Anonymous said...

to Anonymous at 16 May, 2007 09:41

Don't worry, half a page picture of Sheikh Mo on Page 3 today, in case we forgot what he looked like, with the shock revelation filling the rest of the page that he is to take a trip abroad on Sunday. Meanwhile some decent news stories of relevance to the majority of the population,ie expats, relegated further back in the book. I remember the early days of ET when it was stressed to us that the reason we were to be a tabloid (sorry compact) was precisely so we did not have to carry protocol stories. So glad I'm don't work for those lying b*st**ds any more

Anonymous said...

well, err, thanks shalini, good to get the millionaire view...real journalism,,,lol

Anonymous said...

can't be Darth Seth, words are spelt correctly and it's legible.

Anonymous said...

Lol, well spotted above, Darth could never write so eloquently.

Anonymous said...

In yet another brilliant move, just heard that AMG FIRED Dubai Eye Host (and Dubai media legend)John Deykin yesterday. Rumour has it he was planning on resigning anyway to join fellow ex-AMG'er Dave Marshall over at City 7, but they beat him to the punch. Lots of rumbling from remaining staff (all four of them)over how it was handled. At least nobody has to ruin their business, they can do it all on their own! Will be interesting to see Deykin on TV, though.

Anonymous said...

Mathew Johnson of Dubai Eye Resigns; He seemed to be very happy in his job, so his resignation came as a bolt out of the blue.
Also Arab Television Network (ATN), an AMG subsidiary is a Big Mess as much to do with the internal politics of AMG

Anonymous said...

Jason Leavey? A competent journalist? Oops. Highly competent journalist.

'UK regional' experience and Ahlan make a journalist competent? I hear the gentle rustle of wings flapping in the air as pigs take flight (Muslims not allowed in pork section, of course)

Anonymous said...

Where in the world you can criticize others but not their own? Where else, only in Arab World!!!

Anonymous said...

... oh, and just much of Asia, Africa and South America ... that's all. You lads who have only been to the UK and UAE need to open your eyes and your minds.