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Trailblazers in Journalism Honored at the Prestigious MCF Media Awards in Dubai

NNA - Seven awards were bestowed to honor global and Arab trailblazers in journalism and media during the MCF Media Awards Ceremony, held for the second time in Dubai. 

The MCF Foundation hosted its 12th annual event to recognize journalists and media professionals from both the region and around the globe. This event has become a notable occasion eagerly anticipated by Arab media pioneers each year, taking place at the Palazzo Versace Dubai hotel. Distinguished by its luxurious and elegant purple-gold theme, this year's ceremony was attended by ambassadors, political figures, media personalities, artists, social influencers, as well as business and economic leaders, along with friends.

The ceremony commenced with a meaningful address by Dr. May Chidiac, the former minister, founder, and president of MCF. During her speech, she expressed her pride in the Lebanese people's solidarity with the universal struggle for human rights, wherever it may occur. She emphasized that the choice of Dubai as the event’s location reflects its status as a beacon of modernity and the UAE's role as a hub for opportunities and growth.

Dr. Chidiac underscored the crucial role of media in these challenging times, asserting that honoring journalism is not merely symbolic but essential. She stated: "Without media, the world would be left in darkness, unable to comprehend events and discern the truth."

Furthermore, Dr. Chidiac lamented the dire situation in Lebanon and the ongoing instability it faces. She also expressed profound sorrow at the anguish of Palestinian parents for their innocent children who have become victims of war. Describing the haunting sight of children robbed of their childhood dreams due to war, she emphasized the unspeakable horror and brutality of such conflicts.

Dr. Chidiac expressed her sorrow for the journalists who have fallen victim in Lebanon, Gaza, and around the world due to deliberate targeting aimed at silencing them. She condemned these crimes as violations of international law and attempts to evade punishment. Furthermore, she addressed the injustice faced by many journalists because of their commitment to the editorial policies of the media organizations they work for, stating: "Some appoint themselves as judges over them, filing accusations of treason at their whim, manipulating judicial procedures to prosecute them and prevent their return to their homeland..."

She stressed that journalism is not a crime, and journalists sacrifice greatly to convey the truth to the world, highlighting that targeting them deliberately is a crime in itself.

In conclusion, she extended greetings to all ambassadors of words and image, both present and absent journalists, especially those honored during the ceremony for their distinction, courage, and dedication. She also urged everyone to stay tuned, appreciating the continued support and recognition of the institution's activities, as they are key to its continuity and success.

She encouraged the audience to follow the diverse programs of MCF - Media Institute, which include projects, conferences, and educational curricula. She pledged that the foundation would continue to advocate for a modern society that defends responsible journalism and freedom of expression, keeps pace with technological advancements, and preserves justice, human rights, and democratic principles.

The ceremony was hosted by journalists Taher Barakafrom Al Arabiya channel and Carolina Nassar from Sky News Arabia. It featured a series of video reports prepared by journalist Marianne Zouein. These reports covered the story of the establishment of the May Chidiac Foundation (MCF), its main activities, and the role of its affiliated media institute. Additionally, there was a retrospective look at the media award ceremonies organized by the foundation over the years and a report on the status of journalists and freedom of expression worldwide.

During the event, honorary awards were presented to prominent Arab and international figures in the media, content creation, and journalism industry, distributed across seven categories as follows:

- The "MCF Excellence in the Media IndustryAward" was presented to Mr. Mamdouh Al-Muhainifrom Saudi Arabia, the General Manager of Al Arabiya and Al Hadath. The award was handed to him by former minister Dr. May Chidiac.

- The "MCF Excellence in Media Award" went to Mr. Nadim Koteich, a Lebanese-Emirati national and the General Manager of Sky News Arabia, owned by the International Media Investments (IMI) company. The award was presented by former Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Ghassan Hasbani and Mr. Raja Trad, Former Chief Advisor to the CEO of Publicis Middle East and Turkey.

- The "MCF Antoine Choueiri Special Tribute for Lifetime Achievement Award" was granted to distinguished English-Lebanese journalist BariaAlamuddine, honored for her outstanding career in journalism and her role as Editor-in-Chief of the Media Services Syndicate and columnist at Arab News. The award was presented by Mr. Pierre Antoine Choueiri, Chairman of Choueiri Group, and His Excellency Mr. Fouad Chehab Dandan, Ambassador of Lebanon to the United Arab Emirates.

- Aligned with technological advancements, the foundation introduced a new award for this event, the "MCF Vision in Content Development Award,"which was awarded to the Emirati podcaster of #ABTalks, Anas Bukhash. The award was presented by Akram Miknas, Chairman of Promoseven Holdings, and American international correspondent, anchor, and moderator Hadley Gamble.

- French investigative journalist and television presenter Élise Lucet, known for her work on France 2, such as "Envoyé Spécial," was granted the "Engaged Journalist Award”. Lucy received the award from former Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Ghassan Hasbaniand Nobel laureate Ms. Ouided Bouchamaoui.

- The "Outstanding Media Performance Award"was given to distinguished American journalist Ben Wedeman, CNN's Senior International Correspondent. The award was presented by Rani Raad, Chairman of IMI in Abu Dhabi, and renowned journalist and President of the Beirut Institute, Raghida Dergham.

- The final award, titled "Exceptional Courage in Journalism," was granted to Palestinian war correspondent for Al Jazeera, Heba Akkila. Akkilareceived the award from veteran journalist Mr. Samir Atallah and Dr. Basel Daloul, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Nour Technology Advanced Company and member of the Executive Committee at MCF.

The awards ceremony was enlivened by both star Nancy Ajram, who added an exceptional atmosphere to the occasion, and musician Guy Manoukian, who presented three pieces, two of which he performed for the first time, along with singer Amanda Maalouf. The event was directed by Bassem Christo and overseen by executive producer Carla Aad Chahine.

The May Chidiac Foundation - Media Institute is a non-profit organization specializing in research and education on issues of free media, democracy, and human rights. MCF – MI believes in Lebanon's role as a proactive player in these fields in the Middle East. Since 2011, the MCF – Media Institute has been assisting new graduates in improving their readiness to better engage in the job market. Since 2016, the MCF-MI has launched the ALAC Academy (Academy of Leadership and Applied Communication), accredited by the Lebanese state and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, to grant certificates in leadership and applied communication, among other specialties. Among the foundation’s major achievements are the in-person and online conferences such as "Free Connected Minds" and "Women On the Front Lines," which gather speakers with significant influence on domestic and international policies in various sectors, particularly intellectuality, media, technology, and strengthening the role of women.



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