Sharjah – MENA Herald: Sharjah Media Centre, the media arm of the Government of Sharjah, has announced that the Third Edition of Sharjah Government Communication Award 2016 (GCA) will include a new category for ‘Best International Government Communication’, raising the total number of award categories to 10.

The competition for the awards has also been thrown open to semi-governmental organisations in order to widen the scope of the coveted prize.

Presented under the slogan, Motivating Creativity, Motivating Achievement, registration of entries for the award opened on 10 October10 2015. Registration for the Sharjah Government Communications Prize (available through the website www.sgci.ae) closes on January 31, 2016.

Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Media Centre (SMC) said that the Award has kept up with new developments that have enhanced government communications across the globe. Underlining the widely regarded status of the Award, he said it had played a prominent role in promoting best professional practices in the industry not only in the UAE but the entire GCC region.

Speaking of the challenges facing government communications today, Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi called on government communication departments to stay ahead of their times and develop their own methods to balance public and private social communications. He added that the Award seeks to motivate relevant entities and stakeholders to play their role on the one hand and contribute to the country’s development and progress on the other.

Osama Samra, Director of Sharjah Media Centre, said that adding a new category had been a natural result of the changing equations between local and international developments in the age of globalization and free information, where events are so interrelated that it is impossible to separate one from the other.

He said that the Centre constantly strives to develop the Award categories and mechanisms. “While participation in the past two editions was restricted to governmental organisations, this year, semi-governmental organisations have also been roped in to compete in order to expand the sphere of competition and promote successful ventures deserving exposure,” he added.

The SMC Director pointed out that the ‘Best International Government Communication’ category targets governmental and semi-governmental organisations that conduct governmental campaigns outside the UAE to communicate with specific audiences and promote a specific industry in order to form a neutral or positive foreign public opinion.

The Award includes 13 main categories, covering several aspects of government communication, and will be evaluated in accordance with internationally accepted criteria.

The categories have been divided into selection-based and nomination-based ones. Winners of the selection-based categories will be chosen by the SMC and the Award jury. The winners will be selected based on their various contributions to developing the media and communication sector in the GCC region. These categories include Excellence in Government Communication, Media Personality and Media Leadership.

Winners of nomination-based categories will be chosen after the jury has reviewed and evaluated their works, based on the respective criteria for each category.

Three of the categories in the Award are exclusive to Sharjah: Best Practice in Government Communication, Best Government Spokesperson, and Best Government Website. The rest of the categories are open to the candidacy of various government and semi-government bodies in the United Arab Emirates.

The categories include Best Media Crisis Management, Best Government Communication Strategy, Best Practice of Government Communication through Social Networking, Best Graduation Project or Scientific Research in Government Communication, Best Practice in Internal Communication, Best Government Communication Campaign, and Best International Government Communication.

The Sharjah Government Communication Prize is an initiative of the SMC. It is aimed at the development of government communication practices, which also include the Government Communication Unit, training programmes for the departments of government communication, government communication library and the Intergovernmental Communication Forum, which was the outcome of the Second Edition.

Launched by the Centre in September 2012 under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, Sharjah Government Communication Award aims to highlight the achievements of individuals and institutions in government communication sector in order to establish the best professional practices in this vital sector both in UAE and the GCC region.

Unique to the Arab region, the prestigious Award highlights the efforts of local and regional institutions, groups and individuals working in government communication, supporting their achievements and innovations that contribute to enhancing the prospects for communication with the public, and to create a genuine partnership between government entities and decision-makers on one hand, and diverse audiences on the other.