The printed press could be overtaken by new media in under a decade.

This was among several key issues brought to the forefront at the 8th Arab Media Forum held earlier this month.

This year the annual event's theme was 'Arab Media: Weathering a Period of Change and Crisis'.

The two-day event saw several international speakers from across the Arab world presenting papers and tackling critical issues facing the media world - both internationally and in the region.

This included the direct impact of the global economic crisis on the media and its future implications as well as the crisis of the printed word in the face of digital and online media.

In an address Arab Media Group chairman Abdullatif Al Sayegh said at the 'Daily Newspapers: Crisis in the West, Growth in the Arab World' session, that based on recent media figures, new media would surpass print media in  "five to seven years”, a statement that was not left unchallenged.

But defending his stance, Al Sayegh said: “ I wish this was not the case, but I am looking at figures. And as the chairman of my group, I have to work to maintain the interests of my group.” Al Sayegh said that in terms of some of the group’s findings, newspapers were the third source of information that users turned to with the internet and broadcast media listed in the first and second spots respectively. Magazines were listed fourth, he said, adding that at a recent conference he attended in the US, it was as though he was attending a “funeral”.

“Everyone was offering condolences and lamenting the printed newspaper,” Al Sayegh said.

Reflecting on the closure of many US publications, he said last year was the “worst year” for printed media.