Jeddah (UNA) - Media experts, thinkers and religious leaders discussed the moral responsibility entrusted to the international media in dealing with complex international events and issues with sensitive cultural and religious dimensions.
This came during the International Forum: “The Media and its Role in Fueling Hatred and Violence (Dangers of Misinformation and Bias),” which was launched on Sunday (November 26, 2023) in the city of Jeddah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, under the patronage and in the presence of His Excellency the Secretary General of the Muslim World League, President of the Association of Muslim Scholars, His Excellency Sheikh Dr. Muhammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, and His Excellency the General Supervisor of Official Media in the State of Palestine, Minister Ahmed Assaf.
Holding the forum comes within the close partnership between the Assistant Secretariat for Institutional Communication in the Muslim World League and the Federation of News Agencies of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Countries, which represents an independent specialized body, within the framework of their common goals.
During the third session of the forum, which was held under the title “Ethical Responsibility in the International Media,” Deputy Director General of the Algerian News Agency, Yazid Boulnah, spoke about the importance of the role of training and training in instilling ethical standards and controls among journalists.
Bouwalnah stressed the importance of the legislative aspect in promoting ethical responsibility in the media, and the necessity of strengthening relations and joint activities between the media and legal sectors in this regard.
He reviewed part of Algeria's experience in this field, including the 2020 Constitution, which stipulates in its preamble “to make Algeria immune to strife, violence, all extremism, hate speech and all forms of discrimination,” in addition to many laws in the field of journalism and media.
For his part, Islamic researcher and thinker Johannes Klomnick (Abdullah Al-Suwaidi) stressed in his intervention that media professionals must feel great moral responsibility when they practice their profession.
Klomenk touched on the most important values that a journalist should possess, which are honesty, so that he is honest in presenting and analyzing the news and is not biased, misleading, or inciting hatred, and honesty, as every journalist must be honest in what he says, what he writes, and what he publishes.
According to Klomnick, these values also include courage, asserting the truth, justice, clarifying and verifying news before publishing it, especially in light of the spread of media misinformation and the spread of artificial intelligence technologies and the possibilities of deep fakes they provide.
In turn, the Director General of the Mauritanian News Agency, Mukhtar Millal Ja, explained that speech inciting hatred and violence poses a serious danger to civil peace, pointing out that there is abundant evidence of the severe societal crises that have afflicted peoples and countries due to the involvement of misleading and biased media outlets in inciting the feelings of some against others. .
He added that the African collective memory has not yet forgotten the genocide that occurred in one of the countries of the eastern continent in the mid-nineties of the last century, due to the war that was fanned by a local media outlet that openly incited killing and abuse, bringing the toll to 800 dead.
He called on media professionals to make themselves censors of what they show and write so that we do not live in a cycle of confusion and lack of credibility that harms the entity of the state and reflects negatively on the individual and society.
The CEO of the Islamic Republic of Iran News Agency (IRNA), Ali Naderi, said in his intervention that media that values moral values such as honesty, neutrality, and avoiding ethnic and religious discrimination will never encourage violence and hatred, noting that for this reason many news agencies adopt ethical codes to ensure neutrality in their work. And avoid discrimination in all its forms.
The Assistant Director of the Iraqi News Agency, Ali Jassim Muhammad Al-Saadi, presented a number of professional rules to enhance media responsibility and combat inflammatory content, including a commitment to accuracy and integrity, adherence to credibility, avoiding misleading news, refraining from publishing content that incites violence, and avoiding generalizing the actions of individuals to constituents. Social or linking events with a criminal dimension to religious backgrounds.
Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Uzbek National News Agency, Oteker Alimov, said that there is a need for a new strategy to confront fake news and misleading information, which is unjustifiably increasing in the media space, especially in social networks, pointing in this regard to the need to improve internal communication and management, and establish relations With external audiences in a systematic way.
Alimov stressed the need for international media to work together to eliminate the ideology of hatred against people, promote peace and security, and protect the rights and empowerment of all people in the world.
Dr. Osama Zayed, deputy editor-in-chief of Al-Gomhouria newspaper in Egypt, called for the creation of an ethical and professional code to limit the spread of hate speech in the media, and to allow for the control of professional journalistic and media performance and the possibility of holding media professionals accountable for violations and inappropriate practices.
The chief correspondent at Sputnik News Agency, Ahmed Abdel Wahab, stressed that the issue of the ethical responsibility of international media should be addressed in a comprehensive manner that includes the conditions of journalists and the need to support them and enable them to carry out their professional duty in light of the challenges they face.
It is noteworthy that the forum witnessed the participation of a number of ministers, Islamic and international media leaders, and an elite group of ambassadors, religious, intellectual and legal figures, and leaders of international organizations.