Dr. Sultan bin Ahmad Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Media Council, NMC, headed the UAE delegation to the 48th session of the Arab Information Ministers' Council, which was held on Wednesday, at the Headquarters of the General Secretariat of the Arab League in Cairo, Egypt.
The delegation included Mansour Al Mansouri, Director-General of NMC, Juma Mubarak Al Junaibi, UAE Ambassador to the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Permanent Representative at the Arab League, and Ibrahim Al Abed, NMC Chairman's Advisor.
The Arab Information Ministers' Council endorsed the UAE's suggestion to raise awareness on extremist ideologies and terrorism as the primary focus of Arab media. The new focal point expands the previous intellectual focus that the council agreed on two years ago, and builds on the collective recommendations of the discussion sessions that were held in Amman, Khartoum and Manama, with regards to the role of the media in combating extremism and terrorism.
Dr. Sultan Al Jaber reaffirmed the critical role that media plays in encouraging the public to renounce extremism and terrorism. It relies on programmes and content rooted in evidence and reason, and built on the values of tolerance and moderation while enhancing societal awareness on the dangers of extremism and terrorism and exposing its supporters and the entities that harbour it.
"We must involve the public in all efforts to eradicate extremism and terrorism, and ensure appropriate media coverage of the subject. We must also encourage the positive utilization of new media, which has, unfortunately, become one of the tools used to spread extremist ideology and terrorism," Dr. Al Jaber urged.
"We are required today, more than ever, to implement strategies that enable our media to face challenges while reinforcing the values of tolerance and co-existence. In addition, we must combat the exploitation of freedom of speech that is used to create a divide, cause destruction, incite extremism and terrorism, and promote misguided thoughts. Therefore, we must activate our media platforms in order for them to be vehicles of enlightenment while combating extremism and terrorism in a pre-emptive manner," he added.
In the document it presented to council members, the UAE called for media to become bolder and more direct in expressing their views against extremism and terrorism, urging them to shed light on anti-extremism and anti-discrimination legislations and their impact on people's lives, as well as to flag and prevent any form of content that encourages such an ideology.
Moreover, the document called for a thorough examination of the educational curricula in Arab countries to ensure that they are free of anything that might encourage extremist ideologies among students across all levels of education. These curricula, the document added, should include and cement the values of tolerance, justice, peace and the rejection of violence, in the hearts and minds of future generations.
The paper also recounted the initiatives that the UAE has launched to spread awareness on extremism and terrorism, and address it accordingly. These include the establishment of the Sawab Centre, the International Centre for Excellence on Countering Violent Extremism, 'Hidaya Centre', and the Muslim Council of Elders.
Source: UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs