Arab League meetings on role of media in countering terrorism and hate speech commence in Dubai

The Arab League today commenced its regular meetings on the role of media in countering terrorism and hate speech in Dubai. Attended by delegations from 15 member states, the meetings are jointly hosted by the Dubai Press Club and Watani Al Emarat Foundation in collaboration with the Secretariat General of the Arab League. The meetings, running until 19 November, will discuss a number of critical issues that affect the region’s development and the wellbeing of its communities.

President of Dubai Press Club Her Excellency Mona Al Marri welcomed the participants and thanked the Secretary-General of the Arab League for choosing Dubai as the venue for three of the Arab League’s regular meetings. She said the choice of Dubai is consistent with its selection as the Capital of Arab Media for 2020 by the Arab Information Ministers Council, which recognises Dubai’s instrumental role in the development of the region’s media industry over the past twenty years.

Al Marri said: “His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has articulated a clear vision for the media’s role in serving Arab communities and advancing their development. He has placed particular emphasis on the part the media can play in countering terrorism and hate speech.”

Al Marri affirmed the UAE’s strong stand against anything that endangers the security and stability of the region. She said the country is committed to continue cooperating with friendly countries to counter terrorism, extremism and discrimination. Her Excellency further said discussions such as those fostered by the Arab league meetings are vital to promoting openness and tolerance.

Concluding her address, Al Marri said: “The media must work to increase awareness about the dangers terrorism poses to our societies. Such efforts are critical to containing and defusing this phenomenon. Media can help to raise awareness among all segments of society by providing accurate information and facts.”

Director of Technical Administration of the Council of Arab Information Ministers at the Arab League Dr. Fawzi Al Ghweil said that some Arab countries started encountering the dangers of terrorism in the 80s and 90s but the problem significantly worsened over the past two decades. Political, economic and social developments created the conditions for terrorist groups to spread their ideologies and become more organised.

Dr. Ghweil said: “One of the most important reasons for the spread of extremism in our communities is the weakness of moderate Islamic discourse. We need to examine why moderate Islam declined so that we can help revive it in a strong way.”

He said the Arab League organises such events as part of its efforts to counter terrorism and promote a moderate discourse through media. He noted that media will always be a platform for spreading knowledge and building bridges of tolerance and understanding between nations.

Director General of Watani Al Emarat Foundation HE Dherar Belhoul Al Falasi welcomed the participants and said that holding the meetings in the UAE acknowledges the country’s role in promoting tolerance and understanding.

He said: “Our experience has proved that a balanced and moderate media is the most effective tool to spread tolerance and combat hate speech and extremism. The UAE has been extremely successful in upholding the values of tolerance, coexistence and understanding. The media has played significant role in achieving this.”

Al Falasi concluded his address by recalling the efforts of the Founding Father of the UAE the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan who played a major role in instilling the values of tolerance, moderation and openness among the Emirati people.

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