Istanbul (UNA-OIC) – The 12th session of the Islamic Conference of Information Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation kicked off in Istanbul, Türkiye, on Saturday October 22, 2022.
At the beginning of the opening session, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia handed over the chairmanship of the Conference to the Republic of Türkiye.
H.E. Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi, Saudi Minister of Media, delivered a statement in which he conveyed the greetings of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and their best wishes for the success of the session. The Minister highlighted the challenges the world is currently witnessing, and the need to coordinate efforts among the OIC Member States to confront them. He called for developing a trust-based roadmap with clear mechanisms to advance joint Islamic action.
H.E. Prof. Fahrettin Altun, Director of Communications at the Presidency of the Republic of Türkiye, Chair of the meeting, highlighted the challenges faced by Member States and underlined the great responsibility incumbent upon the Conference, in view of the rising phenomenon of disinformation and the resulting problems, as well as the difficult access to truth all over the world.
H.E. Mr. Hissein Brahim Taha, Secretary-General of the OIC, addressed the opening session of the Conference held under the theme of “Combating Disinformation and Islamophobia in the Post-Truth Era”. He started by expressing his thanks to the leadership of Türkiye for hosting the session, as well as to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its efforts and achievements during its chairmanship of the previous session of the Islamic Conference of Information Ministers.
The Secretary-General indicated that the current session discusses the challenges facing the information sector and its infrastructure in the OIC Member States and addresses the media discourse through both traditional and via Social Media networks which, he noted, have made it possible for everyone to send and receive news and media content. The session addresses other themes and issues, most notably the role of media in supporting the Cause of Palestine and Al-Quds Al-Sharif, the Special Media Programme Highlighting Africa’s Position and Role in the Islamic World, and the project to launch the OIC Award for Distinguished Media Outlets and Media Professionals in the Field of Promoting Dialogue, Tolerance and Intercultural Harmony.
The Secretary-General pointed to the continued upsurge of the phenomenon of terrorism and extremist discourse, which have found their way into some of the OIC societies and managed to lure segments of the young population, under the cover of pseudo-Islamic slogans that have nothing to do with the Islamic religion.
The Secretary-General stressed that media institutions and outlets, whether those affiliated with the OIC or those of Member States, should face challenges through an informed and persuasive discourse, and diffuse news highlighting ambitious development, economic, tourism and cultural projects inspiring hope and optimism, rather than those that frustrate people and drive them into despair and reluctance to serve their countries.
The Secretary-General highly appreciated the efforts of the organizers of this session, and underlined that disinformation and Islamophobia are among the most serious practices to falsify facts and mislead local and international public opinion, as they seek to distort truth and news, as well as the sublime nature and noble values of Islam. He called for relentlessly combating these phenomena through the media as well as through approaches and mechanisms that will be discussed during this session.