Jeddah (UNA-OIC) – The media forum “The Role of News Agencies in Supporting the Palestinian Cause: Challenges and Opportunities” called on news agencies in the member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to intensify media coverage of the Palestinian issue, and to convey the Palestinian news from its original sources.
This came in the forum’s recommendations held by the Union of OIC News Agencies on Thursday.
The forum hosted the General Supervisor of the Official Media in the State of Palestine, His Excellency Minister Ahmed Assaf, with broad participation of representatives of member news agencies, international organizations, diplomats, and media professionals.
In his opening speech, the Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Hussein Ibrahim Taha, expressed his thanks to UNA for the initiative of convening this forum.
The Secretary-General affirmed that OIC “follows with great concern the Israeli attacks against media institutions, the most important of which is the Israeli occupation forces’ assassination of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, which came in the context of other assassinations, as Israel has targeted more than 50 Palestinian and foreign journalists since 2000 while they were performing their duty.”
He added that this represents a flagrant violation of the freedom of the press and media and is part of the Israeli policy aimed at confiscating the truth and silencing mouths, calling for ensuring the necessary protection for journalists and media professionals during their work in the occupied Palestinian territories.
He revealed that the OIC is preparing a joint plan to support Palestine in the field of media and communication, and to provide the necessary support to Palestinian institutions in terms of equipment, production and exchanging media programs and experiences.
For his part, the general supervisor of the official media in Palestine, Minister Ahmed Assaf, reviewed the history and stages of the Palestinian cause.
He stressed that there are many reasons to support the Palestinian cause, as it is a just cause supported by all international legitimacy resolutions, and that the Palestinian people have been subjected to more injustice than any other people.
Minister Assaf praised the support of the OIC and its various organs for the Palestinian cause, as well as the support of the Organization’s host country, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for the cause of Palestine, based on the special relationship between the Kingdom and Palestine and the historical role of Saudi Arabia in advocating the issues of the Islamic world.
Minister Assaf explained that publishing news about what is happening in Palestine is essential, but what is more important is the permanent presence of the Palestinian cause in the media to create a general state of awareness, stressing the need to confront the Israeli narrative propagated through media by Israel and its allies to create a false history and change the facts on the ground.
He called on all news agencies in the OIC countries to send correspondents to Palestine to make documentaries about the situation there and to write stories documenting the suffering of the Palestinians and their creativity that proves that the Palestinian people love life and that they seek freedom, not death.
The Minister expressed the readiness of the State of Palestine, in coordination with UNA, to facilitate the presence of media professionals in the Palestinian territories.
He also expressed his readiness to work on creating a system for news exchange within the framework of UNA to disseminate Palestine’s news in all OIC countries.
Minister Assaf stressed that the lack of objectivity and impartiality in media is the lack of support for the Palestinian cause and not the other way around.
He drew attention to the phenomenon of excluding Palestinian content on digital platforms and social media under Israeli instigation, calling for conveying a clear and strong message to these platforms of the need to remain neutral and not to restrict Palestinian media pages when they publish about Palestinian martyrs.
The Minister also called on digital platforms not to be aligned with the Israeli narrative and to allow Palestine to broadcast its narrative that is consistent with international law.
The Minister thanked UNA for organizing this forum and for its efforts to support media institutions in Palestine.
For his part, UNA Acting Director-General, Muhammad bin Abd Rabbo al-Yami, stressed that the media plays a very influential role in shaping concepts and perceptions and formulating public opinion trends locally and internationally towards various issues, hence its importance in the context of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
In this regard, Al-Yami praised the efforts of the official media institutions in Palestine, led by the Palestinian News Agency (WAFA), which continues with the highest levels of professionalism and journalistic integrity to document the violations of the occupation on the one hand, and the insistence of the Palestinians to obtain their rights guaranteed by international legitimacy on the other.
In turn, the Permanent Representative of the State of Palestine to the OIC, Ambassador Maher Al-Karaki, stressed that holding the forum represents a significant opportunity to exchange ideas on strengthening joint Islamic action to support Palestine and Al-Quds Al-Sharif, especially in light of the Israeli attempts to Judaize Al-Aqsa Mosque and divide it in time and space.
In his contribution, the Board Chairman and Chief Editor of Middle East News Agency (MENA), Ali Hassan, stressed the need for news agencies in Arab and Islamic countries to derive Palestinian news from their original sources, which are the official media institutions of Palestine and the Palestinian authorities.
“MENA pays special attention to the Palestinian issue. It has assigned a reporter based in Palestinian territories to provide the agency with reliable and reliable information,” Hassan said.
He also stressed the need for news agencies in Islamic countries to respond to the lies and rumours that are being promoted about the Palestinian cause, and to clarify the facts by referring to the official, reliable sources in Palestine.
For his part, the delegated administrator of the Tunisian News Agency, Nabil Gargabou, confirmed that the agency had taken it upon itself to be the voice of Palestine in the various stages that the Palestinian people have gone through in their struggle to restore their legitimate rights.
He called for adopting an editorial policy based on new concepts that help approach the Palestinian issue from a humanitarian point of view as a human right guaranteed by relevant international conventions and agreements.
Deputy Director of Information at the Multimedia Department of the Algerian Press Service Issa Rabieh confirmed that the agency constantly sheds light on the Palestinian cause and is concerned daily with documenting the Palestinian people’s suffering by allocating ample space for it in its daily news content.
He pointed out that the agency also worked on training Palestinian journalists.
The Director General of the Somali National News Agency, Ismail Mukhtar Omar, stressed that the agency is ready to participate in initiatives to support the just Palestinian cause, pointing out that it regularly reports on developments and events in Palestine.
The Deputy Director-General of the Chadian News Agency, Khalil Mohamed Ibrahim, called for a media mechanism to follow up on issues related to the Palestinian cause.
For his part, Director of Projects at the Islamic Solidarity Fund (ISF) Abdel Razek Muhammad said that the ISF provided one million dollars in support of the media sector in Palestine, stressing that the ISF is ready to receive requests for support from this sector and to provide its contributions within the limits of its capabilities.