Jeddah (UNA-OIC) – The Union of OIC News Agencies held on Tuesday (21 March 2023) a virtual workshop themed: “Media Circulation of Terminology of the Palestinian Cause”, with the participation of the General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), Bayt Mal Al-Quds Agency, in addition to UNA member news agencies and several diplomats and media professionals.
In his opening speech to the workshop, the Secretary-General of the OIC, Mr Hissein Brahim Taha, stressed the crucial role played by news agencies and media in OIC countries in keeping the issue of Palestine and Al-Quds Al-Sharif always at the forefront of the political and media scene as well as forming collective awareness of the Palestinian narrative about the reality of the aggression on the Palestinians’ land and sanctities.
In the speech delivered on his behalf by the Assistant Secretary-General for Palestine and Al-Quds Affairs, Ambassador Samir Bakr Diab, the Secretary-General affirmed that the OIC is following with great concern the escalation of the media war being waged by the Israeli occupation, whether through systematic attacks against the media and its workers at times, or through the promotion of By false Israeli terms and narratives that deny the existence of the Palestinian people and their legitimate rights.
The Secretary-General explained that the current conflict is political and embodied in the illegal Israeli colonial occupation of the Palestinian land.
He called on the media covering Palestinian news to emphasize terms such as occupation, racism, ethnic cleansing, the Nakba, and colonial settlement.
The Secretary-General also called for considering the development of a reference guide or a set of general media policies to regulate the media handling of the cause of Palestine and Al-Quds Al-Sharif in a way that contributes to unifying the terminology used and the efforts exerted to promote the correct narrative on the Palestinian cause.
For his part, the Permanent Representative of the State of Palestine to the OIC, Ambassador Maher Al-Karaki, stressed the media’s vital role in enabling the Palestinian people to obtain their legitimate rights.
Al-Karaki called for activating the role of the media in confronting the Israeli narrative.
He also called for tackling misinformation and manipulation of media terminology regarding the Palestinian cause by adopting accurate terms and employing an effective communication strategy to enhance the presence of these correct terms in the media space.
In his speech, the Acting Director General of the Union of OIC News Agencies, Mohammed Abd Rabbo Al-Yami, stressed that support for the Palestinian cause begins with the correct and fair presentation of this just cause, and this is done only by using correct and accurate terms in describing what is happening in Palestine.
Al-Yami indicated that the media in the OIC countries have undertaken, throughout history, significant efforts in advocating for the Palestinian cause and disseminating correct terms derived from the resolutions of international legitimacy and official institutions in the State of Palestine.
“Now we need to strengthen these efforts and give them a systematic character to counter the Israeli propaganda machine that has grown hugely in recent years with the presence of its concepts and agendas in many media outlets,” he added.
Al-Yami explained that the workshop comes as part of UNA’s keenness to coordinate the member agencies’ efforts to develop a unified media position at the level of the journalistic language used to report on development in Palestine.
He expressed his hope that the workshop will contribute to laying out the outlines of a comprehensive media guide that serves as a reference in the terminology of the Palestinian cause.
In the first panel discussion of the workshop, the Director of Bayt Mal Al Qods Asharif Agency, Dr Muhammad Salem Al-Sharqawi, stressed the necessity of drafting a reference document on media terminology for the Palestinian cause.
Al-Sharqawi called for forming a committee to draft this document and submit it to the Islamic Conference of Information Ministers for approval and circulation to the media in the OIC member states.
Al-Sharqawi stressed the magnitude of the challenge involved in not controlling the subject of media terminology and the dangers it poses to the correct perception of the reality of the Palestinian cause.
During his intervention, Al-Sharqawi reviewed part of the contributions of Bayt Mal Al Qods Asharif Agency in supporting the Palestinian cause at various levels, especially at the media level.
In turn, the editor-in-chief of the Palestinian Al-Hayat al-Jadida newspaper, Mahmoud Abu Al-Haija, stressed the need to confront the Israeli narrative with a narrative that contradicts it, calling for strengthening the effective partnership between news agencies to adopt a unified media guide in tackling fabricated Israeli narratives.
For his part, the Deputy of the Director of the Public Information and Communication Department at the General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Dr Abdul Hameed Al-Salhi, reviewed OIC’s efforts in using the correct and accurate terms regarding the Palestinian cause and disseminating them through its statements and press releases.
In turn, the Director of the Department of information and institutional communication at ICESCO, Mr Samy El Kamhawy, stressed that how the media handles an issue greatly impacts the local and international public opinion’s understanding of the nature of that issue.
“Calling things by their names is the best way to express the fundamental facts, and that is what we need when we deal with the Palestinian cause.”
El Kamhawy stressed that ISESCO puts the Palestinian cause at the forefront of its priorities and makes every effort to confront the repeated attempts of the Israeli occupation to obliterate its identity.
He explained that ISESCO is working to support the Palestinian media to fully perform its tasks, including a project to develop and modernize the Palestinian News and Information Agency through artificial intelligence.
During the second panel discussion of the workshop, the Director General of the Djibouti News Agency, Abdul Razzaq Ali Dirneh, spoke about the role of news agencies in regulating media terminology related to the Palestinian cause.
The Director General of the Jordan News Agency (Petra), Fayrouz Al-Mubaideen, confirmed during her intervention that the Palestinian issue comes at the top of the priorities of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
She emphasized that Petra has an editorial policy that includes terms that establish the right of the Palestinian people and their just cause.
She called for the media language to keep pace with developments in the modern era and changes in the world of communication, media and technological intelligence.
“The Israeli lies have become exposed in this era, and communication tools have become more available and faster in conveying the event, which is a double-edged sword that we must invest in,” She added.
At the end of the workshop, UNA Acting Director General, Muhammad Al-Yami, read the recommendations of the workshop, including the development of a reference guide on terminology related to the Palestinian cause and submitting it to the Islamic Conference of Information Ministers in order to adopt it and circulate it to the media in the OIC Member states.
The workshop also called for activating the role of news agencies in confronting misinformation and media manipulation in terminology related to the Palestinian cause.