The Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut, in cooperation with the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates, organized a seminar titled "the role of media in combating extremism", in the presence of Information Minister Melhem Riachy's representative, Elissar Naddaf, UAE Ambassador Hamad Al-Shamsi, Charge d'Affaires of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Lebanon, Walid Al-Bukhari, Director of the National News Agency, and ranking dignitaries.
Ambassador Shamsi delivered an address at the seminar in which he stressed that "the ceiling of freedom, no matter how high it is, remains drawn by the ethics of the [media] profession on the one hand, and the regulatory laws in the sector on the other hand."
"We have known Lebanon to be the arena and the beacon for media freedoms, for responsible institutions, for honest media which has been launched from Beirut to neighboring countries and the world to spread true professional practice," he said.
"We are neither here to try anyone on the charge of violating this bright picture, nor to accuse anyone of exploiting the difficult situation of the Lebanese press to employ it in the service of suspicious objectives. We are rather here to discuss what is more important and deeper. We all agree that extremists have sought and, somewhat, succeeded in turning some media outlets into platforms for promoting misinformation and attracting young people into harmful conducts, with all the damaging ramifications of such a thing on societies," the ambassador went on to say.
"And because we believe in the responsibility of the Lebanese media in general, in the spirit of openness that prevails over it, and in a mentality that accepts the other, we deemed it necessary to meet with you to discuss ways to render the media an effective means of combating extremism," Shamsi said.
"This year, we celebrate the centenary of the birth of the founding leader Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who laid the foundations that enabled my country to reach success at all levels. Sheikh Zayed, may God have mercy on him, was keen on tolerance, moderation and openness to the other, and he put the dissemination of this culture at the top of his priorities. Based on these principles, the wise leadership took a clear decision to confront extremism on more than one level, and effectively translated it into forming its government to include a Ministry of Tolerance with its top goals making the UAE an oasis of tolerance, combating discrimination and hatred, and eradicating terrorism," the diplomat maintained.
"Extremism is an ideology, terrorism is a behavior," he said, stressing that "fighting terrorism in all its forms requires comprehensive and multilateral strategies based in essence on prevention."
"This is where the role of the media lies, in its capacity as the voice, the image and the message that we come across in our daily lives," he said.
"As we appreciate the importance of media in the battle against extremism, we also have deep belief in the youth and their pivotal role in brainstorming and devising solutions to fight terrorism, rather than being a prey to it," he concluded.
Source: National News Agency