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Bahrain to host GCC media forum

Ways to confront sectarianism high on agenda

Gulf News

Manama: A Bahraini media official has stressed the need for media to confront sectarianism and support social stability.

“Regional and international media should remain committed to a high level of professionalism, credibility and objectivity as they publish news and information in order to contribute actively to confronting the formidable political and security challenges in the region,” Ali Al Rumaihi, president of the Information Affairs Authority (IAA), said.

“All media should assume their responsibilities in spreading awareness and a culture of legal rights and security values through disseminating and sharing true information and denounce rumours or attempts to incite sectarianism and violence,” he said in a statement ahead of a Gulf media forum to be hosted by Bahrain on September 30 and October 1.

Around 150 media figures from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member countries are expected to take part in the two-day forum on “Media and National Security” in the Bahraini capital. The GCC includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

“The gathering will be a significant opportunity to exchange ideas and views between experts in the media field,” Al Rumaihi said. “It is in line with a decision by the GCC information ministers and an activation of the 2010-2020 media strategy to reinforce cooperation and coordination between the GCC media on defending national security and protecting Gulf societies from threats to their security and stability by the forces of violence, terrorism and misleading campaigns,” he said.

Al Rumaihi, the former head of Bahrain Radio and Television, said that media forums helped “consecrate professional standards and moral ethics in the media”. “We need the media to support the international covenants that promote tolerance and constructive dialogues and shun all calls that incite divisions, hatred, animosity, extremism and terrorism,” he said.