ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is co-organizing a forum in London from Saturday for media experts and civil society representatives to explore mechanisms for countering Islamophobia.
The experts will look at the phenomenon of Islamophobia from a legal and human rights perspective and how it is covered and handled or promoted in the media as well as the role of civil society organizations in addressing racial discrimination, hatred and denigration of religions.
According to OIC Jeddah office news release, the forum is being co-organized with the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) and hosted by the Islamic Cultural Center in London.
“This forum is being held in implementation of the updated OIC anti-Islamophobia Media Strategy and its mechanisms which was adopted by the 11th session of the OIC Ministers of Information Conference held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on December 21, 2016,” said Maha Akeel, Director of Information and Communication at the OIC.
The OIC Media Strategy in Countering Islamophobia consists of short, medium and long term objectives that include focusing on interaction with media outlets, academicians and experts on various related topics; producing content, publications and media literacy programs; engaging with western governments in creating awareness; and supporting efforts by Muslim civil societies in the west and involving them in the elaboration of plans and programs to counter Islamophobia.
“No doubt that there is a rise in Islamophobia in the west which is indicated in the latest OIC Islamophobia Observatory report, and there is usually a spike in hate crimes against Muslims following terrorist acts perpetrated by a Muslim,” said Maha Akeel.
“The forum will look at the role of the media and civil society in countering Islamophobia from a legal and human rights perspective because we cannot talk about the role of the media without discussing freedom of the press and freedom of expression as fundamental human rights,” she said.
“When talking about the role of the media it is within the framework of its responsibility in the proliferation of stereotypes and its ethical and professional standards in covering and handling Islamophobic acts,” she added.
The two-day event will conclude with recommendations and some possible projects for implementation.