The first anniversary of conference, document on media in defending the truth

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The first anniversary of conference, document on media in defending the truth

By Fr. Dr. Rif'at Bader

A year ago, notably on June 8, 2019, the Catholic Center for Studies and Media (CCSM) held a conference titled, “Media and Their Role in the Defence of the Truth”. It was an international conference that was patronized by then-Minister of State for Media Affairs Jumana Ghnaimat and attended by a number of media personnel from various parts of the world. The conference was organized by the CCSM in cooperation with the Council of the Catholic Patriarchs of the East as well as the Platform for Dialogue and Cooperation Among Religious Leaders and Institutions in the Arab World.

WHY DO WE RECALL THIS CONFERENCE NOWADAYS?

We recall it because it includes the endorsement of a "Media Code of Ethics" implying that media should serve the truth. It included ten points providing for the need to have media to serve in defending and spreading the truth. This is due to the fact that media incorporates several dangers, including material interests and political partisanship. People frequently ignore the fact that media are something else, which implies that they do not get retracted or be self-centered. Media are a servant and a tool designed to make peace and goodness as well as to defend the truth.

HAS ANYTHING CHANGED SINCE THEN?

Nothing has changed! But the most important thing is that mankind has gone through a persistently suffocating crisis, namely the corona crisis. This was followed by another crisis, especially in the United States of America and in a number of European countries, namely the crisis of racism. What was the position of the media?
There could have been an exaggeration in the media or there could have been an endeavor to take the disease lightly. Some media outlets stated that the pandemic does not necessitate taking precautionary measures and that it is a simple issue. This made people, especially in some countries at the start of the corona crisis, to follow the impression that the measures taken by our countries are not necessary, and consequently we must live by turning our backs to this issue. This carelessness led to several disasters. Some media outlets exaggerated the whole issue which kept the people in great fear. Did the media disseminate hope and goodness by calling on people to adhere to precautionary measures?
This is a key role that many media outlets played this year. However, some of media outlets did not have any positive effect.

In the case of racism, the media were the main source reporting the murder of George Floyd. Consequently, the media made the world alert and confirmed that racism still exists. We can say in this regard that media served as a servant for human beings and humanity by defending human dignity and fundamental rights, namely social justice and non-discrimination on the basis of religion, ethnicity, human skin color and others. The conference that convened last year was followed by two-day training workshops attended by university students, titled, "Means to use the media to be truly 'a servant to the culture of meeting'."

Let us once again disseminate the Media Code of Ethics that was signed by the CCSM and a large number of attending media personnel. Let us recall that the procession is still long ahead. We had wanted to hold this year a similar conference with a different title, but the prevailing global condition and the pandemic made us defer it until further notice.

Looking forward to further CCSM conferences, the CCSM conveys well wishes to all those who contributed to the success of past year's conference. We are hopeful that further conferences will take place next years.

Stay safe, as we will meet again, God willing.

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