Issued by the Catholic Center for Studies and Media - Jordan. Editor-in-chief Fr. Rif'at Bader - موقع أبونا

Published on Sunday, 3 October 2021

Arab media people in Amman: No to hate speech

Fr. Dr. Rif'at Bader/ Director of the Catholic Center for Studies and Media :

Under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Ghazi Ibn Mohammad, a member of the Muslim Council of Elders, the fraternal meeting took place in the city of fraternal love--Philadelphia--Amman between the Muslim Council of Elders and the Catholic Center for Studies and Media (CCSM) with both parties jointly launching an international conference titled, "Journalists Against Hate".


Actually the conference came on the heels of a previous conference held  in Abu Dhabi titled, "Arab Media Convention for Human Fraternity" which was held one year after the signing of the Document of Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together" by head of the Catholic Church His Holiness Pope Francis and Sheikh of Al Azhar Ahmad Tayyib in his capacity as head of the Muslim Council of Elders.


What is outstanding regarding the Amman conference is the arrival of more than a hundred media personnel from various Arab media institutions to Jordan to jointly meditate how to form an “Arab media coalition” in the face of hate and its ramifications which have found wide arenas on the vast space of social media networks in addition to cyber-bullying which also found fertile grounds in the media channels. Consequently, cyber crimes that were committed against innocent people and media outlets had a prominent role in spreading the ideas of extremist terrorist movements that did not hesitate to use these means to become, as His Majesty King Abdullah II said in His famous article on October 20, 2018 "tools of strife, rather than tools of communication."


This new coalition, in addition to the Council of Muslim Elders and the CCSM, includes the brethren participant in the conference, in addition to media people and Arab media institutions that comply with the principles of the coalition which is aimed at strengthening cooperation and joint Arab media work in the face of hate practices and discrimination through the media.


With the conclusion of the conference and the return of the delegations to their countries many ask: Will you be so influential to the point that hate views will no longer be posted on media websites? We say: No one claims to own the magic wand of Prophet Moses. Furthermore, hate has existed since man was found on Earth, as we do not forget that Cain killed his own brother Abel because of jealousy, envy and hatred. We cannot over a two-day conference claim that hatred has been eliminated once and for all. This matter necessitates awareness of the danger of hate, which is not confined to words being posted on screens which can turn into violence, as well as moral and physical killing, in addition to terrorism. So, we must continue to walk a long and hard path. Perhaps the joint Arab media action will produce abundant goodness, prolific efforts, and ripe fruits.


It is said that "diseases can serve as panacea". The disease at present lies in the wrong use of social media due to individual evil trends by humans towards their brethren. It could also be triggered by a collective trend that exudes grudge, revenge, or it could be triggered by wealthy people and politicians. The healing could in this case be through media as well by serving as a means for the resuscitation of humanity and serving "the culture of encounter" in lieu of the "absurdity of exclusion".


At the Amman conference, media people realized the burden of responsibility  lain on their shoulders, thus called for including media education in academic and university courses, in addition to upbringing generations on ethics and good use of modern means of communication so that we can say in the future that we have been advanced technically, morally, humanly, and culturally.