Alex conference calls for more media freedoms

The second meeting of the Arab Media Leaders Forum, which has gathered major media figures from around the Arab world, concluded on Friday at the Bibleotheca Alexandrina (BA).

Ismael Serag Eddin, BA director, said the library is fully aware of the role media plays in the politics and culture of a society. He added that the world is being rapidly transformed by information and communication technologies, with which the Arab world must cope.

The region is living in a blackout as far as science and knowledge are concerned, said Serag Eddin. He added that the Arab World is still technology-consuming rather than knowledge-producing, and is being surpassed by Iran and Turkey.

Serag Eddin announced that the library is working to establish a local radio station and to producing several visual materials out of its belief in the media’s vital social role.

The forum delivered a number of recommendations which included a commitment by Arab media organizations to ethics and professionalism, and preserving the strategic relations among Arab states. It also called on media institutions to play an effective role in serving the Arab nation’s aspirations and causes.

Participants called for supporting the presence of civil society organizations in the media, and reconsidering the status of state-run media, suggesting the formation of independent councils to run government media outlets.

Galal Dwidar, secretary general for Egypt’s Supreme Council of Journalism, said that the relationship between the media and the state has to be governed by mutual respect and guarantees for the freedom of expression, avoiding defamation, slander, and infringements on personal lives.

Abdel Qader Shuheib, head of Dar al-Helal publishing house, suggested a number of solutions to the problematic relationship between the media and the state, such as legalizing the freedom of information and media access, training media workers, and setting rules for holding violators accountable.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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