On World Press Freedom Day: ISESCO calls for promotion of international cooperation between journalists to curb hate speech and racial discrimination in media
On 3 May every year, the world celebrates the World Press Freedom Day which allows an opportunity to recall the fundamental principles of the freedom of the press and evaluate the situation of journalism across the globe.
On this occasion, the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) released a statement in which it called on the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), and journalists’ associations and unions inside and outside the Islamic world to coordinate efforts to produce media content and messages that advocate tolerance, coexistence, mutual respect, the fight against terrorism, extremism and violence, and contribute to curbing hate speech and ethnic discrimination, promoting respect for religious symbols and abstaining from religions defamation, in accordance with the international media law and internationally recognized professional ethics.
In its statement, ISESCO also underscored the importance of establishing communication networks among media professionals as well as forums, federations and linkages that allow a larger room for dialogue and communication to counter hate speech and disseminate the values of tolerance, harmony, and peace. It also reaffirmed that the promotion of professional cooperation among media professionals and journalists, through the exchange of cultural tourist visits, training sessions and joint seminars, has become a must in order to bring closer together the viewpoints in favor of the respect of peoples’ cultural diversity and abstention from promotion of religion or race-based discrimination and offence to Other’s beliefs and/or ethical values.
Moreover, ISESCO stressed the necessity of responsible freedom of expression and urged media professionals to abide by professional ethics that help promote media messages that take into consideration the richness of human cultural heritage, in line with the fundamental principles of the profession’s codes of ethics, including the sense of responsibility, impartiality, accuracy, objectivity and abstention from all forms of racism, incitation to hatred and intolerance.
In another vein, the Organization called on the international organizations concerned to intervene to curb Israeli assaults on armless Palestinian journalists in the exercise of their duties, in flagrant violation of the UN Security Council Resolution 2222 on the protection of journalists and the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, implemented by UNESCO in cooperation with UN specialized agencies.
In conclusion, ISESCO recommended the competent parties in Member States to continue their efforts to develop institutional and legislative mechanisms and enhance media training to keep up with the latest developments, take appropriate legal and educational action to shield children and youth against bad use of the new media, without prejudice to their national and international commitments related to the freedom of expression and the right of access to information.