The Director-General of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, called on news agencies in the Islamic world for closer cooperation and partnership with similar agencies and media institutions in the world to develop awareness and push for joint efforts in handling Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The remarks came in his address at the first web forum of the Union of OIC News Agencies (UNA-OIC) held today to explore the role of news agencies in backing anti-COVID-19 efforts. The forum was organized under the patronage of Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi, Acting Minister of Media of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Chairman of the UNA-OIC Executive Council, with the participation of Dr. Ahmed Yousef Al-Othaimeen, Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC); Dr. Bandar Hajjar, President of the Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDB); Dr. Zayed Sultan Abdullah, UNA-OIC Deputy Director-General; and presidents and managers of the Islamic world news agencies.
Dr. AlMalik demanded that the concepts and terms used by news agencies in their discourses and materials in the Islamic world be thoughtfully and seriously reconsidered. Most notable terminology, “Islamophobia,” which he qualified as “intrusive,” should be scrutinized in terms of meanings, scope, and impact on entrenching on values of tolerance and understanding.
In another vein, ICESCO Director-General listed the initiatives launched by the Organization to support anti-COVID-19 efforts and help the Member States overcome its adverse effects on education, science, and culture. In this respect, he cited the digital information, and video clips ICESCO has broadcasted on its website and social networks pages for raising awareness of the threat of a pandemic. These materials provide ample explanation on how to protect against the virus in three languages: English, French, and Arabic, including few local African languages.