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Media has ‘responsibility to spread tolerance,’ UAE minister says

The UAE’s Minister of State for Tolerance Sheikha Lubna Al-Qasimi. (Photo: Dubai Press Club)
DUBAI: The media has a responsibility to spread a culture of tolerance, the UAE’s Minister of State for Tolerance Sheikha Lubna Al-Qasimi said at the 16th edition of the Arab Media Forum (AMF) in Dubai Tuesday.
The two-day event, themed “Civil Dialogue,” brought together more than 3,000 participants and industry experts to examine the role of the media in promoting peaceful coexistence and tolerance.
Speaking during the opening session of the forum’s second and concluding day, Al-Qasimi was asked to explain the UAE’s stance on tolerance and why it is so important for the media to play a role. The session was moderated by Sky News Arabia anchor Majed Al-Faresi.
Al-Qasimi, who was appointed in 2016 as the country’s first minister of tolerance, told a room full of industry experts that the media in the Arab world has a “great responsibility” to foment a culture of tolerance and understanding, especially among “youth and the global media.”
She outlined the need for transparency in the media and added that the rise of “fake news” on social media negatively affects perceptions held by readers, saying “the media must correct this” as well as “correct misconceptions about the image of the Arab world.”
The issue of fake news flagged by the minister has been making headlines the world over, with Facebook recently announcing its aim to tackle its spread online via multiple avenues, including paying into a $14 million fund to promote news literacy and increase trust in journalism.
Such erroneous news websites feed into the spread of extremist content online, the minister said, while calling for media organizations in the region to boost positive, tolerant content as a form of “protection against extremism.”
Regarding the UAE’s bid to promote tolerance, the minister shared her view that the country’s efforts to encourage freedom of worship for its 200 resident nationalities boosted “common values and peaceful coexistence.”
The 16th edition of the AMF, which ended on May 2, brought together prominent media figures, academics and experts to discuss a range of topics related to the Middle East region and media.