CAIRO: The first meeting of the expert group assessing the Arab Media Action Plan started at the headquarters of the General Secretariat of the Arab League in Cairo on Wednesday.
The meeting was chaired by Turki bin Marzooq Al-Omari, the director of media operations in charge of the Arab League file at the Saudi Ministry of Media, with the participation of media experts and representatives of member states of the Arab League and of media organizations, unions and other bodies.
The Arab Media Action Plan was formulated during the extraordinary session of the Arab Information Ministers Council (AIMC) held on Aug.15, 2001.
It focused on the Palestinian cause, presenting to the whole world the crimes committed by the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people, land, sanctities and properties. It also fights terrorism and seeks to corrects the negative stereotype of Arabs and Islam abroad.
To cope with the developments the Arab region has witnessed in recent years and the resulting distortion of the image of Arabs and Islam in the West, the plan has been updated several times.
Al-Omari conveyed the greetings of the Minister of Media Turki Al-Shabanah, who is chairman of the 50th session of the Council of Arab Information Ministers, to the group.
Al-Omari said during the opening session that they would discuss the Arab Media Action Plan to establish a positive image of Arab political positions and of Arabs and Islam more generally.
Dr. Fawzi Al-Ghuwail, director of the AIMC’s technical secretariat, reviewed a report on the projects that have been accomplished, stressing the importance of the main axis of the team’s work in evaluating the media action plan.
“The plan faced many challenges during the past year during the implementation of its projects due to the conflicts in some of the region’s countries. This led to a lack of focus on the Palestinian cause and disrupted the plan’s relevant projects.”
He added: “This meeting seeks to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the plan’s activities, including the introduction of some amendments and new ideas. New activities might also be introduced in accordance with the priorities of Arab Media Action Plan at this stage.”
He called on Arab countries to “present feasible proposals and provide the necessary funding for the activities and programs.”