LONDON: The media has a critical role to play in helping to promote the Palestinian cause, according to Hissein Brahim Taha, the secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
He was speaking during a virtual workshop titled “Media Circulation of Terms of the Palestinian Cause,” which was organized on Tuesday by the Union of OIC News Agencies to address the role of media in discourse on Palestinian issues. The participants included diplomats and representatives of news agencies and media groups.
In his opening speech, Taha said the media can play a vital role in raising awareness of Palestinian issues and mobilizing support for the Palestinian people. It is important to ensure that Palestine and Al-Quds Al-Sharif remain at the forefront of the political and the media agendas, he added.
He said his organization is following, with great concern, the escalation of a media war waged by the Israeli occupation, whether in the form of systematic attacks against news organizations and their staff, or through the promotion of false narratives that deny the very existence of Palestinians and their rights.
On Tuesday, the OIC condemned remarks made by Israeli Minister of Finance Betzalel Smotrich in which he denied the existence of the Palestinian people, their history and their legitimate rights. The organization called on the international community “to reject and condemn these dangerous, racist allegations, which will undermine security and stability and fuel violence, tension and hatred.”
In Taha’s speech during the workshop, which was delivered on his behalf by Assistant Secretary General for Palestine and Al-Quds Affairs Samir Bakr Diab, he also called on the media to use accurate and balanced language when reporting on Palestinian issues, and to avoid rhetoric that might incite violence or hatred while offering a correct narrative. He urged news organizations to emphasize terms such as occupation, racism, ethnic cleansing, the Nakba, and colonial settlement.
During the workshop, the participants discussed a number of issues, including the importance of using unified terminology when reporting on the Palestinian cause and the need to avoid media bias.
They also called for the development of a reference guide for terminology related to discourse on Palestinian issues, and talked about how news agencies can confront misinformation and media manipulation through the use of terminology.