OIC eyes satellite channel to spread message

OIC eyes satellite channel to spread message
Updated 14 July 2012

OIC eyes satellite channel to spread message

OIC eyes satellite channel to spread message

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) lacks an official platform to influence public opinion, OIC members say. Such a platform is important to deliver the organization's noble message.
OIC officials say they have received demands from individuals, organizations, civil establishments, agencies and societies for broadcasts to member states. Officials at OIC said a meeting of information ministers of the member states in April this year in Libreville, Gabon embraced the idea. A similar meeting will be held in Jeddah in September to follow up the process of establishing a satellite channel carrying the organization's name.
The channel will promote the organization's role and its members' political, cultural and tourist activities.
Saleh Kamel, a businessman and owner of Arab Television and Radio Group, said he has doubts the channel will succeed. “We all know how the organization is suffering from lack of its members' commitment to pay their annual dues. So how will it manage to finance the new channel?” Kamel asked.
He said even if the channel managed to survive the financial issues, how will it maintain neutrality? Or will it be biased in favor of members that pay more?
“I wonder what is the point of having this channel anyway? We already have innumerable religious and political channels. My advice to them is to discard the idea and invest the money in more serious projects that bring real benefits to the organization,” he said.
Kamel said the organization should first review the Islamic News Agency's (INA) achievements since its inception knowing that it is one of OIC's projects. He said the organization should put in its priorities reforming INA's administrative and financial issues.
On the other hand, Abdullah Naseef, former secretary-general of the Muslim World League, welcomed the idea saying the Muslim world is in need of such a channel. He said this project will indeed add to the Islamic countries' clout and should be supported not only financially but intellectually by religious scholars.
Naseef said he did not think that this channel is going to be used politically by the financially capable members. He hoped it would not end up like the INA, which had failed.
Baheej Mullah, member of the Supreme Council of Mosques in the OIC, said the matter of success or failure of this project is dependent on the discourses and the terms going to be used. It also depends on the audience. He suggested two kinds of discourses: one for Muslims in Muslim countries and another for Muslims in non-Muslim countries.
Overall, said Mullah, the discourses should avoid inflaming sectarianism, be moderate and apolitical. In other words, this channel should not politicize religion nor sanctify policy. “We don't believe member states are going to continue their support to the channel and this is predictable in any group project. But the channel can use international commercials which hopefully will promote Islamic products.” said Mullah.
He stressed that the channel should pick professional crew and not government representatives. He said the channel contents should concentrate on the Islamic message from the Qur'an and Sunnah without taking texts out of their contexts.