Saudi Arabia’s Culture and Information Minister Abdul Aziz Khoja has urged Islamic media organizations to confront the challenges facing the nation of Islam (the “Ummah”) in a more professional manner.
Addressing a meeting of the General Assembly of the Islamic Broadcasting Union, he said: “We have to make use of modern technology and develop our media organizations.”
He emphasized the role of the Muslim media in confronting the false and unjust allegations against Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and Islam in a proactive manner by making use of all available resources.
“All Muslims are now encircled by suspicions and accusations. Being the media leaders of the Muslim world how can we defend ourselves,” asked Khoja, who is chairman of IBU’s executive council.
“We have a great role to play in defeating the campaigns that smear Islam and Muslims. The IBU is looking at us with great hope,” the minister told executives of media organizations attending the meeting.
Khoja also referred to the ongoing Israeli aggression against the Palestinians in Gaza, including women and children, as well as to the bloodbath in Syria and the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
The meeting condemned Israel for targeting journalists. Four Muslim journalists have been killed in recent Israeli attacks on Gaza.
Addressing the meeting, OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu called on member states to exert all efforts to move forward in joint action and make available all necessary financial wherewithal to achieve that goal.
He urged the IBU assembly to take clear and appropriate decisions that would put into practice the visions of the Ten-Year Program of Action adopted by the 2005 Makkah Islamic Summit.
Ihsanoglu reminded the audience that information, in both its positive and negative aspects, plays a very important and effective role in this era. It also has a direct impact in escalating situations and stoking up conflicts, especially when it comes to distortion and defamation of religion and religious symbols.
He added that the importance of information becomes clear in light of the changes and transformations going on in the region, describing them as an integral part of the system of fundamental freedoms, democracy, accountability and fight against corruption.
He pointed out that the reform of the system of joint Islamic information action in the OIC required collective work to provide the IBU with necessary wherewithal and powers to enable it develop cooperation among radio and television channels in the Muslim world.