By Yusuf Jameel
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is going global in a big way on the media front. The 57-member group of Islamic nations will soon launch a satellite Television channel to be named as OIC to counter Islamophobia, the prejudice against and hatred or irrational fear of Islam or Muslims.
Though the term dates back to the late 1980s or early 1990s, it came into common usage after the 9/11 terror strikes in the United States. The OIC is also planning to establish an ‘OIC Muslim Journalists Union’ and ‘OIC Broadcasting Regulatory Authorities Union’, seen by its officials as “ground-breaking steps” which will go long way towards counteracting Islamophobia and other prejudices against Islam or Muslims.
The issues with preparing special information program on Africa “to project and promote its place and role in the Muslim world” and the progress made pertaining to the establishment of the OIC Broadcasting Regulatory Authorities Union came up for threadbare discussions at the senior officials’ meeting ahead of the 9th session of the Islamic Conference of Information Ministers scheduled to begin in Libreville, the capital of west central African country Gabon, on Thursday.
The officials meeting on Tuesday opened with the statements by the representative of Morocco, the chair of the 8th session, that of Gabon, the chair of the 9th session, and the representative of the OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, followed by the election of members of the bureau and adoption of the agenda and work program.
The meeting also discussed the role of the OIC in supporting the causes of Al-Quds and the Al Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third most sacred place, in old Jerusalem, developing an integrated information plan to communicate with the non-OIC member states, and launching an Islamic TV Satellite channel under the name of the OIC. OIC’s director information department Isam Salim Shanti said, “It is necessary for the media in the Muslim world to reveal Israel’s aggressions against Al-Quds Al-Shareef, particularly Al-Aqsa Mosque, as well as its assaults and human rights violations against Gazans.” He also highlighted the need to counter the “Islamophobic campaigns by some Western parties by launching counter media campaigns to show the real principles of Islam as being a tolerant and peaceful religion.”
The proposed union of OIC Muslim journalists and broadcasting regulatory authorities union, according to him, are aimed at enhancing cooperation and coordination among journalists and broadcasting agencies in the Muslim world.