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OIC to host media workshop in fight against Islamophobia

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has announced it will host a media workshop -- the first of its kind -- in Brussels on Feb. 15 and 16 for the development of media-related mechanisms to address smear campaigns against Islam in Western newspapers and other media institutions.

The media workshop will touch upon issues related to the negative representation of Islam in the Western media and will bring together Muslim and non-Muslim journalists, intellectuals, academics and civil society organization leaders to engage in in-depth discussions that will work towards the development of a stand against the misrepresentation of Islam in the media and the elimination discriminatory discourse and language.

The idea to organize a media workshop was first noted at the Mecca OIC Extraordinary Summit of 2005 and was shaped by the OIC Ten Year Programme of Action and the Islamic Conferences of Information Ministers (ICIM) in the years that followed. Workshop participants will discuss at length the reasons behind and the results of the Western media’s offensive campaigns directed against the symbols and sanctities of Islam and Muslims, which still occur from time to time, and how to address the issue.

The workshop is of particular importance as it will be held only weeks before the convening of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in March, which will put Resolution 16/18 to a vote for the second time after its unanimous endorsement in the previous session.

Resolution 16/18 aims to combat intolerance, stereotyping, stigmatization, discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against individuals based on religion or belief. The resolution is the outcome of bilateral talks between the OIC and a number of Western countries, including the US. The statement noted two meetings between the OIC and the US, held in İstanbul and Washington, to discuss this issue in order to develop operational mechanisms to implement the resolution at the level of the UN.

The two-day workshop will take the form of a series of brainstorming sessions to develop mechanisms for cooperation with external partners and to develop an action plan to address the phenomenon of Islamophobia. The recommendations of the media workshop will be presented at the 9th Session of the ICIM, which will be held in Libreville, Gabon, in April for endorsement and implementation.

February 12, 2012, Todays Zaman