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Jordan urges regional collaboration to counter extremism promoted through media

Initiative aimed at enriching, diversifying online Arabic content

By Hana Namrouqa , Petra - Sep 27,2016 - Last updated at Sep 27,2016

AMMAN — The government will not be lenient with those who stoke sedition and promote hate speech, be it through social media or traditional media outlets, Minister of State for Media Affairs Mohammad Momani said on Tuesday.

In a speech delivered on his behalf by Faisal Shboul, the director general of the Jordan News Agency, Petra, at the opening ceremony of an international conference in Amman on the role of media in combating terrorism and extremism, Momani called for cooperation to ensure that the media sector upholds its role in promoting security and stability around the region and the world.

This responsibility, he added, increases in importance in light of the ubiquity of social media outlets, which have dominated public attention and helped shape public opinion on a number of issues, according to Petra.

Momani, who is also government spokesperson, said the challenge of dealing with social media increases twofold as terror groups and promoters of takfirist ideology exploit these outlets to promote “venomous” rhetoric, calling for coordination in using the same means to counter extremists, Petra reported.

Also speaking at the conference, Arab Corporation for Broadcasting President Mohammad Adaileh announced an initiative to enrich and diversify Arabic content on the Internet and counter-content promoting terrorism.

The two-day conference, which is co-organised by the corporation and the Arab League, sheds light on virtual media and how it is used as a weapon by terrorists.

Adaileh warned that terrorists use the Internet to spread extremism and to encourage young people around the world to carry out terrorist attacks. 

Highlighting the role of media in combating terrorism, he said that, whether intentionally or not, some media outlets promote terrorism by giving it a profile it does not deserve.

He highlighted the risks of broadcasting scenes of terrorism and sharing terrorists’ views, especially in light of competition between media outlets for scoops and exclusives which were often broadcast “at the expense of ethics”.  

“Terrorist organisations are using the Internet and social media as a tool to spread hatred by producing their own programmes and content that reaches people without any control,” Adaileh underscored.

Haifa Abu Ghazaleh, the assistant secretary general and head of media and communications at the Arab League, said that terrorist groups were increasingly using the Internet to promote their ideologies of extremism.

“They are safely spreading their terrorist and extremist ideologies on the Internet, mainly Daesh, which is promoting its ideology and attracting young people…,” Abu Ghazaleh said at the event.

 

The conference, which concludes on Wednesday, will issue recommendations on how the media can spread the culture of coexistence and tolerance and ways to stop cyber-terrorism, among other topics.

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