Emirati, French journalists discuss role of media in fight against terrorism

PARIS, 18th March, 2018 (WAM) — A panel discussion was held at Sharjah’s pavilion at the Paris Book Fair to address the role of media and its impact on the fight against terrorist groups around the world.

The session forms part of a series of high-profile events, organised in celebration of selecting Sharjah as the Special Guest City at the Fair. The session, entitled ‘Media Insights’, included a panel comprising Mohammed Al Hammadi, Editor-in-Chief of Al Ittihad Newspaper, Raed Barqawi, Editor-in-Chief of Al Khaleej Newspaper, Christian Chesnot, Chief Reporter of France Radio, and Ulysse Gosset, Director, International Desk at BFM TV.

The session’s moderator, Mustafa Al Zarouni, UAE Editor of Khaleej Times Newspaper, raised a number of issues on the vital role of media and the efforts of media entities to raise awareness about the dangers of extremism.

Commenting on the role the French media plays in combating extremist ideas, Chesnot said, “It has been difficult for the media to create counter-arguments that reach the entire population, especially within the context of religious fanaticism and young French men joining terrorist groups. It is a very complex problem for society, as a whole, and until now, despite the current dangers we still face, there is no definitive answer.”

Speaking about the realities of the media, in view of drastic changes over recent years, Al Hammadi said, “Terrorists have become extremely adept in maximising the power of the media, using and misusing the principles of freedom and liberty, starting with the basics of video tapes and moving on to the vast reach of social media platforms.”

He went on to say that the media was initially unprepared and unaware of the need to counter the terrorists’ exploitation of the media, including providing Osama bin Laden with a free platform through Al Jazeera TV, under the pretext of holding debates on both sides.

Barqawi added, “Ultimately, media should represent the community. When we face danger, we cannot address a divided political media, such as left and right, east and west or addressing the pros and cons of the government. We must be fully aware about what may threaten the safety of society. In this situation, the concept of freedom and liberty evolves to become freedom with responsibility.”

In response to the possibility of broadcasting a video of Al Baghdadi on BFM TV, Gosset said, “The world has always seen wars and crises, but what has changed is contemporary media. Traditional media has been surpassed by digital platforms, and terrorists know the significant impact that can make. This is why, at BFM TV, we follow a stringent verification policy when we broadcast any video and think collectively about the message it seeks to communicate through us.”


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