Rabat Declaration on the Role of the Media in Combatting Hate Speech
The Kingdom of Morocco hosted in the period from October 23 and 24, 2017, the Fourth International Seminar of the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) on “the Role of the Media in Combatting Hate Speech”.
Organized in partnership with the Ministry of State for Human Rights and the collaboration of the UN High Commission for Human Rights, this seminar was an occasion to assert the role played by the media in promoting freedom of speech, coexistence and peace.
To combat all forms of hate speech and extremism, Morocco has made tremendous efforts relying on its Islamic reference and new constitution, which enshrines peaceful coexistence among all the walks- of –life and social, racial, cultural and political spectrum, pointed out the Minister of State for Human Right in his opening statement. He emphasized further that media outlets are considered among the best means of expression in the modern world and the main constituents to ensure democracy and promote the values of tolerance, plurality, social diversity, peace and stability, indicating that international laws protect the freedom of speech in respect of human dignity and public morals.
In his speech, HE Dr. Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen, OIC Secretary-General, accentuated the idea that hate speech remains one of the serious challenges that confront modern States, highlighting the crucial role played by the media in preaching tolerance and coexistence among cultures and religions.
Addressing the seminar, HE Dr. Abdelaziz Touijri, The General Director of ESESCO, emphasized that hate speech has been widely circulated via the media against only one religion and culture in which focus is set on Islam, making of it a frightening and scorned religion, in explicit violation of both International Law and International Human Right Law.
On his part, HE. Gianni Magazzini, the representative of the UN High Commission for Human Rights, reminded the importance of Rabat Declaration that was adopted in a UN meeting held in Rabat in October 2012, stressing the need to combat hate speech and racism, calling upon concerned parties, including the media to spread social values that promote peace, coexistence, tolerance, respect and intercultural dialogue.
In this way, HE. Med S.K Kagwa, the Head of the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission called for the need to develop the practice of journalism ensuring “the conformity of freedom of speech with human rights principles” asserting the importance of benefitting from modern technologies to promote the respect of diversity and the elimination of all forms of discrimination.
The participants then adopted Rabat Declaration on the Role of the Media in Combatting Hate speech, which included a number of recommendations addressed to all concerned parties including:
· The need for media institutions and other concerned authorities to provide necessary resources to raise awareness regarding the impact of hate speech ensuring more training in favor of media professionals and media organizations to analyze and report on hate speech and hate crimes;
· The need for media and public education about different cultures, traditions and beliefs to wipe out stereotypes that reinforce xenophobic attitudes.
· The promotion of education about media ethics concentrating on journalists’ rights and responsibilities and their role in creating and promoting peaceful societies.
· The enhancement of journalists’ capacities to identify and confront hate speech.
· Encourage the victims of hate speech to report and establish mechanisms to monitor and follow up at the levels of the media and civil society.
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