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BNA role in resisting terror ideology highlighted
01 : 59 PM - 04/05/2017
Beirut, May 4 (BNA): Bahrain News Agency (BNA) participated in the 42nd Executive Board meeting of the Asia and Pacific News Agencies (OANA) hosted by Lebanon's National News Agency (NNA) on May 3-4 in Beirut.
Mohannad Sulaiman Al Nuaimi, BNA Acting Director-General and Vice President of the Federation of Arab News Agencies (FANA) said the meeting discussed a number of issues of top priority for news agencies' course of action.
Al Nuaimi said that OANA was exerting great efforts to raise its staff performance level to keep abreast of the accelerated media development and praised efforts of NNA's Director-General Laure Suleiman in ensuring the success of the meeting.
In his paper on the role of media agencies in not marketing Tterrorism, Al Nuaimi said that with the dramatic increase in terror-linked incidents throughout the world, the media have been facing the formidable challenge of how best to deal with the tragic events as they unfold and what kind of coverage they should give them.
"The dilemma of the media that are genuinely committed to thorough, accurate and objective information is how to reconcile between the people’s right to know what is happening around them as well as in other parts of the world and the traps cunningly placed by terror groups to use the media and obtain the maximum publicity for their ideology and for their deadly acts," he said.
"The problem is that media cannot just pretend that nothing had happened or that what happened was rather insignificant and not “newsworthy”. The proliferation of mobiles and tablets across the world has turned almost every person into a journalist ready to provide pictures and videos within minutes and sometimes seconds of the event unfolding."
Faced with such a fierce competition, the public media run the high risk of losing their credibility and importance if they cannot rise to the challenge and provide coverage of the events.
But, he added, the public media have a deeper sense of responsibility towards society and the nation and therefore have to contemplate issues before they make decisions that could have disastrous effects. They need to make sure that their coverage meets their professional criteria and that it is accurate, comprehensive and well-balanced, he said.
"In cases of acts of terror, the media have in addition to make sure that they are not making any kind of propaganda, no matter how small it is, for the group behind those who perpetrated the attacks."
Referring to the positions and approaches embraced by of BNA, Al Nuaimi said the news agency sees all acts of terrorism as evil, regardless of who is behind them or whom they are targeting.
"They cannot be explained or excused and they do not deserve to be highlighted in a way that gives extra points to those who plot, prepare or carry them out," he said.
"Studies of how most of the media operate today vis-à-vis terrorism indicate that the most prevailing factor is emotional reactions to the events. The emotional nature of media people is usually cleverly targeted by terror groups to ensure a subtle propaganda for their statements and video clips prepared by terror groups."
Drawing on its long experience in covering events, BNA has been successful in ensuring its reporters and editors abide by a strong sense of discipline at all times and under all circumstances, and regardless of their religious and political affiliations, he said.
Such an approach has helped BNA avoid getting caught in the propaganda strategies of terrorism and its supporters.
"Thus, reporters are trained on how to read both the surface structure and the deep structure of a report to make sure there are no loaded words or malign terms that, intentionally or unintentionally, glorify or praise terrorism, terrorists or terror groups," he said.
"Beside the style book adopted by BNA, meetings are held regularly with senior staff and reporters to discuss the use of some words or terms.
"Thus, for instance, the terror group Daesh cannot be referred to as the Islamic State because it is neither Islamic nor a state. Repeating the name is just playing in their hands and helping them propagate their ideology. A suicide bomber cannot be reported as a martyr because killing innocent people is religiously, ethically and socially unacceptable.
"BNA does not quote terrorists or their supporters because we cannot and we must not allow ourselves to be used as their mouthpiece. The people have the right to know what they said, but we at BNA do not accept to speak on behalf of terrorists and as per our policy, our reporters and editors sift through all reports to ensure they are 'terror-clean' before they are posted and shared with our partners and associates.
"We also refuse any form of ideological or sectarian prism to taint the media message, particularly when confronting terrorism, fanaticism and extremism.
"We cherish such values and strive to maintain them as the media are being forced to move at a pace that is ominously blurring the crucial distinction between speed and accuracy, ideology and objectivity, neutrality and bias.
"We believe at BNA that institutions in any country differ by the character of the functions and the nature of the roles they perform, but do converge beyond their own borders in order to achieve the noble values of humanity."
Resisting, rejecting and fighting terrorism are among such values that must always rise well above all other considerations, including polarization and self-serving interests that deplete resources and waste energies, he added.
"Our strategy at BNA has been to build strong bonds of friendship, partnership and cooperation based on robust pillars with all the media, institutions and organizations that share our commitment to a world where the credible information is provided and the values of tolerance and mutual acceptance are highlighted. The underlying principle is that we all work together towards a more peaceful and stable world, while every media, institution and organization preserves its own character and its own approaches," Al Nuaimi said.


MJ

BNA 1056 GMT 2017/05/04


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