UNESCO’s Assistant Director General for Communication and Information Frank La Rue has welcomed a proposal by Bahrain News Agency (BNA) to hold an international forum to discuss hate speech and ways to avoid categorisations and references that could contribute it.
La Rue said that the use by news media and agencies of racial, religious or sectarian references to individuals is a form of discrimination and separation between them.
The UNESCO official was talking as he received a delegation from the Federation of Arab News Agencies (FANA) in Paris to discuss issues of shared interest.
“I think the objective way to handle information is to talk about the events, the facts, the persons and the positions they may hold in the structure of power, but not necessarily personal matters such as religious beliefs or ethnic or cultural knowledge,” La Rue told BNA Acting Director General Muhannad Sulaiman.
“My advice to news agencies is basically to search for objectivity, which is something that we are all trying to gain, to look at the events per se. The information we are trying to transfer is the relevant information to the public. So, defining ethnicity or religion may be important for some particular news, but if it is not a relevant element, then it should not be mentioned. So, objectivity should always prevail on the basis of what we are looking for when we are reporting.”
Ways to consolidate relations between UNESCO and the Arab news agencies, the safety of journalists and resisting and combating hate speeches were also discussed at the meeting.
La Rue stressed the significance of extering further efforts to assist journalists and opening up opportunities for them to carry out their work.
He added that UNESCO was ready to provide training and workshops and to hold meetings and forums to improve the aptitudes of reporters and media people.
– Bahrain News Agency