The Civil Coalition for the Promotion of Civil Peace and the Rule of Law calls for abandoning the antagonism and incitement in Palestinian media agencies

The Civil Coalition for the Promotion of Civil Peace and the Rule of Law held a round-table session to discuss the antagonism within media agencies and how it hinders the promotion of social cohesion within Palestinian society. Among the participants were the Journalists Syndicate, the Police Association, members of the Coalition, journalists and social activists from REFORM.

The meeting shed light on the neutrality of media in presenting issues and the absence of legal systems that regulate media agencies but does not restrict the freedom of opinion nor expression. Participants also shed light on the deteriorated monitoring role of media, in addition to the defamation, libel, restricted freedom of opinion and expression within media agencies.

Mr. Nadim Qandil reviewed the historical role of media agencies in the national struggle and in achieving the unity of Palestinians, and the discourse within media agencies, especially in 2007 after the Palestinian split. Qandil also reflected on some events related to Palestinian refugee camps, peaceful gatherings, local elections and political detention.

The General Manager of Media and Human Rights and Democracy center - Shams, Dr. Omar Rahhal, highlighted the absence of a legal system that regulates the work of media agencies and the right of public to access information and public freedoms. Dr. Rahhal also tackled the political parties’ dominance on media agencies by using them as tools to exclude one another, as they employ certain terms that contributed to widening the internal Palestinian split and promoting a culture of racism, exclusion, treason and conspiracy within Palestinian society. Therefore, the state of civil peace is harmed and socio-political gaps between Palestinians started to emerge.

On the other hand, the Legal and Media Expert, Mr. Majid Arouri, analysed the discourse of media amid the current use of terminology, stressing the need for adopting certain concepts in media discourse that promotes the freedom of opinion and expression. Moreover, Mr. Arouri called for developing the editorial policies of media agencies in order to come up with a national and official discourse that contributes to the promotion of civil peace and social harmony within society.

The Spokesman of the Palestinian police, Col. Loay Arzieqat, referred to the role of the security establishment in following up the fabricated news circulated through social networking sites, calling for the need to regulate the work of the media in accordance with the laws and legislations, especially those related to public freedoms and the right to access information.

Member of the General Secretariat of the Syndicate of Journalists, Mr. Montasser Hamdan, stressed the need to enhance the role of the Ministry of Information in regulating the work of media agencies and the Journalists Syndicate. This could be done through developing a clear code of conduct as well as formulating laws and public policies that govern the media sector and enhances the rights of citizens to access information and public freedoms.

 

Afterwards, participants urged the media agencies to abandon the antagonistic discourse and bypass the incitement within their publications. They also called for monitoring the performance of media, and develop an honor code that forces media agencies to assume their national role in strengthening civil peace. Participants also called on the Ministry of Education and the universities to raise the awareness of students on the importance of developing professional media and editorial policies that promote unity, monitor the public performance, and do not restrict the freedom of opinion and expression.

This session was implemented by the Civil Coalition for the Promotion of Civil Peace and the Rule of Law. Members of this Coalition are: The GIZ’s Civil Peace Service (CPS), the Palestinian Association for Empowerment and Local Development – REFORM, Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC), ACT for Alternative Dispute Resolution and Studies, Palestinian Bar Association, Raya FM, Human Rights and Democracy Media Center - SHAMS and the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy – MIFTAH.

The Coalition seeks to enhance social harmony and to create a supportive environment to bridge the gaps amongst various components of society, promoting dialogue as a means to support a collective identity, civil harmony and the enforcement of law. To achieve this, the Coalition is working in partnership with official state bodies and various civil institutions to ensure the promotion of pluralism and equality within Palestinian society.