Istanbul Declaration calls for fighting disinformation


Declaration adopted by the 12th Session of the Islamic Conference of Information Ministers has stressed on the importance of cooperation among the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states in developing necessary mechanisms to fight disinformation and other related challenges of the post-truth era.

The information ministers of the OIC member states, including Pakistan’s Marriyum Aurangzeb, participated in a conference titled “Combating Disinformation and Islamophobia in the Post-Truth Era” held in Istanbul, Turkiye on Saturday.

According to a statement issued by the OIC Secretariat, the declaration underlined the need for devising short, medium and long-term strategic processes in the overall fight against disinformation.

It noted that the conference recognised the importance of focusing on specific issues and possible scenarios in the short term.

The declaration further read that participants were aware of the crisis communication and management and mechanisms to check the accuracy of the information in the medium term.

It added that the conference recognised the need for checking news content, media literacy and digital media literacy in the long term.

The conference took into consideration the final report of the 12th Islamic Conference of Information Ministers.

The report was aimed to promote OIC member states’ contributions and cooperation in the area of media and information.

The Istanbul Declaration underscored the need to combat Islamophobia in all its manifestations by presenting the “truth about the magnanimous religion of Islam in an effective manner, utilising new and emerging platforms and technological innovations”.

The document underscored the perils of disinformation as a destructive weapon.

The declaration read that it was an easy weapon to wield and required complex measures to counter the actions targeting the religion of Islam.

It also stressed the need for combating this phenomenon and highlighting the risks it posed — particularly in countries with Muslim communities and minorities.

The declaration recognised the necessity of raising awareness against disinformation and fake news through social norms.

It also highlighted the importance of combating disinformation, which posed a serious threat to their countries and societies in the new digital era, “as encapsulated in the theme chosen for the conference”.

“[This conference recognises] that terrorism has no particular identity and that correlating this term with other identities is a product of disinformation,” the declaration read.

It condemned all manifestations of violence, extremism, fanaticism and terrorism which distorted the noble messages of human cultures.

The conference discussed the significance of the media and information in all its forms in shaping the local, regional, and international public.

The conference also called for a renewed commitment to the noble objectives of the OIC and support for all its initiatives and activities, particularly in the communication and information domains with a view to encouraging unity, solidarity and cooperation in the Islamic world.

It urged the media outlets in the member states to raise global awareness about deliberate acts of destruction and desecration of Islamic cultural and religious heritage in non-Muslim countries.

It especially asked the media outlets to raise awareness about those areas where indigenous Muslim communities were subjected to ethnic cleansing.

The conference welcomed the progress towards the operationalisation of the OIC Media Forum (OMF).

It called upon media entities and institutions in the member states to join the OMF.

It affirmed the principle of consolidating joint Islamic actions among the OIC member states, especially in the area of media and information, and of its constant support for the Palestinian cause and Al-Quds in the international fora.

The conference stressed upon the crucial role of media in Islamic countries in exposing the Israeli aggression against the Palestinians.

It highlighted the importance of international solidarity and assistance to support refugees, and people seeking shelter, particularly in the OIC member states.

The conference also welcomed Resolution No. 76/254 on “International Day to Combat Islamophobia” as well as Resolution No. 76/227 on “Countering disinformation for the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms” adopted by the UN General Assembly on 15 March 2022 and 24 December 2021, respectively.

It commended the efforts of the OIC towards the advancement of the mission of Islam and promoting dialogue between the Islamic culture and the world’s other cultures.

The conference lauded the constant efforts and initiatives of the OIC secretary general and his contacts within and outside the Islamic world, contributing thereby to giving the Islamic voice a prominent position in the international fora.

The participants requested him that he render his good offices and fully utilise the capacities of the OIC and its organs to coordinate the implementation of decisions and recommendations adopted by the conference towards combating disinformation and Islamophobia in the post-truth era.

The ministers of the member countries extended their appreciation to the people and government of the Republic of Turkiye for their generous hospitality during the conference.

(With input from APP)


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