Sana'a- January,31- In cooperation with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Program for the Development of Communication (IPDC), Mansa Foundation for Media and Development Studies organized on Wednesday the first consultative meeting on countering hate speech and violence incitement in the Yemeni media. The meeting was attended by several leading members of media outlets in Sana'a.
Yaseen al-Masoudi, the head of the Yemeni Journalists' Syndicate, stated that confronting the discourse of hatred and violence in the Yemeni media is currently an urgent necessity in order to avoid the rapid and direct repercussions of such a destructive speech that targets the present development, the future and on top of that the lives and property.
At the inauguration ceremony of the first consultative meeting, Al-Masoudi said that the hate speech and violence incitement is like a large-scale and epidemic which spreads rapidly, causing heavy and catastrophic losses.
He pointed out that a number of media outlets have turned into quasi-operation rooms of conflict and war management.
Al-Masoudi commended the implementation of such projects which aimed at rationalizing the media discourse. He called for replacing the hate speech and violence incitement with a message of hope and optimism as well as promoting the values of coexistence in society.
Avdulbari Taher the former head of Yemeni journalists' Syndicate said that the word has turned to be a deadly weapon in line with the war.
He called on all journalists to ensure the purity of the media discourse and not be the instigators of conflicts.
Taher added that we are witnesses to what is happening in the country and the inappropriate language is not our job at all, emphasizing that journalists' job is to convey the news and the free word to the people in a realistic and incitement-free message.
Taher, who is also a member of the experts committee in the project of Countering Hate Speech and Violence Incitement in the Yemeni Media, stressed the need to adhere to the professional values and ethics, urging that the responsibility on the shoulders of journalists should be understood.
Meanwhile, the director of the project, Adel Abdulmughni, said that when the media outlets become tools for fueling conflicts, the results will be destructive.
Abdulmughni explained that the aim of this project was to create common convictions among all media leaders about the danger of continuing the discourse of hate and incitement as well as searching for ways to curb such a destructive speech.
Abdulmughni presented a brief explanation of the six-month long project which includes holding consultative meetings in Sana'a and Aden with the leaders of a number of media outlets in order to agree on the lexicon of hate speech in the Yemeni media based on prior monitoring reports. Additionally, the media leaders will reach consensus on declaring the general principles which include the professional and ethical standards to counter the hate speech.
At the meeting, journalist Mohammed Ayesh pointed out that the hate speech and violence incitement in the Yemeni media is a sensitive subject, emphasizing the importance of such consultative meetings.
He said journalists should consider their media message as a responsibility towards the nation that is deteriorating day by day.
Ayesh said that there is a difference between the personal opinion of the writer and news writing, indicating the use of the hate and violence speech has serious and devastating implications and this necessitates rationalizing the media discourse to prevent the growing hatred the people.
The participants engaged in constructive discussions on hate speech and the relevant lexicon.