02 : 27 PM - 30/09/2013
Manama: Sept. 30 --(BNA)-- The 1st GCC Media Forum themed: (Mass Media and Telecommunications and their impact on National Security) began here in Manama today. The two-day forum is hosted in the Kingdom of Bahrain under the auspices of the Information Affairs Authority (IAA) with participation of 150 GCC experts including GCC Information Ministers, specialized media and telecommunications professionals and academicians. The Minister of State for Information Affairs, Ms. Samira Ibrahim bin Rajab, addressed the forum. Below is a translation of the text of Her Excellency's speech:-
Peace of Allah, His mercy and blessings upon you
In the beginning please let me on behalf of the Kingdom of Bahrain welcome our dear brethren and guests representatives of GCC countries, our friends the writers, journalists, media professionals and researchers participating in the first edition of the GCC Media Forum hosted in the Kingdom of Bahrain as part of the activities of Manama the Capital of Arab Media 2013-2014 and in fruitful cooperation and coordination between the Kingdom of Bahrain's Ministry of State for Information Affairs and the Arab Media Forum in Kuwait and the Arab League.
Brothers and sisters:
This media forum convenes at an extremely critical timing, as recent fast events taking place in the world, especially in the Arab region, culminated in reconsidering the media and telecommunications field, reconsidering its conventional duties and functions for the sake of which it was created, its correlation with the community, its new role at the level of international relations after things have somewhat been confused, and may be peoples do not differentiate between an honest image of the media which has been founded on fundamental principles aimed on the one hand to undertake its conventional role in serving the community and expressing the opinions of individuals and groups of people, or using it as an additional tool of unethical influencing as part of undeclared conflicts and wars both regionally and internationally, targeting everything except the honest and balanced media vis-à-vis peoples' circumstances and issues and their self-determination. Through the GCC Media Forum we try to build with you a new thinking space for deliberation and exchanging opinions regarding the working of mass media and telecommunications in their various negative or positive dimensions. Our efforts also aim to cooperating with our brethren the organisers, in a bid to spread awareness regarding modern transformations taking place in this vital domain, to stand on new mechanisms through which the mass media and telecommunications work within some declared and other undeclared strategic bets which help maintain political interests far from the conventional role of supporting theological or societal interest across the mass media.
Brothers and sisters:
Modern information and telecommunications technologies have terrifically development over the past few years, to the worst; these developments made peoples who did not keep abreast of such developments and who are not open to modification of legislations an easy prey to the machines of international mass media which operate smartly harnessing huge capabilities, which makes it difficult for some countries to easily differentiate between a steered media on the one side and the right of our peoples on the other to obtain news and information and the right to practise the freedom of opinion and expression.
Hence, the first edition of the GCC Media Forum comes in order to focus on a subject matter which we consider extremely important especially at this time which is to shed light on the role of the mass media and telecommunications and their correlation with national security of countries. In fact this subject has become a complicated matter comprising several queries because there is an area of grey which separates the right of the mass media and telecommunications in assuming their conventional role of publishing news and information inside the community and the boundary of this process and its impact on national security of countries, on the one hand, and the right to protect national security, on the other.
This subject has become even more complicated after the easy access to the phase of democratization of electronic communications media on top of which come social networking which has become a double-edged weapons: on the one had it serves individuals and groups of people and contribute into enrichment of discussion and dialogue regarding common issues of concern and on the other hand it constitutes a sort of new chaos which is too difficult to organise in the absence of the necessary legislations and difficulty of compromising between the philosophy of validation and freedom.
Brothers and sisters:
At the present time, no country whatsoever might be the size of its military, political, economic or cultural clout dares overlook the pivotal role undertaken by the mass media and telecommunications inside the community or its interaction with other communities and countries.
It seems that the global media scene - and the global economic and technological scene too, at a time when the mass media and production instruments have prevailed that worked in manifest compliance or at least semi-organised legal frames and professional standards - has developed from the state of relative self-discipline into a new state with signs of a new world and a new media that is describable in the least as (chaotic).
This new world heralds the philosophy of sans frontiers or no limits in everything experienced by humankind. This new state of chaos prevalent on earth precedes similar chaos in the sky constituted by the increasingly-growing presence of telecommunications and espionage satellites orbiting around the globe.
Some people sometimes exaggeratingly describe the revolution created by modern technologies and telecommunications as a de facto occupation on the part of information to the frontiers of laws and values that organise the lives of individuals and the community. Technological advancement takes place in such a way as to make information the central theme when it comes to the production of global influence and management.
Before this new chaos and its contradictions, there are multiple questions posed regarding the role of new mass media and telecommunications inside the community? And about the capacity to transform into an unethical dumping of information through media and telecommunications networks into new tools and weapons which can weaken the concept of Statehood that has continuously lost its sovereignty and independence under the brunt of globalisation of the economy and culture? More importantly, countries nowadays talk emphatically about their media security with more emphasis on their military security?
Nowadays, we exist with a new sort of weapons, a new sort of unmaterialistic influence, however sometimes more lethal than materialistic power, because the use of materialistic weapons can easily validate them. However the use of the weapon of information which is too difficult to validate and even if it could be validated, it may easily transform into a Trojan Horse of human rights organisations and advocates of the freedom of opinion and expression.
Here a pivotal question should be posed: Where is the right of the State in protecting itself from the hazard of the weapon of fallacies and disinformation which could create dangerous repercussions to the detriment of the future a country?
It is verily the right of the State to protect itself from hostile internal and external media and telecommunications networks which disrespect laws or endanger national security. All western and democratic countries that uphold the respecting of the freedom of opinion and expression and which make this principle their lofty mission and one of their bets when dealing with developing countries and impose the necessary restrictions on the media so as to defend their national territories and security.
Has the newly-fangled state of global chaos culminated in any new strategies or boosted the policy of double-dealing?
Is the right of the State to taking the necessary measures that protect national security a monopoly of one State than another?
Nowadays, we are before new snags connected with the concept of statehood and the powers of the State locally and abroad. Such snags have become more complicated as increasingly-growing controversy prevails now between proponents of the freedom of opinion and expression by harnessing of mass media and telecommunications and proponents of the right of the State to defend its national security and the security of its citizens.
Finally, it seems to me that the perfect trend in coping with such new problems, should be part of a new, open-minded philosophy which calls for respecting and ensuring the freedom of opinion and expression but does not compromise at the same time to impose the supremacy of the State of law and preservation of its media security.
Brothers and sisters:
On this platform, I would like to express once again my gratitude and appreciation to my brethren from the GCC countries, our guests the journalists, media professionals and researchers for their attendance and effective participation in such critical issues which have been tabled before us today. I hope today's discussions will culminate into deeper-fathomed understanding of challenges and bets facing our GCC and Arab countries and peoples.
Peace of Allah, His mercy and blessings be upon you (IY)
BNA 1132 GMT 2013/09/30
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Last updated : 02 : 59 PM - 30/09/2013