These abilities are essentially communicative in nature.” The report stresses that in order to promote ID and thus reduce cross-cultural dissonance, there is a need to build the communicative capacity of citizens, including those of media actors. Media can be a powerful tool to enable intercultural dialogue,tolerance and cultural understanding. It has the potential and the ability to foster mutual understanding by communicating across divides, thus bringing competing narratives together into a shared story. The role of the media in the presentation of events, which in turn affects the shaping of people‘s perceptions of those events, is fundamental. In the way they report, the media can create tensions by spreading negative stereotypes or incorrect information, or ease tensions by explaining carefully social and political events that may create misperceptions between and among communities.

As the only UN agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom, UNESCO has placed intercultural dialogue through media at the core of its mission. UNESCO believes that frank, even harsh speech is a right unless it seeks to incite discrimination, hostility or violence. Any attempt to restrict the right to freedom of expression must be balanced against this criterion. Strengthening the principles and practices of a free and professional media is the most sustainable way of encouraging a media culture that works towards building peace. Communicating across cultural differences is a central challenge of our times. The media, then, has a true “mediating” role to play in encouraging global awareness.

Building on the experience of the UNESCO programmes in this field and the growing global call to strengthening the media culture itself in promoting intercultural dialogue, UNESCO is taking the technical leadership of global initiatives related to media and intercultural dialogue. In parallel to the global effort and under the framework of HAWER Programme, UNESCO Beirut Office (UBO) is committed to advance this process at the regional level. Having held several technical regional consultations on the conceptual underpinnings of this field, as well as having developed a regional guidance on media and Intercultural Dialogue, UBO is now organizing a series of related initiatives with the aim to strengthen the role of media in promoting ID in the Arab States. Towards this end, UBO is organizing its 2nd regional conference on Intercultural Dialogue and Media in the Arab States.

 

Conference Objectives

 

The 2nd regional conference on Intercultural Dialogue and Media in the Arab States aims to fulfill the below objectives:

  •   Launch a dialogue around the Guidelines for Media on Intercultural Dialogue;
  •   Discuss the enormous potential of media to serve as a platform for dialogue and a vehicle for understanding;
  •   Strengthen and sensitize a media support regional structure for the promotion of a culture of dialogue in the Arab states;
  •  Share successful existing experiences/initiatives that contributed to the promotion of a culture of dialogue through the media especially among youth;
  •   Propose further actions to implement and mainstream the proposed guidelines.

Conference Topics

 

Throughout this conference, participants will dialogue with one another to celebrate and inspire; to connect and network; to circulate new ideas and research; to correlate future goals; and to explore the following topics:

 

  •   Guidelines for media to promote intercultural dialogue
  •   Intercultural Dialogue in the Newsroom
  •   Intercultural Dialogue in Reporting
  •   Intercultural Dialogue in the Programs
  •   The role of media in promoting interreligious dialogue and mutual understanding

 

Intercultural riyadh 27 28june2016