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Istanbul Declaration

Istanbul Declaration for fighting disinformation

ISLAMABAD: Istanbul Declaration adopted by the 12th Session of the Islamic Conference of Information Ministers emphasized the importance of cooperation among the member states in developing necessary mechanisms to fight disinformation and other related challenges of the Post-Truth era.

The declaration also underlined the need for devising short, medium, and long-term strategic processes in the fight against disinformation.

The Information Ministers of the OIC Member States participated in the Islamic Conference of Information Ministers titled ‘Combating Disinformation and Islamophobia in the Post-Truth Era’ held in Türkiye on 22nd October.

The declaration said that the conference recognized the importance of focusing on specific issues and possible scenarios in the short term, multidimensional crisis communication and management and mechanisms to check the accuracy of the information in the medium term, and 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 aimed to promote OIC Member States’ contributions and cooperation in the area of media and information, a press release of the OIC Secretariat said.

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

Underscoring the perils of disinformation as a destructive weapon, the declaration said, it was easy to wield and require complex measures to counter, targeting the noble religion of Islam and the need to combat this phenomenon and highlighting the risks it posed particularly in countries with Muslim communities and minorities.

It recognized the necessity of raising awareness against disinformation and fake news.

The declaration 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.

“Recognizing that terrorism has no particular identity and that correlating this term with other identities is a product of disinformation and condemning all manifestations of violence, extremism, fanaticism, and terrorism which distort the noble messages of human cultures,” the declaration said.

The conference mulled over the significance of 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, especially in those areas where indigenous Muslim communities were subjected to ethnic cleansing.

The conference welcomed the progress towards the operationalization of the OIC Media Forum (OMF) and 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 international fora.

It also stressed the crucial role of media in Islamic countries in exposing the Israeli aggression against the Palestinians and called for illuminating the legitimate cause of the Palestinian people to end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The conference 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” adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 15 March 2022 and Resolution No. 76/227 on “Countering disinformation for the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms” adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 24 December 2021.

It commended the efforts of the OIC towards the advancement of the mission of Islam and promote 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 international fora.

OIC Secretary General was also requested to fully utilize the capacities of the OIC and its organs to coordinate the implementation of decisions and recommendations adopted by this Conference toward combating disinformation and Islamophobia in the Post-Truth era.

The ministers of the member countries extended appreciation to the people and government of the Republic of Türkiye for their generous hospitality during the 12th Session of the Islamic Conference of Information Ministers.

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M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.