The information ministers of the anti-terror quartet which consists of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain, held a meeting in Abu Dhabi on Monday. The meeting was attended by a number of media figures and writers from the four countries.
Abu Dhabi meeting
The significance of this meeting lies in the fact that it included countries that have taken a serious decision to combat terrorism without waiting for the rest of the world.
These countries certainly cooperate and work with the international community to fight terrorism but at the same time they decided not to wait until the world decides when to act or until it categorizes who the terrorist is and who practices terrorism. The quartet has thus taken upon itself the responsibility of combating terrorism
There is no doubt that the media plays an important role in combating terrorism, or rather an essential role. However it’s also true that terrorist organizations’ most important tool is the media which they use to spread their extreme ideas. This is in addition to their presence on social media where they broadcast their hate messages and recruit youths.
These are the traditional methods of terrorists’ use of the media, while their indirect exploitation of the media and infiltration of it has different forms.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain have taken upon themselves the responsibility of combating terrorismMohammed al-Hammadi
The importance the media’s role was highlighted in the speech of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed during his meeting with the information ministers of the four countries. He said: “Combating extremism and terrorism intellectually and through the media is not less important than fighting them on the military and security (fronts). There must be pre-emptive strategies based on explaining the concepts and contents of the Islamic discourse that calls for peace and tolerance and spreading the spirit of hope and positivity.”
The media’s effort should increase and be more organized in the next phase, and we must also increase the number of allies to fight this evil disease.
Forms of terrorism
In addition to terrorism which exploited religion, there is another form of terrorism which is perpetrated by states and groups, like Iran which supports terrorism, Qatar that funds it and Hezbollah which promotes it and spreads it. Thus, it’s important to coordinate efforts to produce works that expose terrorism and terrorists and establish institutions and centers that expose Iran and its terrorist regime to the West and “some” Arabs.
We need powerful media for this Arab quartet which is combating extremism and terrorism, especially after the success it achieved in exposing Qatar’s support for terrorism. It is certain now that the media’s war against terrorism has become essential and of top priority on both the short and the long terms.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Mohammed Al-Hammadi is the Editor-in-Chief of Al Ittihad newspaper and Executive Director of editing and publishing at the Abu Dhabi Media Company. He founded and was Editor-in-Chief of the Arabic edition of National Geographic magazine, and has held numerous positions in journalism since joining Al Ittihad in 1994. Al-Hammadi has been a columnist for more than 15 years, including writing a daily column for seven years and producing a weekly political column in Al Ittihad since 2001. He has also worked as a parliamentary editor for seven years, covering the proceedings of the Federal National Council in the United Arab Emirates. In addition to being an active participant on social networks, Al-Hammadi has an interest in new media and is currently working on a project to ease the transition from traditional to digital and smart media. Al-Hammadi has received numerous awards and is a member of a number of organizations and federations. He features regularly in broadcast media as a regional political commentator and has authored several books including Time of Ordeal (2008), The UAE Democracy (2009) and The Fall of the Muslim Brotherhood (2016). Twitter: @MEalhammadi.