Journalists Wrestle With Cultural Conflicts

For four days, journalists from the Asia-Pacific region grappled with the difficulties in reporting religio-cultural conflicts, especially between Islam and the West, at a media programme here.

 The journalists focused on unintended bias stemming from misuse of language.

 They also heard reports from violent regions such as Ambon in Indonesia where reporters can be killed if they walk into the wrong part of town.

 They also discussed the problem of reporting wars, terrorism, insurrections and civil unrests.

 The aim was to make the media more aware of the dangers of reporting religio-cultural conflicts, especially between Islam and the West.

 Forty top editors and freelance writers from across the Asia-Pacific region gathered in the Indonesian capital the past three days to discuss the role of journalism in the relationship between different cultures, religions and civilisations.

 Several prominent figures from Indonesia, including former foreign minister Ali Alatas, leading researcher-political analyst Dewi Fortuna Anwar and the pioneering journalist of Tempo and other publications, Goenawan Mohamad, addressed the gathering.

 The other speakers were the International Federation of Journalists general secretary Aidan White, New Zealand’s veteran journalist and lecturer Alan Samson, China’s well-known blogger Isaac Mao, Thailand’s top journalist Kavi Chongkittavorn, Pakistan’s well-known journalist and writer Zahid Hussain and Bernama deputy chief editor Mohd Zukiman Zain.

 The conference, entitled “The Asia-Pacific Regional Media Programme 2008”, ended Thursday.

 A separate one-day workshop discussing “The Role of Media in Muslim-Western Relations,” was held Friday.

 The conference was organised by New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and co-sponsored by Norway and the 27-member European Union.

 

It was also endorsed by the East Asia Summit and supported by the Indonesian government and the Press Council of Indonesia.

 

The workshop was organised by the Alliance of Civilizations Secretariat and the Search for Common Ground, a non-governmental organisation.

 

 

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