Muslim groups pitch idea for media centre

Muslim groups pitch idea for media centre
Buddhist Myanmar citizens living in Thailand shout slogans and hold banners as they gather outside the Myanmar embassy in Bangkok, 2012

SINGAPORE - Academics and community leaders at a Muslim conference have mooted the idea of a media training and research institute to help journalists and bloggers be culturally sensitive when covering conflicts.

"In Myanmar, for example, some are couching the Rohingya conflict as a Buddhist versus Muslim issue, when in fact many complex socio-political issues come into play," said Assistant Professor Mohamed Nawab Mohamed Osman from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.

"We hope that conflicts do not escalate because of irresponsible coverage," he said at the two-day conference organised by voluntary welfare organisation Jamiyah Singapore and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

About 60 academics, politicians and community leaders from the Asia-Pacific came to discuss the role of Islamic institutions in promoting peace.

The media training and research institute could organise seminars with academics, inter-faith leaders, bloggers and journalists to share their thoughts about media coverage of current conflicts that have cultural dimensions.

Participants of the conference also aimed to set up a web portal documenting Muslim communities around the world, for instance in Japan and South Korea, where they are relatively unknown minorities.

This article was published on June 14 in The Straits Times.

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