By Alhaji M.B. Jalloh, Press Attaché, Saudi Arabia
Sierra Leone’s Information and Communication Minister has told over 50 Information Ministers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that “the role of women in the media needs more recognition and support.”
Minister Mohamed Bangura made the remarks at the Conference Palace in Saudi Arabia’s second capital, Jeddah, where these Ministers of the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) converged this week to attend the 11th Session of the Islamic Conference of Information Ministers hosted by the Saudi Arabian Government.
Mohamed Bangura represents Sierra Leone in OIC Conference
The powerful and positive role that the media can play in the empowerment of women and gender equality should be supported and further explored, Bangura told the Ministers of the 57-Member States Saudi based Islamic organization.
The Information Minister, accompanied by Agibu Tejan -Jalloh, the National Publicity and outreach Coordinator in the office of the Government Spokesman reiterated to his colleagues to recognize the importance of women in the media; as their empowerment will help in advancing democracy, development, peace and security. The inclusion of women in decision-making processes, he added, is an important indicator of good governance in many democratic societies.
He made reference to Sierra Leone when the Ebola Virus Disease struck the nation and its neighboring countries in 2014, women in the media played a significant role in Social Mobilization, Advocacy, Contact Tracing and Surveillance, to name but a few.
The Information Minister was also quick to say that, to achieve the empowerment process, Member States should consider to provide adequate financial and logistical support for women in the media, adding that, training programs and exchanging professional visits amongst member states, will also help in that direction.
The theme of the four-day conference, which begins Monday, December 19, 2016 under “The Role of New Media in Confronting Terrorism and Islamophobia”, is scheduled to discuss several issues and draft resolutions, notably the role of the media in member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in supporting the cause of Jerusalem and the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The agenda of the conference, according to an earlier press release from the OIC, includes adoption of a media strategy to confront Islamophobia and its implementation mechanisms; adoption of the OIC-2025 Comprehensive Media Strategy; women empowerment in and through the media, as well as internal and external media action in partnership with OIC member states and international media institutions.
The conference, according to a spokesman in the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information, will also discuss the implementation of the special media program for Africa in order to highlight its place and role in the Muslim world, and launch similar programs to other regions. The ministers will further discuss the report for launching the OIC satellite channel and supporting the work of the OIC joint Islamic media action institutions as well as the establishment of an international award for the media and journalists.
Khaled Al – Normary says the conference will deliberate on ways to strengthen the OIC’s media visibility in championing cultural exchange, development and peace as well as boosting the capacity and productivity as well as cooperation among, media institutions in the member states. The conference is expected to issue a final communiqué called “Jeddah Declaration” at the end of the sessions.