GCC Secretary General warns of dangers of media bias in Israel-Gaza war

Jasem Al Budaiwi said truth can be a casualty of conflict during keynote address at Arab Media Forum in Dubai

Jasem Al Budaiwi, Secretary General of the Gulf Co-operation Council, speaking at the Arab Media Forum on Tuesday. Pawan Singh / The National
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Jasem Al Budaiwi, Secretary General of the Gulf Co-operation Council, on Tuesday spoke out against the dangers of partisan media coverage in the Israel-Gaza war.

Mr Al Budaiwi, who previously served as Kuwait’s ambassador to the US, warned of “vested interests making truth a casualty in conflicts” during a keynote address on the opening day of the Arab Media Forum.

He cited examples of double standards in reporting of the war in Gaza and the cause of the Palestinian people.

Mr Al Budaiwi told of the global impact of the Gaza war during an interview with The National in March.

“Gaza’s war did not just change the region, it changed many of the international standards. It changed the whole world in a major way," he said.

“What happens in Gaza doesn’t just stay in Gaza, there is a fallout all over the world.”

Call for social media safeguards

The senior political figure said media had a pivotal role to play in the region's progress, but cautioned against challenges posed by the rise of social media.

Mr Al Budaiwi highlighted the misuse of social media platforms in promoting drugs, recruiting terrorists and negatively influencing politics and the economy, in remarks noted by Dubai Media Office.

He reflected on the growing popularity of social media across the GCC, a region in which 58 million – 96.55 per cent of the population – are active users of various online networks.

He called for the international community to come together to develop strict regulations over the use of technology in media, to ensure fairness and respect for privacy in the age of artificial intelligence.

The 22nd Arab Media Forum is part of the three-day Arab Media Summit, which is being held at Dubai World Trade Centre and concludes on Wednesday.

Mona Al Marri, vice chairperson and managing director of the Dubai Media Council and president of the Dubai Press Club, delivered the welcome address at the opening session of the annual gathering.

Ms Al Marri spoke of the need to achieve coexistence and stability in the Arab world, emphasising the importance of the huge challenges facing Palestine.

Ms Al Marri stressed the value of dialogue during adversity and told of the critical role played by the media in representing diverse voices.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed, Second Deputy Ruler of Dubai, had earlier welcomed delegates to the forum.

He said Dubai was committed to supporting the growth of the media industry.

“Our goal is to prepare for a future where media continues to uphold national values and strengthen the connection of new generations with their rich historical and cultural heritage,” he said.

“The gathering of leading Arab media figures in Dubai is a crucial opportunity to showcase this vital sector's ability to meet the region's future aspirations.

“Media plays a key role in guiding Arab dialogue towards greater unity and co-ordination, building new bridges of co-operation across various fields. This supports joint efforts for broader growth and prosperity for the entire Arab world.”

The opening session of the Arab media Forum was also attended by Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed, Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council; Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed, Chairwoman of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority; Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak, Prime Minister of Yemen; Abdulrahman Al Mutairi, Minister of Information and Culture for Kuwait, and a number of senior media personalities and thought leaders from across the Arab world.

Updated: May 28, 2024, 5:46 PM