Indonesian Vice President Boediono opened a three-day international Islamic media conference here Monday and emphasized the importance of a strong and free media to boost social, educational, economic and political development of Muslim countries.“We are going to have an open government system,” he said while highlighting the increasing influence of social media networks. “Indonesia has the second largest number of Facebook and Twitter users,” he claimed and cautioned the public against social media’s negative influence.
More than 500 delegates from different parts of the Islamic world are attending the conference, titled “New Media and Information Technology: Challenges and Opportunities.” It is jointly organized by the Muslim World League and the Indonesian Ministry of Religious Affairs.Boediono emphasized the need for a free media and freedom of expression to promote social and economic development in Muslim countries. “Information has now become a public domain. We have to understand and adjust with this reality,” he told Muslim governments.
The vice president noted the growing role of the social media in combating corruption, making political changes and defending democratic principles. He commended MWL and the Indonesian ministry for organizing the event and wished the conferees every success. “Our organization has understood the importance of media and has set up a higher committee for the purpose,” said MWL Secretary-General Abdullah Al-Turki, expressing his hope that the conference would bring about greater cooperation and coordination among the Muslim media organizations to spread the message of Islam with greater vigor and efficiency.He called upon the Muslim media to cope with new technological development and making effective efforts to confront Islamophobia. He also referred to the MWL’s efforts to promote interfaith dialogue. “We have organized a number of conferences in different parts of the world for this purpose,” he pointed out.
Al-Turki reminded the Muslim media of their fundamental role of spreading Islamic values, strengthening Muslim unity and solidarity and defending Muslim causes. “We should strengthen our position in the world of media by adopting modern technology and methods,” he added.Earlier, welcoming the guests, Indonesian Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali spoke out the great challenges facing the Muslim world. He stressed the Indonesian government’s efforts to promote justice, equality and other Islamic values. The conference is attended by Deputy Culture and Information Minister Abdullah Al-Jasser and a number of Saudi officials, academics and media persons.
The conference will focus on five core topics: Contemporary Media: Components and Impact; Collaboration and Networking of Media in the Muslim World; Islamic Media Discourse; Media and Dialogue; and Proposals to Boost Muslim Media.Delegates told Arab News that the conference was a good opportunity for them to discuss the problems facing the Muslim and find viable solutions. Ejaz Ahmed Aslam, editor of Radiance views weekly in New Delhi, said there is no excuse for Muslims for not having a strong media.“We have material and human resources as well as freedom of expression,” Aslam said and called upon Muslims to set up powerful media organizations by providing necessary training to young men and women and making use of modern information technology. He stressed the need for establishing satellite television channels that have greater impact in creating public opinion