By Ismail Abdulaziz
Media professionals have been urged to uphold development journalism in order to save humanity from the various challenges confronting the world.
Dr Ahmed Al-Tayyib, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo, stated this on Tuesday when he received a delegation of participants of the “Media and the African Cooperation” programme in Cairo.
He said the media had significant responsibility placed on it by God to enlighten mankind in a balanced and objective manner for them to make informed decisions.
Development journalism pays sustained attention to the coverage of ideas, policies, programmes, activities and events dealing with the improvement of the life of people.
“The work of media is like that of preachers. While the preachers do it to a restricted congregation, the media have a wider visibility and reach.
“This advantage should be used responsibly to engender world peace, tolerance and giving the true picture of events from all perspectives.
“If the media will imbibe the culture of researching on issues and giving a wider historical perspective to world events, the world will be better. Most conflicts, whether religious or economic, come from lack of proper information.
“This must change to allow for better education of mankind. That is your role which God will hold you accountable.
“The issue of terrorism should not be given sectional colouration if we want to end it. A proper labeling of terrorism should be given to whoever commits it.”
He said that the Al-Azhar University had been collaborating with the Christian world and other religious bodies to end labeling of any religion as proclaiming terrorism.
He added that difference must be drawn between religion and the actions of men.
Al-Tayyib said that all religions recognised the sanctity of lives, adding that only the ignorant person or organisation with an agenda would perpetuate evil in the name of religion.
“I had a dialogue with the Pope and we came up with a document on ‘Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together”, which needed to be read by all men irrespective of religious difference.
“It is a document that invites all persons, who have faith in God and faith in human fraternity, to unite and work together so that it may serve as a guide for future generations to advance a culture of mutual respect in the awareness of the great divine grace that makes all human beings brothers and sisters,’’ he said.