SHARJAH, UAE, March 20, 2016 /CNW/ - The critical role of government communication in various spheres, including in combatting extremism, in reaching out to a nation's younger generation and in the much talked-about arena of human rights was underscored by national and international experts on the first day of the fifth International Government Communication Forum (IGCF 2016) in Sharjah.
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In a panel session titled 'Confronting Extremism: Government Communication and the Creation of a Humanist Culture', speakers stressed the need for government communication to promote tolerance and help end discrimination and sectarianism. The panelists called for government communications to promote the true image of Islam as a moderate religion that respects the rights and responsibilities of individuals, as opposed to one focused on extremism and hatred for others.
The session was attended by His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, who inaugurated the IGCF 2016.
Urging a united approach to combatting extremism, former Prime Minister of France Dominique de Villepin said: "Communication should not be a one-way street from the government to the people. It has to go back from the people to the government. If it is not a two-way street, then it is propaganda, and propaganda creates more frustration and resentment because people want to be part of the solution."
Emphasising the role of government communication with the younger generation, H.E. Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al-Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Media Centre, said: "The youth of the 21st century are vocal about expressing their opinions on any and every issue via social media. Governments now need to target generations that are able and willing to express themselves and are uniquely open to all cultures. We need to listen to them to utilise their innovative ideas and abilities to further develop our countries and societies."
Amal Alamuddin Clooney, said: "Human rights has become the language that states use to communicate with each other and the common yardstick by which all states are judged…Governments must be vocal and engage in communication about human rights with the international community."
Themed 'Citizens for Prosperity', IGCF 2016 is designed to examine the symbiotic relationship between governments and people, and explore how government communication touches different aspects of people's everyday through its impact on vital socio-economic sectors.
SOURCE IGCF 2016 (International Government Communication Forum 2016)