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Arab Women Forum: The Abu Dhabi Declaration

posted on 04/02/2002: 2113 views

The Arab Women's Media Forum concluded yesterday in the capital with the participants calling on media organisations in Arab countries to remove all hurdles that impede a proactive involvement of women in the media industry. In a document called the "Abu Dhabi Declaration", the participants called on the Arab media establishments to view the media profession as a "cultural and educational outlet of the modern society", and must therefore be open for all, irrespective of gender differences or other considerations.

The participants said that the media is an inseparable part of the social, cultural, political and economic social structure, especially as it transmits thoughts and values. In the area of legislation, the participants called for enactment of laws that would pave the way for the involvement of women in all spheres of life, and that would make it possible for them to take up various modern professions without provoking a clash with the particular characteristics of the Arab societies.

The participants also called for formulation of a grand national media strategy that would chart the way towards portraying Arab causes, the first of which is the Arab-Israeli conflict, in light of the rapid international and regional changes.

Following is the full text of the Abu Dhabi Declaration: Abu Dhabi Declaration for Women and Media February 2-3, 2002. By the gracious invitation of H.H Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, President of the General Women's Union, wife of H.H Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, (may God Protect him), we, the participants of Arab Women Media Forum" being held in Abu Dhabi under the motto "Towards an Interactive Media Sphere" declare the following resolutions:

A-The National Dimension.

Forming an Arab media strategy that aims to accomplish the following:

1-Developing a national independent media coverage of the Arab causes, the first of which is the Arab-Israeli struggle, in light of the new international and regional changes.

2-Supporting the role of the Palestinian woman in resisting the Israeli occupation and assisting her in facing the occupation situation and the blockade until she earns her just right to establish a sovereign Palestinian nation with Jerusalem as its capital.

3-Revealing all the inhumane practices that the Arab woman is facing in the blockade, occupation and imprisonment.

4-Reviving the Arab women's cultural heritage and dealing with it through the media confirming the modern Arab women's status and supporting her positive contribution in all fields.

5-Setting up an annual award for the media work that best serves the woman's causes.

6-Working on setting up a woman's media declaration to be presented and signed at the coming woman's summit.

B. The social and Legal Dimension.

The media is an inseparable part of social, cultural, political and socio-economic structure, especially as it transmits thoughts and values, and for it to take the appropriate role with regards to dealing with the woman's causes, the following must be taken into consideration:

1-Developing legislation pertaining to the women's involvement in all aspects of life where she will have the chance to practice modern professions without conflicting with particular characteristics of the Arab world.

2-Raising the level of social awareness with regards to the importance of women's involvement in media work.

3-Forming political and practical agendas that help women to participate more and more in the media task force.

4-Establishing a centre for research, training and translation of issues relating to women's involvement in media.

5-Setting up an information network that maintains a scientific, journalistic, and media forecasting archive and that specialises in women's causes and her image in the various media forms.

6-Raising the awareness of all Arab women and introducing them to their fundamental issues and their civil and political rights by means of various media forms.

C. The Professional Dimension.

The media establishments in the Arab countries must make it possible for the Arab woman to participate in media work. This could happen through the following steps:

1-Reducing obstacles that hinder woman's involvement in media work by thinking of the media as a cultural and educational outlet of the modern society.

2-Providing sufficient training and professional qualification for woman working in the various media establishments to help her stay up to date with the recent media and information technology developments.

3-Providing women the opportunity through the media to freely express their opinion on general matters and specifically on women related issues.

4-Equating women and men with regards to employment and promotion in various media establishments as well as in decision-making positions.

D-The Intellectual Dimension of Media.

The various media establishments must be requested to set forth moral guidelines when dealing with women's issues according to the following:

1-Being accurate, fair and objective when the media deals with women related issues.

2-Maintaining the woman's dignity in all media work, far from exaggeration and distortion and not using her as a means for financial gain.

3-Covering, via the media, the rural, Bedouin and modern women's issues with a balanced approach.

4-Presenting the problems that modern women face due to the modern Arab social development and changes.

5-Enabling the woman to freely express her opinion in various media forms which ultimately provides for rich and diverse opinions. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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