in my capacity of President of both COPEAM and Téléliban, I am pleased to announce you that next annual Conference of our Association will be hosted by the Lebanese public broadcaster in Beirut, from 11 to 13 May, 2017.
Through the topic chosen this year - Mediterranean storytelling: complexities, media response and public opinion – we would like to explore in depth how Media are capable to portray the Mediterranean of today with its highly diverse cultural, religious and sociological environment, and offer a real picture of it to their audiences.
As we all know, Media can dramatically shape behaviours and political opinions. This responsibility is nowadays particularly delicate, considering the complexity of the social, political and economic framework in the Mediterranean area, where huge challenges like mass migrations, conflicts, large unemployment, extremisms and terrorism, environment-related crisis are deeply affecting citizens’ lives and political processes.
A proper communication of such regional matters is strongly needed in order to maintain a fair balance between media representation and public debate, between media storytelling and citizens’ perception of reality; and a correct and accurate information necessarily goes through skilled journalists, the reliability of sources, the respect of deontology and, mainly, the capability of the Media to engage a dialogue with the public, also by means of the social networks.
This relationship can be synthesised in a short sentence: “from mirrors to movers” – that is the Media as the reflexion or the engine of society - which underlines the potential of information in terms of citizens’ empowerment and calling to action.
This kind of approach would highly contribute to counter hate-speech, stereotypes, clichés and misleading information, in both the virtual sphere and the traditional media where, too often, the basic and widespread unawareness of consumers doesn’t help dialogue, but rather risks to feed division and ignorance.
Is the so called constructive journalism able to improve citizens’ critical thinking and civic commitment? Does media content mirror or move society? These are some of the questions to be asked and, hopefully, answered next May in Beirut, where I will be honoured to warmly welcome all of you!
Talal El Makdessi