Journalists told not to inflame anti-Muslim sentiment
The head of the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) accused the West of anti-Muslim bias on Thursday and warned journalists against automatically linking Islam with terrorism.
"The media must dispel the myth that terrorism and Islam are identical concepts," he said, adding that the misrepresentation of Islam "adds fuel to the fire" of Muslim discontent with the West.
Issues of media freedom in Muslim states, including mainly-Muslim Azerbaijan, were also raised at the event.
The recent jailing in Azerbaijan of the editor of two independent newspapers, Eynulla Fatullayev, was raised by the European Union's special representative to the Caucasus nations of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, Peter Semneby.
On April 20, Fatullayev was convicted for libel and sentenced to 18 months in prison. Media rights groups say Azerbaijan's libel laws are frequently used to silence the government's critics.
"The provisions on libel should be removed from Azerbaijan's criminal code to help solve the problem of pressure being put on journalists," Semneby said on the sidelines of the conference.
The OIC, the world's largest grouping of Muslim countries, organized the two-day conference in an effort to promote "tolerance and mutual understanding" in the media. Among those present were representatives of major media outlets from Muslim countries including Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television and Egypt's Al-Ahram newspaper.