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19 May, 2023 09:17

Russia hosts Islamic media summit

News organizations discussed how they can strengthen cooperation and fight disinformation in their countries
Russia hosts Islamic media summit

On May 18, 2023, the XIV International Economic Forum ‘Russia – Islamic World’ (KazanForum 2023) hosted an extended media session titled “Russia and the Islamic world: media cooperation for sustainable development and economic prosperity.” It was organized by the Union of OIC News Agencies (UNA-OIC) and Tatmedia, which are respectively the media body of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the leading news agency in the Russian region, where the gathering took place. The parties signed a memorandum of cooperation after the event. The partner of the session was the Russia – Islamic World Strategic Vision Group.

The event touched on two major themes: mass media as a driver of sustainable development and economic cooperation between countries, and relations between Russia and the Islamic world viewed through the lens of information partnership. Discussions centered on issues ranging from the historical background to current and future practical steps.

The lineup of speakers included the heads of national news agencies from the Russian Federation and OIC countries, as well as the heads of major broadcasters.

Welcoming remarks were followed by a presentation about present-day cooperation in the media sphere between Russian and OIC outlets. The organizers stressed the main objective of the UNA is building bridges, and it is focused on strengthening ties between Islamic and Russian media based on shared spiritual and moral values. This is particularly relevant at a time of momentous change and movement towards a multipolar world. 

The UNA is committed to promoting information cooperation between Russia and the Islamic world. “We need to strengthen mutual understanding between us,” said Mohammed Al-Yami, director general of the Union of OIC News Agencies. “We must pursue it to help our economies and cultures flourish and safeguard the work of free and responsible media.”

“Only by working together can we push back against fake news, disinformation, and the West’s aggressive and radical rhetoric,” said Farit Mukhametshin, deputy chairman of the Russia – Islamic World Strategic Vision Group and deputy chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Federation Council of Russia.

Participants proceeded to discuss such key issues as the growing impact of Islamic media globally, results achieved by individual media companies in partnering with foreign colleagues, as well as suggestions and projects that could intensify this partnership.

Foreign guests of the forum – including those representing the Iraqi News Agency, Tunis Afrique Presse, Anadolu (Turkey), and the Islamic Center for Trade Development – showed a keen interest in the issues raised and suggestions made by speakers from outlets such as RT and RUPTLY, Russia’s first video news agency.

Maya Manna, the head of RT Arabic, called for greater engagement with university students in related fields, who she said would define our common future.

A presentation by RUPTLY, which marks its 10th anniversary this year, provided a succinct account of the success story of a startup that has become a world-class video news agency and an indispensable feature of the media landscape in Russia and abroad. This was largely achieved due to an uncompromising emphasis on new methods and technology. Another feature that sets RUPTLY apart is its willingness to cover topics ignored by mainstream Western media, and a focus on Islamic issues where they see a huge potential. In November 2022, the UNA-OIC and RUPTLY signed a cooperation agreement and are now working on further steps to strengthen ties.

The XIV International Economic Forum ‘Russia – Islamic World’ is being held in Kazan. The event is the main forum for economic cooperation between Russia and the Islamic world as it bolsters links between Russia and the OIC countries in the spheres of trade, economy, science, technology, culture, and social matters. The KazanForum receives support from the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, and the government of the Republic of Tatarstan.

Every year, thousands of people from across Russia and abroad visit the forum. Among them are businesspeople, politicians and officials, diplomats, and journalists.

The forum agenda includes regular business meetings, press conferences, and panel discussions on topics ranging from business and politics to culture and sports. It thus contributes to an open and constructive dialogue between Russia and the OIC countries within a broader context of the development of multilateral and mutually beneficial cooperation.