1100 GMT April 21, 2018
Mohammad Khodadi, in his message on Monday to a two-day media conference on civilization and dialogue held in the Lebanese capital Beirut, urged the world media to remain committed to ethical principles.
The world media need to revise their approaches and policies, he said.
Full text of the message by the IRNA chief follows:
First of all, I'd like to express my gratitude to the National News Agency of Lebanon for holding this conference. I apologize for missing the conference due to its coincidence with the first day of Iranian new year, Nowruz.
On the topic of the panel, I believe today people make a huge effort to develop their relations and ease their loneliness.
They apply knowledge and implement technology to reach that goal. The reason is that human beings believe that closer relations would provide them with faster development and better life.
Such theories as 'formation of the global village', 'elimination of the borders' and 'unification of the currencies' have their roots in the mentioned belief.
But, relations would improve faster if they are cultivated on the basis of correct information.
On the contrary, whenever the links are established on account of incorrect information, human beings have faced major problems with their interactions.
Several elements can influence the quality of relations among people of different faiths. One important element is the religious belief. Daesh, also known as ISIS, comes from religious radicalism, an incorrect understanding that serves the interest of the enemies of Islam -- an understanding that tarnishes true image of Islam which is based on mercy and kindness.
Today, ISIS does not decapitate people to kill them, but to create a violent image of Islam. Unfortunately, the media sometimes publish reports of those monstrous acts on a regular basis and ignore their professional responsibility to avoid serving the needs of those who want to promote violence and hatred.
So, we recognize both 'religion' and 'the need for relations among people' as the influential realities of our societies.
The media can adopt the role of 'information bridge' to find and publish the common grounds among people of different faiths. All divine religions promote at least three similar objectives, namely, monotheism, peaceful coexistence, and hope.
All religions oppose poverty and discrimination, while all of them support justice.
On the basis of these common grounds, Hindus and Muslims have coexisted in India and the Shias and Sunnis have peacefully lived together for centuries in Pakistan, Iran and many other countries.
Since the media have to gather, process and publish information, the question here, is that 'have the mass media carried out an admirable job?'
Why bad news is breaking news? Are the media themselves aware of the common grounds among people of different faiths? What percentage of our news products promotes peace and what percentage of them promotes hatred? How many reports are written in line with the public interests and how many reports are written in agreement with interest of the governments? What percentage of the media is willing to favor peace and justice over financial resources?
We, the media, obviously need a revision in our approaches and policies. The existing pattern of highlighting bad news will change one day, but the sooner it changes the better, because the existence of the media is threatened by the social networks. Good news makes up a big majority of the news stories in the social networks and that shows the emerging trend among the people; People advocate peace.
Promotion of peace is consistent with our professional responsibilities. I hope this conference will help promote coexistence and develop empathy among people of the world and especially among Muslims.
I also hope we can host you, honored guests, in Iran and discuss this important issue in the future.
If you help God, he will help you and make you steadfast.