Shahenda Atef Abdel-Salam, an Egyptian university professor, decided to embark on writing and to participate in the Cairo International Book Fair this year with a thorny book.
The journalism teacher at the Faculty of Information, Beni Suef University, south of Cairo, entered the Cairo Book Fair this year with a book on sectarian, ethnic and sectarian conflicts and the international news agencies’ coverage of them.
According to a report prepared by the International Crisis Group, 6 out of the 10 most prominent conflicts in the world during 2022 are located within or at the borders of the Middle East region, as the report indicated that the conflicts between Israel and Palestine, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Iran, and the spread of terrorism in the countries of the Sahel and Sahara In Africa, it occupies the top of the list of the most prominent conflicts during 2022, in addition to the hot conflicts in Ukraine, Myanmar, and the conflict in Haiti.
Al-Ain News interviewed Abdel Salam to reveal the role of the media in dealing with these conflicts, and tells us about its academic assessment of the reality of the media in general and how to confront plagiarism, and to the text of the dialogue..
Why did you choose this particular field?
Because it is a vital topic and touches the past, present and future of the Arab region and the Middle East, and because we in the Arab world and the Middle East are confined within these conflicts and our view does not see beyond them in the horizon of science, knowledge and peace.
And because international news agencies are the long arm of the flow and broadcast of information around the world.
Are you talking about the Arab region only in the book?
The book includes other areas that are not within the borders of the Arab region, such as areas where minorities live, or where sectarian, ethnic and sectarian conflicts exist, such as some areas in Iran.
What conclusions did you reach in the end?
The study presented in the book reached several results, including: There were 38 major events in the Middle East in the period from 2014-2017, and the total news of sectarian issues in the four agencies under study was 2795 news distributed from the year 2014-2017.
Ethnic news came in second place, with 2463 stories and stories published in the news agencies under study on Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran.
Sectarian news came in third place, with 816 repetitions of news and news stories related to sectarian issues between Muslims and Christians.
What are the media that focused so much on sectarian conflicts?
Reuters ranked first in terms of media focus on the three issues under study, recording 2143 repetitions, which indicates the magnitude of Reuters coverage of Middle East news.-
Anadolu Agency came in second place in terms of the number of news coverage of the three issues under study, with 1867 iterations, and United Press Agency came in third place in terms of news coverage of the three issues under study, with 1052 iterations.--
The Iranian IRNA agency ranked fourth in terms of news and media focus on the issues under study, as the number of its coverage came to 1012 iterations, including coverage of sectarian, ethnic and sectarian issues from 2014 to 2017, and it was the most focused and biased.
How can the influence of the media be dealt with and directed to the public interest instead of provoking sectarian and ethnic conflicts?
It is not possible to deal with the media radically or to direct it completely, but we can make a media for us that goes along with our interests.
Here, I am not talking about political or economic interests only, but intellectual interests first, because the consolidation of correct thought and rational critical thinking takes precedence over sectarian, ethnic and sectarian conflicts, and it is the beginning of solving the problem, but this requires long decades of consolidation of this thought through various media platforms directed to all age groups of the masses. And intellectual and social through scientifically systematic programs, whether for children, young people, or even the elderly, to correct concepts, untangle the knot between what is religious, what is political, and what is human, and sow the seeds of awareness of the roles of hostile media in destabilizing peoples and nations.
Are you generally satisfied with the level of notification?
I am not satisfied with the level of the media because it does not care about thought, culture and science. Rather, it cares about creating trends and hot news such as the yellow newspapers, as it is a media that relies on unconsciousness.
And if we want an effective media that builds and does not destroy; We must pay attention to everything that establishes freedom of opinion and thought.
Do you find a difference between Arab and Western media?
Of course, there are differences between the Arab and Western media, so we find that the Western media is more advanced and uses modern technology in accessing, broadcasting and communicating information to the recipient by all means, and it is also a more professional media in terms of protecting the interests of those who finance this huge media machine.
While some Arab media platforms lack professionalism, speed, or transparency in presenting information.
What are your future plans for writing?
In the future, I dream of writing about culture and thought in general, and the media in particular, because it is my area of specialization.
Do you think there is respect for intellectual property among writers?
There is a large number of the public and writers who do not know about the freedom of intellectual property. For example, the phenomenon of counterfeit books is a serious phenomenon that threatens the field of publishing, authorship and translation in general.
Do you think that reading books is a habit that is about to disappear?
I always see that reading paper books has its own mood, splendor, and splendor, and it has a special kind of warmth that reading sends to the heart and mind, but we must keep pace with modern technology, especially in raising our children, so we can combine for them different means of reading, such as paper reading or reading through the Kindle. for example.