This session began with Moderator Ms. Kaoru Nemoto saying that “Cross-cultural understanding is crucial. However, today in 2015, even 70 years after the end of World War II and the establishment of the United Nations, we are still seeing lamentable incidents, such as the Charlie Hebdo shooting and the Syrian Civil War.” Panelists gave their points of view on such disputes and conflicts, which arise from differences in values and beliefs.
Ms. Moneeza Hashmi: “There are terrorist incidents and religious conflicts happening in Pakistan, too. The key to stopping them is dialogue. By ensuring various voices are heard, dialogue should be promoted. In addition, when an incident happens, the media should explain its context, why it has happened, instead of just reporting who is responsible for it.”
Mr. Carlos Eduardo Smith Rovira: “In Colombia, after a half-century of civil war between the government and rebel groups, a peace agreement is finally going to be signed. However, some children have grown up with the war, and perceive fighting as the norm. In such circumstances, one role of producers should be to convey the truth in simple terms and pave the way toward peace. In fact, in Colombia, TV programs often cover sensitive issues, such as child soldiers and abduction.”
Ms. Jacqueline Hlongwane: “South Africa has a dark history of racism under apartheid. Despite the fact that apartheid was abolished in 1994, racism is still rampant today – in recent years, often in the form of the exclusion of immigrants. However, it is difficult to interest schoolchildren in learning the history and culture of their own country. Despite this lack of interest, it is important to teach history to children, to avoid repeating the same mistakes.”
Mr. Francois Bertrand: “In January 2015, the editors of a French weekly satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were murdered by Islamic extremists. Since then, public opinion in France has been polarized, but in order to have a nuanced public discussion, it’s important to be able to show gray areas. Media are influential in various ways. They can connect people, but at the same time they can divide people. Therefore producers must use media responsibly for the improvement of society.”