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7th ASEF Journalists' Colloquium: Keeping The Faith: Reporting On Religion

Project Period: Contact: Department: Programme: Theme:
21 Sep 09 - 22 Sep 09 Asia-Europe Foundation ASEF Journalists' Seminar Intercommunal Dialogue

Seoul (Korea)


The fact is religion matters. Whether our societies are experiencing religious revival or decline, religious developments regularly make the news. In recent years, the media has been criticised for demonstrating a perceived tendency towards negativism and stereotyping of some religions and religious communities, and for neglecting the diversity of views and actions within these faiths. What are the roots, what should be parameters of this criticism, and how can they be addressed by the stakeholders in the media-religion relationship?

The media has an inevitable influence in portraying the role of religion in society and consequently, on the way that religious communities and actors are understood by global audiences. The media can thus be a potent force in challenging stereotyped perceptions and become a connecting channel for new ideas and perspectives. Through balanced news coverage, analysis, and debate, media practitioners can play a positive role in ensuring that a broad diversity of voices are heard on potentially divisive issues. The long-term efforts of these organisations are essential in setting the foundations of interfaith understanding and co-operation, which can protect multicultural societies in times of inter-religious tension or conflict.

??The 7th ASEM Journalist's Colloquium brought together leading media professionals and interfaith practitioners representing the key stakeholders of the media-religion relationship. Focusing on the representation of religion in the media, media and interfaith leaders had the opportunity to increase understanding and respect of one another’s perspectives and professional approaches. The discussions explored the challenges of religion reporting in terms of balanced and quality coverage, and examined new ideas and best practices for media and interfaith practitioners to meet these challenges together.

A set of recommendations resulted from this dialogue, and the findings were brought upto the 5th ASEM Interfaith Dialogue through a Working Group on Interfaith Dialogue and Communications.

ASEF's contribution is with the financial support of the European Commission.