The Interparliamentary Conference on Human Rights and Religious Freedom Endorses Charter on Freedom of Expression and Journalistic Ethics in Relation to Respect for Religion or Belief
December 5, 2006
At the Interparliamentary Conference on Human Rights and Religious Freedom just concluded in Rome, the Charter on Freedom of Expression and Journalistic Ethics in Relation to Respect for Religion or Belief was announced, along with a new website, http://mediacharter.org/, launched to promote the charter.
The charter has, as its purpose “to provide a framework and establish standards to evaluate ethical media behavior in matters relating to religion or belief,” and it emphasizes, “...the paramount principles of freedom of expression and freedom of religion or belief and attempts to strike an appropriate balance that preserves both of these fundamental freedoms.”
In its concluding statement the conference, held at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, endorsed the media charter, encouraging “the media in every country and through international and regional journalistic associations to voluntarily adopt the Charter and to make every effort to foster religious pluralism and harmony and to set standards designed to root out expression that amounts to incitement to hatred, biased reporting and negative religious stereotyping. The Secretariat calls upon parliaments to support the principles embodied in the Charter introduced at this Conference.”
With respect to the subject of terrorism, the conference’s concluding statement was, “Where freedom of religion and belief is guaranteed and upheld by law, enforced by governments, and valued by citizens, terrorism in the name of religion will not take root. It may take advantage of a free society, but sustained support will not emerge.” and “Freedom of religion is an antidote to terrorism -- especially terrorism in the name of religion. It encourages a theological and political awareness of the need to accept and respect ‘the other.’”