Queen Rania and Media Leaders Reiterate the Need for Strategic Media to Promote Arab Women Issues

May 22, 2005

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department – Amman) “Images Speak a Thousand Words”. With this theme, opinion leaders from the media and civil society organizations, on Saturday, joined Her Majesty Queen Rania in a lively panel discussion on the important role the media should play in shaping the future reality of the Arab world.

“Media can be an instigator of change,” Queen Rania told an audience of regional and international figures and media leaders, including world-renowned US actor, Richard Gere, during the “Women and Media” session of this year’s World Economic Forum (WEF), at the Dead Sea.

Queen Rania added that it is through creative and positive endeavors that the media can influence policies.

The Queen was speaking one day following the kick-off of an Arab Media Network for Human Development, responsible for addressing Arab women’s issues through the media and changing current stereotypes affecting them, in a more strategic manner.

At the session, Queen Rania said that, in Jordan, numerous efforts and accomplishments have been made with respect to women’s participation in the development process, but change in mindsets should precede any attempt to facilitate change.

The panel included Al-Arabiya Chairman Abdul Rahman Al Rashed, Rami Khoury, editor-at-large of the Daily Star in Lebanon, Al-Hayat correspondent in New York, Raghida Durgham and Muna Abu Sulayman, program presenter at MBC.

Moderated by Maurice Levy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the French Publicis Group and, like Queen Rania, a member of WEF’s Foundation Board, the session also included a discussion on issues such as women's image in the media and ways in which it can better serve as a tool to portray women as leaders, experts and professionals. 

Al Rashed pointed out that it is society's expectations of what women should or could do that determines the image of women and therefore their portrayal in the Media.

Khoury said, "We should live up to our history of social dignity, social respect and religious pluralism. These are deeply engrained values in our society", emphasizing the need for an integrated approach to tackle not just women's issues but political challenges at large. "We need to change the political reality and redefine citizenship. It is a political process and the media plays a great deal in pushing the process forward," he added.

Richard Gere and Maurice Levy agreed that the media should not reflect reality but set the stage for new realities, stating that, through imagination and creativity, we will set new trends in the world.

Summing up the discussion, Queen Rania emphasized that the tools are in place to enable us to accelerate the change process and that the media should be employed more strategically to provide the right attitude, project the right content and therefore set the grounds for the right changes.