Gulf states work on image makeover

US-allied Gulf Arab states have agreed to launch a joint media campaign to improve their image abroad.

    The GCC states decided to use television to improve their image

    The six states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) said on Tuesday that the plan includes television programmes for the region calling for religious coexistence and shunning violence.

       

    The agreement follows a counter-terrorism pact signed by the oil-rich GCC states in May to share intelligence in the face of rising threats and to dry up sources of terror funding.

       

    GCC Secretary-General Abd al-Rahman al-Attiya said after ministerial talks that the agreement also called for holding Gulf cultural days in Europe to spread understanding about the region and its people.

       

    Projects would show a positive image abroad of Gulf Cooperation Council states, the information ministers of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain said.

       

    Battles

     

    Saudi Arabia is in the grip of a
    low-level insurgency

    Regional power Saudi Arabia is battling Muslim insurgents who have waged an

    18-month campaign of violence against foreigners and government targets in the world's largest oil exporter.

       

    Other Gulf Arab states, such as Bahrain and Kuwait, have also arrested suspected insurgents.

       

    After the 11 September 2001 attacks, in which most of the hijackers were Saudis, Washington complained that the Saudi educational system fostered hatred of the West in young people.

     

    Anti-US anger

       

    Popular anger at the United States is rife in the region over perceived US support for Israel, the US-led invasion of Iraq and what many see as a campaign against Islam in the West after the 11 September 2001 attacks on US cities.

       

    "We cannot fight this terrorism ... without standing together"

    Muhammad Abu al-Hasan,
    Kuwaiti information minister

    The GCC ministers discussed plans by regional media "to produce many educational programmes calling for coexistence and renouncing violence in addition to social programmes, children's educational and scientific programmes and cartoons.

       

    "We cannot fight this terrorism ... without standing together," Kuwaiti Information Minister Muhammad Abu al-Hasan said.

       

    He told the meeting that the media could help defend Arabs and Islam against "fierce attacks ... some of which exploit international affairs to harm our civilisation and culture".

    SOURCE: Reuters


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