'Joint TV channel project to fight islamophobia'

ISTANBUL

Turkey's presidential communications director said on Friday that a joint television project between Turkey, Pakistan and Malaysia will be aimed at fighting Islamophobia.

"In fact, we will establish a strong media and communication center and channel under the umbrella of combating Islamophobia," Fahrettin Altun said in an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency on the joint TV channel project by Turkey, Malaysia and Pakistan.

He said that the television channel project is only an element of the struggle against Islamophobia or anti-Islamism and this is a profound issue, therefore, joint initiatives will not be limited to a television channel.

"Because of the sensitivity and importance of the issue, we independently think that an initiative focused on fighting Islamophobia is needed. Anti-Islamic manipulations and hateful stereotypes aimed at Muslims must also be fought in the sphere of media as well," he added.

Altun said that Islamophobia is a kind of racism and hate crime and it is reproduced repeatedly. He also added he is witnessing that politicians who cannot produce policies resort to racism and Islamophobic attitudes.

Noting the consequences of Islamophobia, Altun mentioned that if this is not prevented, it will bring violence and terror.

He went on to say that both traditional and social media play a serious role on the negative perception of Muslims, especially in the western media outlets.

"At this point, we consider this television channel project as an important opportunity to improve relations between the Islamic world and the Western world and to eliminate prejudices," he said, adding that the project also aims at raising awareness on tolerance, living together, intercultural relations.

“The mentioned initiative will also be located as a monitoring center with regard to Islamophobia. A concept that monitors the Islamophobic incidents in each country and also reveals the problems in publications is taken into consideration,” he added.

Touching on the other features of the project, Altun said, the television channel, which will be broadcasting in English, will create videos for social media platforms, produce documentaries and video-news.

The center of the intended TV channel project will probably be in Istanbul but of course its representative offices will be established in the capitals of other countries, Altun said, adding all structure required by an international TV channel will be done.

"Before our President’s [Recep Tayyip Erdogan] visit to Pakistan which is scheduled for October 23-24, we will create a framework. But I can say that we believe that an international brand will emerge here," Altun said.

He added that there will be a meeting on a technical level in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad that would be attended by the experts from Turkey, Pakistan and Malaysia.

On Monday, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that leaders of Turkey, Malaysia and Pakistan have decided to launch a TV channel.

"Our meeting in which we decided to set up a BBC type English language TV Channel that, apart from highlighting Muslim issues, will also fight Islamophobia," Khan wrote on Twitter, sharing the photographs of the meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and Khan.

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