Interfaith and the Media

rel-mediaInterfaith practitioners recognise the impact of the media on public opinion and their critical relationship to peace and harmony, interfaith and intercultural understanding, nation building, social cohesion and social responsibility.

Media literacy programmes in schools are needed to help develop a discerning and critical approach to news coverage about religions by media consumers.

Faith communities need to engage with the media, build relationships, provide them with news and information and enter into dialogue with them, provide journalists and media researchers with training in interfaith and inter-cultural understanding along with exchange programs in the region.

Faith leaders need to acquire skills and competency training to assist them to communicate effectively with and through the modern media, and provide resources for media outlets to train reporters in religious issues.

Successive Regional Interfaith Dialogues have called for the development and provision of training for media managers, journalists and journalism students on religious and cultural diversity, in partnership with interfaith experts and national and international media organisations; and encourage the development and review of codes of conduct and standards for the exercise of media freedom with responsibility; and support the establishment and strengthening of processes of dialogue among media executives , journalism trainers and religious and interfaith leaders.

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Interfaith and Grassroots Initiatives

Promotion of Interfaith dialogue at the grassroots level serves as an instrument to promote sustainable livelihoods and community cohesiveness or unity, thus, becoming the basis of civil society to promote the democratization process.

Harmony, cooperation and understanding are enhanced by exchanges between people (e.g. youth, students, teachers, religious leaders, academics) of different faiths, within and between countries, and at the grassroots communal levels. Such exchanges deepen inter-cultural understanding, and promote community values.

Interfaith activities help communities to learn more about each other through informal settings such as community gatherings, festivals, sporting events or projects.

Grassroots interfaith cooperation lays a powerful foundation for aid and assistance in critical community concerns in our region such as poverty, HIV, human rights, environmental issues and natural disasters.

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Interfaith and Education

iekidsThe Yogyakarta Regional Interfaith Dialogue stated, “We are of the view that the promotion of a culture of peace and acceptance based on relationships of justice should be promoted through education as a way to enrich dialogue.”

Successive Dialogues have expanded the role of Education in Interfaith: “that education at all levels and in various contexts can play a significant role in promoting interfaith understanding and cooperation;” education about religions in the curricula of all schools, the bringing together of educationalists to develop curricula to promote interfaith understanding and human rights from religious perspectives.

Regional Interfaith Dialogues have raised the importance of, and commitment to the collection and dissemination of best practice educational interfaith resources and activities in the region.

The aim is to educate the following groups of individuals:

  • Schools – Primary and Secondary school students
  • Undergraduate and Post-graduate students
  • Religious and Spiritual Leaders (as well as Intrafaith Education)
  • Community Groups (including youth and women, future interfaith leaders)

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Interfaith and Women

ladiesRegional Interfaith Dialogues have affirmed the increase of gender diversity in Interfaith activities. The work of women in sharing, participation, humanitarian initiatives, development and peace-building is expanding.

Interfaith practitioners believe that all human beings have moral, spiritual and intellectual capacities which could be best developed towards the attainment of human dignity.

Education at all levels and in various contexts can play a significant role in promoting interfaith understanding and cooperation. The contribution of women in religious and faith communities is increasing, and cements the non-formal and informal education in human and religious values which provides the foundations for peace and harmony, cooperation and respect in society and culture.

Regional Interfaith Dialogue recommends the development of mechanisms by which the role of women in interfaith activity can be further recognised, including through the establishment of women’s interfaith forums and by providing training and support.

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Interfaith and Conflict Resolution

Interfaith Dialogue seeks to strengthen collaborative religious structures and networks for developing conflict resolution skills, innovative practices and proactive attitudes in areas of intercommunal conflict and the sharing of case studies of effective examples of responding to violence.

The Regional Interfaith Dialogues have promoted research on perceptions of conflict, training for religious and spiritual leaders in conflict resolution and peace-building, sharing of case studies and the promotion of the existing traditions of peacemaking and conflict resolution found within the different faith and indigenous traditions.

Opportunities for interaction, exchange and development of relations strengthen faith communities and provide useful foundations for interaction in times of stress, disaster and and peace.

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