Adviser and Chairman of Arab Human Rights Commission in the Arab League, Mohamed al-Dhahi, said that Qatar looks forward to the future by organising the two-day international conference entitled ‘Social Media: Challenges and Ways to Promote Freedoms and Protect Activists’ and wished Qatar success in this field.
This came in a statement made by al-Dhahi on the sidelines of the Arab Human Rights Commission’s honouring of former member of the commission, Jaber al-Marri, in the period between 2015-2019, in the presence of HE the Chairman of the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) Dr Ali bin Smaikh al-Marri.
Al-Dhahi explained that Qatar is one of the countries that support the Arab Human Rights Commission and is making great progress in different fields, expressing his hope that the Gulf crisis will end soon.
He stressed that technology plays a pivotal role in current societies, and it is imposing a new reality that requires those with responsibility to take proactive measures towards it in the sense that governments have future scenarios through which future prospects can be anticipated, so that attention is paid to the positives that technology provides to society on one hand and address the negatives on the other.
In this context, he stressed the importance of caring for the future generation and instilling a culture of human rights in them, such as the inclusion of principles related to human rights in modern educational means. Children today and the new generation in general have a developed open mindset and technology is widely available and accessible to them, he added.
He noted the need for countries in the region to be keen on the competition for development and not wait for technology to reach it, keeping pace with development is important and essential to identify the positives and address the negatives. He pointed out that the convening of the conference at the present time comes in light of the circumstances in which attention is being paid to the issue of social media and the challenges it imposes on the ground.
He pointed out that the commission supports freedom of opinion and expression, and hopes that there will be binding laws from all countries regarding the rights of opinion and expression, whether through the United Nations and regional organisations, in order to give human rights activists a greater and wider dimension provided that it guaranteed no interference in personal matters, but rather that useful matters are considered and work to avoid negative matters. Al-Dhahi noted that in the past few years, Arab countries went through the stages of the Arab Spring, which led to the change of some concepts, laws and governments, and that he hopes that the issue of social media will be taken into account. It is an internationally advanced mechanism with an accelerating growth.
He stressed the need for social media activists to investigate the accuracy and credibility of their reporting and opinions, given the negative consequences of the news that expose the person to take legal responsibility for which they may be held accountable.
He stated that the work of the commission differs from international instruments, as the commission intervened in many issues related to political, civil and economic rights, and the commission also notes and provides its recommendations in this regard. Regarding communication with the UN, he noted that there is no particular provision for this matter, but the commission is adopting the principle of freedom of opinion and expression as the most comprehensive concept for all matters as an umbrella for the issue of social communication.
He hoped that this communication will be used for the better, and that mechanisms will be found to protect social media activists and be adopted by the Arab League.