By Cam McGrath
CAIRO, Apr 7, 2011 (IPS) - Exhaustive media coverage of the wave of popular revolts sweeping the Middle East and North Africa has helped to dispel myths and stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims, and foster better cultural understanding, media experts said during a conference in Cairo on Wednesday.
"In covering the events that unfolded in Egypt and Tunisia, and are happening now in many other Arab countries… the media was able to build bridges that politicians were unable to achieve over many years," said Amr Moussa, secretary-general of the Arab League. "Their imagery has helped create rapprochement between Arabs and the West."
The conference, a forum on 'A New Era for Arab-West Relations', explored the implications of social transformation in the Arab region and the potential for enhancing intercultural dialogue. Participating journalists and members of civil society highlighted the role of media in bridging the gaps in mutual perceptions between the Arab world and the West.