• Short Summary

    At an international Press seminar held in London, distinguished academics and journalists have been discussing how to remove stereotyped Western ideas of the Arab world.

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    GV: Carlton Towers Hotel.

    CU: Professor Jack Shaheen of Southern Illinois University speaking to delegates.

    SCU: Dr. Walid Khadduri, Director of Information OAPEC speaking to delegates.

    TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 2: SHAHEEN: "My grandfather, like many immigrants to the United States from the Arab world, was a peasant. 'I should approach', he said to me, 'each person without the encumberment of prejudice'. It is to him I owe a great deal of gratitude. I can only wish his philosophy would be adopted by people who write and produce television programmes in my country, now that the Arab in America is in object of contempt and ridicule."

    SEQ. 3: KHADDURI:"It was only after the first major price adjustment in 1973 that OAPEC's message has been coming through in an agonising but sure way.

    The first is that prices should not be frozen for long intervals, and that they should rise gradually and annually in order to keep up with world inflation and increases in prices of other goods and services. This thesis, which was forwarded during the Abu Dhabi OAPEC meeting last December received the wrath of the highest circles in the American government, despite the impending oil shortages from Iran during that period. The new media, on its part, has filled its stories during the weeks preceding and following the OAPEC ministerial meetings with items about the impact of oil price adjustments upon all sorts of things while failing to mention in any reasonable degree of fair coverage the effect of the dollar's decline upon OAPEC's revenues or the impact of the inflationary rise in OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries upon OAPEC's import bill.

    Western mejia, for obvious political and domestic interests, is concerned with and pays particular attention to national and local problems at hand, in this case, the cost of energy. However, the synthesis between OAPEC states' oil policies and their current and future socio-economic national development fails to capture its attention. As a result, the public has very little understanding, if any, of the complex issues and interests that are involved for the two parties concerned the consumers as well as the producers.

    The second message put forward by OAPEC, and which has found not only a cursory interest in the media but also a twisted meaning, is the impact that the price revolution of 1973 has had upon energy conservation, better commercial prospects for the new and more expensive oil, and the financial viability of the increasing investments in other energy sources. Rather than synchronising these developments, to guarantee future energy supplies at manageable prices, the image projected in the west is one of a victory over OAPEC and the Arabs every time a new energy saving device is advertised or a new energy discovery announced.

    Initials RH/

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: At an international Press seminar held in London, distinguished academics and journalists have been discussing how to remove stereotyped Western ideas of the Arab world. It was felt that Western media are currently portraying Arab issues and peoples in a distorted light. Conference delegates heard Professor Jack Shaheen, of Southern Illinois University and Dr Walid Khaddir, Director of Information for OAPEC (Organisation of Arab Petroleum Export Countries) speak.

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