LAHORE - The three-day international conference titled “Freedom of Expression: Global Politics of Expressions” concluded at a local hotel yesterday.

Media scholars from four continents, Asia, Europe, Africa and America promoted the message of religious tolerance and interfaith harmony.

The conference had been organised by Punjab University Institute of Communication Studies. US professor Clifford G Christian, Norwegian Prof Dr Elizabeth Eide, Brazilian media expert Dr Fernando Resende, PU VC Dr Mujahid Kamran and a large number of researchers were present on the occasion.

Dr Mujahid said the spiritual diversity of the mankind expressed in the form of diversified religions must be protected, which has been under assault relentlessly from the last 150 years and so. “That assault is well coordinated and now probably due to internet people are waking up due to the information. Now the problem is weapons of mass destruction and if man does not take support from the spirituality we will be vanished like fossils of dinosaur,” he said.

The VC urged the youth to be open minded and open hearted as well as due to this open mindedness greater things come to happen.

Dr Fernando the conference in very subtle but intense manner put together people from Brazil, Malaysia, UK, US and Pakistan and from all around the world on one platform to share idea and interest. “The conference has done its job of breaking geographical barriers and holding horizontal conversations,” he said.

Dr Elizabeth Eide lauded the efforts of ICS management and specially the eager youth and students of the institution. “Don’t overdo respect. I have not seen a single piece not worthy of improvement” She added.

American Scholar Dr Clifford said destination of harmony could be achieved through knowledge and research. “Listening to one another and presenting out point of view with logic could promote the freedom of speech and expression,” he said.

“We are living in the world where freedom of expression is contextual, rational, subjective and multi-dimensional. The three days of conference were about humanity, dignity and understanding of others with care by empathizing them,” Dr Bushra said.

Later the vice chancellor gave away shields and certificates to keynote speakers, ICS faculty. The concluding session was followed by a Sufi Night and farewell dinner at the local hotel.

Earlier in the day during the session “Converging Ethics for Glocal Harmony” speakers were of the view that ‘Glocalization’ under the umbrella of ‘Globalization’ would help mold local conditions, customs and values to bring them in sync with global culture.

The plenary session was moderated by former BBC Broadcaster Shahid Malik while British journalist and writer Yvonne Ridley, Lahore School of Economics Prof Dr. Sajjad Naseer, Dr. Munawar A Anees, former law minister Ahmer Bilal Soofi were the keynote speakers.

Yvonne Ridley in her paper said that freedom and liberty in the West was something of an illusion. “No wonder there is a tidal wave of anger engulfing sections of the Muslim world”. She suggested the only way forward now is through dialogue.

She said it was time for less, not more extremism. “The politicians and media editors should insist the right to free speech but with freedom of speech and expression comes responsibility,” she concluded.

Prof Sajjad said there were lot problems with the ethics in the developing countries that need to be focused. “Ethics problems are there and inducting ‘globalization forces’ which will add to the already problematic situation and the future seems to be murky in this regard.”

Dr. Munawer A. Anees throwing light on the topic said that Islam can be rightly credited as a trendsetter in interfaith harmony. “Therefore the search for a common core for human moral action must remain the focus of our relentless quest for harmony,” he opined.

Ahmer Bilal said, “freedom of expression is our training of intellectual thinking, by this one express and evolves new ideas and perceptions. Freedom of expression needs to be developed day by day with passage of time but whatever obstructs progress, should not be freedom of expression.” As many as 15 research papers were presented on the final day of the conference.