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Building Peace in the Minds of Men and Women
Updated: 1 hour 42 min ago

Arab media experts embrace UNESCO’s Media Development Indicators

Thu, 10/04/2014 - 16:46

The three-day workshop focused on UNESCO’s Media Development Indicators (MDIs), a tool for assessing media development in a given country that can identify areas in which assistance is most needed. The associated Journalists’ Safety Indicators were also introduced.

Participants in last week’s workshop praised the rigor and breadth of the MDI framework, which they said could provide a valuable tool for media research and development in the Arab region.

The MDIs “provide an excellent opportunity for gathering information that is badly needed in this part of the world,” said Nabil Dajani, Professor of Media Studies at the American University in Beirut. “I have been trying for years to collect such information. With this approach you can come out with facts, with information that is really relevant and that will help develop the media situation in the Arab world.”

Dima Dabbous, Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Arts at the Lebanese American University, agreed, calling the MDIs a “wonderful way of measuring or mapping progress” through a common methodology that can be used by researchers in different countries.

Both participants also saw the MDIs as a pedagogical method that they could bring to their university courses to train future media researchers.

For Mohammed Abdulrahman, Partners and Intenational Development Coordinator at Radio Netherlands Worldwide, the training workshop was “vitally important” for his work in developing partnerships with media organizations in the Arab region, by providing a way to assess the strengths and needs of potential partners.

The workshop also allowed participants to exchange with other researchers with shared interests from across the region.

“I will leave this conference not only having learned more about the MDIs themselves, but also with a large network of Arab professionals with whom I can connect later on to do more research in this common field,” said Dabbous.

In addition to the benefits to the participants, the workshop was also strategically important for UNESCO’s ongoing work to promote freedom of expression and media development in the Arab region.

MDI-based assessments have been completed in 11 countries and are currently underway in 18 others. In the Arab region, such assessments have been completed in Egypt and Tunisia, are underway in Iraq, Libya and Palestine, and are planned in several other countries.

 “Through this regional workshop, UNESCO was able to achieve two important objectives,” said Saorla McCabe, coordinator of the MDI initiative. “Firstly, it allowed us to build a pool of potential partners for future MDI-based assessments in the Arab region, comprising high-level media researchers with excellent knowledge of the region. Secondly, we could fine-tune the Organization’s approach to applying the MDIs in this particular context, through an interactive discussion on the most appropriate research methods and data sources, challenges and opportunities.”

The workshop was supported by two regional extrabudgetary projects: Promoting an Enabling Environment for Freedom of Expression: Global Action with Special Focus on the Arab Region, financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and Promoting Freedom of Expression in Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen, financed by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.

UNESCO’s Media Development Indicators were endorsed by the Intergovernmental Council of UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) in 2008.

They have since been recognized internationally by major actors in the media development field, including the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank, the Council of Europe, the International Federation of Journalists, International Media Support, the Media Foundation for West Africa and the Doha Centre for Media Freedom.

Training on digital security for Tunisian journalists

Thu, 10/04/2014 - 16:38

The workshops aimed at sensitizing journalists about challenges they face regarding the security of their communications and their sources. Participants have been equipped with tools and techniques enabling them to secure their Internet browsing, to protect themselves against intrusions into their computer and email as well as to enhance the security of their digital data.

“Computers of some participants have been infected by more than 130 viruses. I had never seen such serious cases during my career,” said Bahaa Nasr, trainer from IWPR. One of the participant stated, “I realize now to which extent my computer and my data have been vulnerable, and the risk to which I subject all my newsroom colleagues.

This project is being implemented in the framework of the UNESCO’s work conducted in Tunisia since the Revolution of 14 January 2011. It aims at enhancing the safety of journalists working in Tunisia, particularly female journalists, and at promoting freedom of expression in order to support the undergoing process of transition towards democracy.

The training workshops were made possible through financial support of Finland, and in cooperation with the Reporters without Borders Office in Tunis and the Tunisian Centre for Press Freedom.

UNESCO partners with Media Council of Kenya to train journalists on gender sensitive reporting

Wed, 09/04/2014 - 17:12

The training, which brought together 20 participants (11 men and 8 women), was a second in the series of workshops aimed at building capacities of Kenyan journalists to report on gender sensitive issues in order to promote women leadership in counties’ governments. These trainings also have for objective to promote more diverse and gender-sensitive media and to increase the overall professional capacity of journalists in Kenya.

The training in Nyeri County equipped participants with skills necessary to prepare gender-balanced reports and to focus on the importance of gender issues for development. “The training made me understand how cultural stereotypes have side-lined women as media sources and subjects, presenting them as victims while they do have positive stories and ideas to share with the public,” stated Seth Mwaniki a participant from The People newspaper.

According to Carol Nderi, a journalist working for the Kenya Television Network (KTN), the constitution stipulates the need for public involvement in the county government. The emphasis has, therefore, be placed on the empowerment of women and the youth as sources and subjects of news stories.

Florence Mwaniki, a participant from Kangema Ranet, said, “The fact that the counties have only few women as representatives is due to the little coverage given to women candidates by the local media during the last year’s elections.” “Media need to change this perspective for the upcoming elections,” she added.

The training was based on the Media Monitoring Reports 2013 issued by the country’s Media Council as well as UNESCO studies, such as Getting the balance right: gender equality in journalism, showing that women are rarely considered as credible news sources and have to struggle to receive coverage and legitimacy in the eyes of media and the public at large.

This activity was supported by the UN Joint Programme on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment in Kenya.

BBC event discusses UN action plan on journalists’ safety

Tue, 08/04/2014 - 11:18

He was speaking at a symposium in London on 7 April, hosted by BBC Global News and the Centre for Freedom of the Media, called ‘Making the Protection of Journalists A Reality: Time to end Impunity’.

Horrocks countered reservations in the media about proactive engagement on safety issues, adding that “major news organizations have a special responsibility to show leadership”.

Other speakers also made reference to the UN Plan, including the Director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, Joel Simon. He said that the UN had made a high level commitment to the safety of journalists, and that defined progress was needed if this was to be more than public relations.

Speaking at the symposium, the UNESCO Director of Freedom of Expression and Media Development, Guy Berger, noted increasing momentum in the UN. He pointed to:

The BBC symposium included a protest (pictured above) led by Peter Horrocks, which was staged in front of the BBC building, and called for the release of journalists on trial and an end to impunity for the killers of journalists.

Reporters Sans Frontiers Director Christof Deloire criticised states that “protect their image more than protecting journalists.” Other speakers described conditions in several regions, noting that some governments sought to protect their image by persecuting journalists – an action that paradoxically harmed their image even more.

Further discussion addressed how court rulings, although often slow to secure, could set precedents to assist the safety of journalists. Also addressed was the importance of supporting families of killed journalists especially given their leading role in securing justice for their slain relatives.

Cherilyn Ireton, Director of the World Editors Forum, said it was time to move the story of safety of journalists from the news rooms to the news pages.

UNESCO partners with European Commission to launch European Media and Information Literacy Forum

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 10:08

The citizens of the 21st Century live in a digital, connected and media saturated world. Cultural and religious exchange, peace among nations and efforts to eliminate inequalities are all mediated by media and technology.

Faced with the choice between privacy and safety on the Internet, between freely expressing themselves and to ethically use information, the media and technology - women, men and young boys and girls need new types competencies.

Media and information literacy (MIL) offers these competencies. Education for all must therefore include media and information literacy for all.

This European  MIL Forum is being organised within the frame of the Global Alliance for Partnerships on MIL and will bring together experts, teachers, media, information and technology professionals, industry, schools,  audio-visual authorities, researchers,  foundations, civil society organizations as well as political and regulatory authorities with the aim to promote the need for national MIL policies in Europe and globally.

The main objective of the forum is to contribute to the proposal of recommendations for the inclusion of Media and Information Literacy in European school curricula and the development of initiatives in the field of informal education and education for disadvantaged groups.

The findings of the European Media Education Research (EMEDUS) and the COST/Translit projects, both supported by the European Commission, will be presented during the Forum.

Resulting from in-depth research in 27 European countries, the EMEDUS project has proposed recommendations to improve MIL among the citizens of the region. This conference will foster debate in order to discuss and readjust recommendations.

The event will also enable discussion about the creation of a collaborative platform that constitutes the European Chapter of the Global Alliance for Partnership on MIL.  

To participate, please register through the Conference website by 28 April.

UNESCO contributes to Internet conference in Toronto

Wed, 02/04/2014 - 11:19

Berger highlighted the normative work of the UN system in regard to threats to human rights online, and encouraged delegates to participate in the current UNESCO comprehensive study on the Internet.

The importance of privacy for journalistic sources was highlighted in his remarks, as well as the way UNESCO’s constitution links the securing of peace to freedom of expression.

“The conference discussions ranged through cyberwarfare, surveillance, data security, and Internet governance models, as well as digital defence for human rights defenders,” said Berger.

“My contribution was to highlight the UN context as part of a holistic perspective of digital defence, and as underpinning factors such as individual digital literacy, policies for human rights and media organizations, and the role of Internet intermediaries and governments.”

The UNESCO official also met with members of IFEX, the international network defending and promoting freedom of expression to discuss World Press Freedom Day, and the International Day of Action to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.

Berger’s remarks are available here.

UNESCO office in Rabat releases two new publications on freedom of information

Mon, 31/03/2014 - 15:54

The study on the right to access public information provides an important update on recent developments in the implementation of freedom of information (FOI) laws and good practices worldwide. Through a brief history of the recent international and national contexts, the publication promotes international standards on FOI legislation and showcases experiences that contributed to more fully materialize the benefits of this right around the world, including by referring to civil society advocacy actions. The study is intended to serve as a source of guidelines for policy-making and public officials who have to implement FOI legislation in a given country, as well as a reference tool for FOI advocates in general.

This publication also highlights the link between access to information and the promotion of women’s rights and gender equality. By making reference to different cases, it shows that public bodies hold information of critical importance for women’s lives, related, for instance, to education, health, access to social programmes, loan opportunities and income-generating activities. Enhanced access to this type of information can positively impact on their well-being and participation in the public sphere. Furthermore, the study explores how access to information held by government can help expose cases of violation of women’s rights.

In Morocco, very few persons beyond those involved in civil society advocacy or government know about the right to access public information, its direct connection to people's needs and its utility for further accountability, social justice and the fight against corruption. Following the recognition of the right to information in the 2011 Moroccan Constitution, discussions regarding the enactment of a FOI law are ongoing, and fostering widespread knowledge about this right is crucial.

Produced with the specific Moroccan context in mind, the guide Access to information is our right provides general information about FOI as a universal right, as well as more practical details on the means to access public information in Morocco. In addition, the publication includes recommendations addressed to different stakeholders, seeking to ensure that freedom of information is effectively guaranteed in Morocco, as well as some good practices or success stories related to this topic.

Mobile empowered youth will resolve issues of sustainable development

Fri, 28/03/2014 - 16:15

Within the framework of the new and innovative YouthMobile Initiative, UNESCO conducted a global search and invited experts from 15 initiatives from 12 countries to share their training materials, critical success factors, and the challenges of scaling to national levels.

The UNESCO YouthMobile Initiative aims to directly engage young people—with particular attention to young women—to acquire the high-level skills and confidence to develop, promote, and sell mobile applications.

By 2017, UNESCO is seeking to train over 25,000 young people to release at least 5,000 mobile applications especially for areas of sustainable development. The YouthMobile Strategy has 3 stages:

  1. Identify the best, existing, openly-licensed training materials;
  2. Work with Ministries of Education, Youth, and Employment to integrate the training materials; and
  3. Launch the 1st Global List of Mobile Apps Competitions

To identify the best, existing training materials in mobile applications development for young people, UNESCO conducted a global search and applied a rigorous Assessment Criteria to identify the best training providers. The following training providers were invited to the Experts Meeting to share best practices and plan the way forward:

  1. Women in Technology, Uganda
  2. m:Lab East Africa / eMobilis, Kenya
  3. Nairobi Dev School, Kenya
  4. The MASH Project, India
  5. FOSSASIA, Vietnam
  6. Technovation, USA
  7. Apps For Good, England
  8. Esprit, Tunisia
  9. AppInventor.MIT.EDU, USA
  10. AllDevCamp, Cote d'Ivoire
  11. Mozilla / Appmaker, USA
  12. Orange, France
  13. Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa, Côte D’Ivoire

“We wanted to assess their training programmes, and to work out the pathways for scaling up their program to national levels in order to reach critical mass of students,” said Mr Abel Caine, Programme Specialist in the Knowledge Societies’ Division and the project’s co-leader. “Each of these training providers only engages about 200 students at a time, while we’re aiming for viable strategies to reach many thousands of students at a time.”

Mr Davide Storti, Programme Specialist in the UNESCO Knowledge Societies Division and co-lead on the YouthMobile Initiative identifies the lack of scaling opportunities as a crucial UNESCO contribution. “What none of them have are the contacts and resources that we have at UNESCO with Ministries of Educations, Science, Culture, Youth, Labour, and ICT as well as teacher training institutions, Consultative NGOs, and specialist networks such as the ASP Network of Schools.”

The Experts Meeting opened with a captivating presentation by Dr. Indrajit Banerjee, Director of the UNESCO Knowledge Societies Division in which he stressed the importance of ICT and Open Solutions for sustainable development.

The experts delivered a series of presentations on their initiatives and engaged in spirited dialogue, brainstorming, and collaboration on how to identify the ideal mobile app training material as well as ways to integrate these training materials into formal and informal teaching and learning environments.

Among the experts participating in the meeting was Ms Barbara Birungi, Director of the Women in Technology Initiative (WITU) from Uganda who praised the UNESCO initiative. “Over 51% of the population of Uganda is youth, with a lot of unemployment. There are a high number of mobile phones coming in so I see a possibility of YouthMobile contributing to solving the unemployment problem in Uganda.”

Ken Mwenda, Managing Director of eMobilis, Kenya said “For us, it is a really exciting space to be in because young people are able to solve problems in their local communities, creating locally relevant apps. And hopefully also create entrepreneurial ventures that help them employ others.”
The Experts Meeting contributed to the global celebrations for the 2014 International Women’s Day and Open Education Week.

Next steps for UNESCO include organizing country or regional workshops to gain insight from a wide range of stakeholders, and to present comprehensive plans to Governments.

Reaching New Goals: World Press Freedom Day focuses on sustainable development goals

Fri, 28/03/2014 - 12:09

Every year, the World Press Freedom Day, which falls on 3 May, reminds us the need to create a free, independent and pluralistic media environment. This year’s celebration focuses on the global theme “Reaching New Goals: Free media fortifies the post-2015 Development Agenda”.

The conference itself will focus on the interrelated issues of the role of free media in strengthening good governance and sustainable development, the safety of journalists as a prerequisite element of the rule of law, access to information and transparency.

World Press Freedom Day, which is celebrated in about 100 countries globally, will highlight the need to include freedom of speech and access to independent media and information in post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.

The annual UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize ceremony will take place on 2 May 2014 at UNESCO Headquarters.

The event registration page, concept note, tentative agenda and other general information are available online at

80 media projects benefit from IPDC grant of US$ 1,4 million

Wed, 26/03/2014 - 15:08

Forty-two percent of the funding targeted Africa – a region that UNESCO treats as a ‘global priority’. In comparison, 23,5% of the funds will support projects in the Asia-Pacific as well as the Latin-American and Caribbean regions while 10% was earmarked for the Arab region. European project support represents one percent of the budget envelope.  

An additional allocation of US$ 20,000 was provided to support the application of the UNESCO/IPDC Journalists’ Safety Indicators (JSIs), a subset of UNESCO’s Media Development Indicators (MDIs) designed to assess the level of journalists’ safety in a given country. The purpose of the tool is also to measure the actions undertaken by various stakeholders in promoting safety and tackling the impunity of crimes committed against media workers. As such, it will help evaluate progress in the implementation of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.  

The IPDC Bureau also set aside US$ 15,000 as seed funding for the Global Initiative for Excellence in Journalism Education, which intends to promote partnerships among schools of journalism around a set of core principles of excellence in teaching, research and professional outreach.

The meeting involved discussions on the IPDC’s other standard-setting and normative initiatives. These included an update on the knowledge-driven media initiative, which seeks to enhance the role of knowledge in informing UNESCO’s media development efforts. Bureau members were also presented with a report focusing on the impact of the MDI-based assessments of national media landscapes carried out to date.

The Bureau confirmed that the topic of the thematic debate at the next session of the IPDC Intergovernmental Council on 19-21 November 2014 would be ‘Online privacy and freedom of expression’. 

Please click here to view the full decisions of the Bureau. Applications for funding in 2015 must be submitted by 31 July 2014, and guidelines on how to submit project proposals can be found here.

The IPDC Bureau is the body in charge of project selection and allocation of funds, and includes representatives of Member States from each of UNESCO’s different regional groups.  

UNESCO Regional Consultations on Open Access

Wed, 26/03/2014 - 09:58

Despite rapidly advancing technological developments, fully open and accessible research and innovation has not been put into widespread practice until today. Appreciating the continuous persistence of the ”knowledge challenge”, UNESCO’s Open Access programme is designed to foster the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to make peer-reviewed research accessible to all.

Within the same context, UNESCO co-organized with the German and the Netherlands National Commissions for UNESCO, a Regional Consultation on “Open Access to Scientific Information and Research – Concept and Policies” on 20 and 21 November 2013. Third in its series, the Consultation was hosted by the German Commission for UNESCO in Berlin. The meeting for Europe and North America followed previous Regional Consultations on Open Access for Eastern and Central Europe and the Baltic States (5-7 September 2012) as well as Latin American and the Caribbean (5-8 March 2013). The consultation discussed issues such as:

  • Implementation of the UNESCO Open Access Strategy;
  • Open Access implementation in participating countries, essentially  to identify current barriers, and share best practices;
  • GOAP templates and country information, and possible improvements;
  • Analysis for anticipating foreseeable trends and emerging challenges;
  • Partnerships and collaboration among stakeholders as an enabling mechanism.

The recommendations agreed during the consultation are expected to provide a new dynamism and context for the Open Access to Scientific Research and Scholarly Publications. It will also help to develop measures for continuous assessment of implementation of the strategy in relation to its agreed schedules, the use of inputs, priorities, and to develop basis to involve relevant stakeholders.

Free media is an integral part of sustainable development, argues UNESCO

Tue, 25/03/2014 - 14:16

Unveiled during the 58th bureau meeting of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), the report attempts to clarify what UNESCO sees as an opportunity for the international community to make explicit the connection between free, independent and pluralistic media and sustainable development.

The brief was referenced in an update on the status of the IPDC-endorsed Knowledge-Driven Media Development initiative presented by Fackson Banda, a programme specialist in UNESCO’s Division of Freedom of Expression and Media Development.

The presentation highlighted the fact that the IPDC had collected enough data from its media development project implementation to enable Member States make an informed judgment on how effective independent media could be in supporting their development objectives.

The brief outlines three key arguments as to how this case can be made. These include the fact that there is enough empirical evidence to suggest that free media can impact positively on sustainable development. Another argument is that any support for free media as an integral part of democracy and development is indicative of good governance – an issue that the report stresses the UN Open Working Group has consistently referred to in its reports.

The final argument is centred on the idea that supporting free media actually lives up to the core normative mandate of the UN system -- as agreed to by many Member States.

The Bureau meeting, held from 20 to 21 March 2014 at UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris, also heard how the Organization was positioning itself to generate knowledge that could be used to enhance media support globally and thus continue to contribute towards building a coherent evidence base for the media’s role in different facets of sustainable development.

The Bureau members were presented with an analytical report based on the IPDC implementation reports prepared by the Programme’s over 200 grantees. The report – a key part of UNESCO’s contribution to the media-development debate – covered several issues, including the need for a clearer understanding of the cultural and institutional context of IPDC project implementation.

In welcoming the update on the status of the initiative, Bureau members noted that UNESCO was best placed to offer evidence-based insights into the relationship between media development and sustainable development.

Beyond Statistics: Call for personal stories about journalists who died in the exercise of their profession

Mon, 24/03/2014 - 17:32

In this context, UNESCO is calling for news outlets to produce a story about a fallen journalist, to be published or broadcasted in their respective media and languages. UNESCO will then select some of these stories to be featured on 3 May through the World Press Freedom Day website in our annual segment called “Beyond the Statistics”.

This year we dedicate the “Beyond the Statistics” page to journalists who had fallen in 2013. The individuals are remembered on the dedicated website UNESCO Condemns Killings of Journalists.

Please contact us in advance if you wish to participate in “Beyond the Statistics”. You may also contact us for additional information on the safety of journalists at a global level.

The contact persons are Mr Ming-Kuok Lim (mk.lim(at) and Ms Lien de Tavernier (, Division of Freedom of Expression and Media Development.

Multi-stakeholder Consultation on UNESCO’s Comprehensive Study on the Internet

Fri, 14/03/2014 - 18:38

This wide-ranging Internet study arises from a resolution agreed by UNESCO’s 195 Member States during the Organization’s General Conference in November 2013. 

By mandate of Resolution 52 of UNESCO’s 37th General Conference in 2013, the study is required to cover the fields of (i) Access to information and knowledge, (ii) Freedom of expression, (iii) Privacy, and (iv) Ethical dimensions of the information society, and also explore possible options for future actions. The results will inform the Organization’s reporting to the 38th General Conference in 2015.

The resolution requires that the study be done through an inclusive multi-stakeholder process which includes governments, private sector, civil society, international organizations and the technical community.

These consultations will be done through an online questionnaire, meetings with UNESCO Member States, and UNESCO participation in events such as the Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance (NETmundial), WSIS High Level Review Events, the Internet Governance Forum, the Freedom Online Conference, and the Stockholm Internet Forum.

The draft concept paper for the study, proposed by UNESCO’s Secretariat, outlines how the fields can be conceptualized and presents related research questions. The guiding framework is the draft concept of “Internet Universality”. By summarizing core Internet principles relevant to UNESCO’s mandate and fields of competence, the notion of “Internet universality” highlights four R-O-A-M principles: (i) that the Internet should be Human Rights-based (ii) “Open”, (iii) “Accessible to All”, and (iv) nurtured by Multi-stakeholder Participation. As part of the consultation, feedback is also sought on this draft concept.

To send your written comments on the Draft Concept Paper and the Draft Concept of Internet Universality, please write to Internetstudy(at)

Stakeholders urge for a joint media rights violation monitoring mechanism

Wed, 12/03/2014 - 12:00

This view was expressed by the participants of the National Level Consultation on Improving Media Rights Violation Monitoring Mechanism, organized jointly by UNESCO’s Kathmandu Office and the Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (ACORAB) under the project “Increasing the Safety of Journalists” in Lalitpur on 10 March 2014.

Citing a pre-assessment during an introductory session on the project progress, Laxman Datt Pant, Coordinator of the UNPFN/UNESCO project “Increasing the Safety of Journalists”, said that public officials, including chief district officers and heads of security forces, are found to be less updated on the issues and rights related to freedom of expression. He stressed the need for extensive debate among civil society, security forces, government officers and judiciary to foster better understanding of the issues.

Part of the problem stems from the lack of uniform approach in the dissemination of data on cases of violence against journalists. The discrepancy in data produced by different organizations that claim to monitor violence against media is both baffling and discrediting in the eyes of international organizations that support journalistic causes and work at global scale to promote safety of media workers.

In the consultation, Nirmala Mani Adhikary, who led a research on organizations involved in monitoring of violence against media, said that out of 23 such institutions only 17 are functional, with only a handful still actively engaged in the work. The research showed that access and reach was not a problem for monitoring organizations, but lack of common standards hindered production of consistent data.

Yadu Prasad Panthi, Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC), said, “Journalists should not violate code of conduct or professional integrity on the pretext of lack of job security.” According to him, the Ministry of Information was willing to take steps to safeguard the interests of journalists based on the recommendation of the national consultation.

Borna Bahadur Karki, President of the Nepali Press Council, said that an effective joint media monitoring mechanism is possible only by strengthening government institutions.

The national consultation was followed by the two separate regional consultations organized in Birgunj on 3 March, and in Ilam on 6 March among the journalists, media advocacy groups, civil society members, indigenous and women groups. A total of 120 persons from eastern hill and central terai districts participated in three separate consultations and discussed a joint strategy document on monitoring media rights violation cases. The strategy document is now circulated among the stakeholders for the scrutiny.    

Meanwhile, regional consultations revealed that aggressions against journalists are both related to their work and matters unrelated to their profession. Attributing such anomalies to professional or job insecurity, the participants at the national consultation were more or less unanimous in their support for enforcing measures like exams for entry into the profession of journalism and implementation of minimum wage as prescribed by Working Journalist Act.

Earlier, the stakeholders participated in an online consultation carried in social site for a month from 7 February to 7 March 2014.

Global Research Project investigates violence against women journalists

Mon, 10/03/2014 - 09:34

Until now, few cases of sexual assault against journalists have been documented, mostly because journalists have not disclosed their experiences. However, it is important to systematically find out the various forms of harassments and violence women journalists face and to understand the causes as well as the reasons why journalists decide not to disclose their experience.

Hence, UNESCO welcomes this study on the dangers faced by female journalists and media workers, which is the first global survey of its kind. The report’s key findings include the observation that nearly two-thirds of the respondents have experienced “intimidation, threats and abuse” in relation to their work. In addition, half of the respondents answering whether they have experienced sexual harassment while exercising their profession replied affirmatively. It is also noteworthy that these experiences are taking place all around the world and that many respondents highlighted a lack of training and resources available to prepare them for the possibility of violence and harassment.

Several needs were identified in the survey, such as the need to increase the availability of safety information for women journalists, to improve hostile-environment trainings, to include chapters on sexual harassment and assault in safety handbooks, and for news organizations to improve their policies on sexual harassment. Based on the findings of the report, INSI and IWMF will work with other experts in the field and offer a series of recommendations aimed at increasing the safety of women journalists.

To raise awareness on the topic of violence and harassment against women working in the media, the report will be presented on 10 March 2014 in Geneva at a special side event during 25th session of the Human Rights Council, and on 11 March 2014 in New York in conjunction with the 58th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, where UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova, will be speaking.

The survey also directly contributes to the gaps in safety of journalists’ research identified in the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.

Feedback sought for UNESCO’s research on the Internet

Fri, 07/03/2014 - 16:03

This draft concept informs the framework of the Comprehensive Study, which focuses on online access to information and knowledge, freedom of expression, privacy and ethical dimensions of the Internet, as decided in Resolution 52 of the 37th General Conference.

According to the Resolution, the Study must be done through “an inclusive multi-stakeholder process which includes governments, private sector, civil society, international organizations and the technical community”.

As part of this process, feedback is sought on “Internet Universality” as an overarching concept to identify the key elements of the Internet for UNESCO, and highlight how the Internet can advance Knowledge Societies.

An earlier version of the “Internet Universality” concept has been canvassed in 2013 through a series of consultations at 10 international fora, as well as with UNESCO’s different sectors. 

By summarising four principles which are extant in accepted UNESCO texts on the Internet, the notion of “Internet universality” provides a vision of a universalized Internet aligned with UNESCO’s mandate and values. 

Respect for these four principles is holistic precondition for the Internet to be universal: (i) human rights; (ii) openness; (iii) accessibility; and (iv) multi-stakeholder participatory.

The four can be summarized by the mnemonic R – O – A – M (Rights-based, Open, Accessible, Multi-stakeholder driven).

By bringing together UNESCO’s existing positions, the concept of “Internet Universality” helps to frame much of UNESCO’s Internet-related work in education, culture, science, social science and communication-information for the strategic period of 2014-2021. It offers a common point of reference for enhanced synergies between sectors.

In addition, the concept highlights what the Organization can bring to the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

The Division of Freedom of Expression and Media Development thanks all those who have commented on earlier drafts for their valuable suggestions. This second version is titled “Internet Universality: A Means Towards Building Knowledge Societies and the Post-2015 Development Agenda”.

The draft concept will be discussed as part of the broader consultation meetings on the Comprehensive Study that will take place after the 194th session of the Executive Board in April 2014.

Please post your comments and suggestions to Ms Xianhong Hu.

UNESCO Launches Women Make the News 2014

Wed, 05/03/2014 - 16:36

Research has shown that, on average, only 24% of people questioned, seen, heard or read about in the media are women. Only one quarter of board members governing media organizations are women. The media, as champions of freedom of expression and with their function to promote diversity, should treat this imbalance as a threat to the free expression of half the world’s population. Getting more women in the news needs to be a consistent commitment to achieve evolutionary change.

We are calling on our media partners to commit to ensuring that 30% of all experts interviewed in the news are women as a step towards achieving gender equality in editorial content.

Half the world’s population implies fifty percent of the viewership, listenership and readership of the world’s media. Responding to them is a sure business and development model. It is sure progress for media development and indeed sure progress for all.  

Likewise, UNESCO is inviting editors-in-chief of newspapers, radio, television online and offline to join this initiative, and to entrust women journalists and reporters with editorial responsibility for the newsroom on International Women’s Day or during the WMN initiative.

The WMN 2014 theme this year is connected to the success of the groundbreaking Global Alliance on Media and Gender (GAMAG) which was launched during the first Global Forum on Media and Gender which took place in Bangkok, Thailand, from 2 to 4 of December 2013. Through GAMAG, constructive dialogue between media partners and civil society will be strengthened, and all stakeholders can collectively work to give momentum to women's access to expression and decision-making by promoting a gender-inclusive media and communication environment.

Gender equality in all levels of decision making in media and in content involves all and has many dimensions as described in the UNESCO Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media resource. The media civil society, governments, private sector and development organizations can contribute. GAMAG and the WMN 2014 initiative unite all stakeholders to take action. Click here to view WMN website and see more about how you can get involved. Commit to this initiative and help to spread the word.

UNESCO Releases Media and Information Literacy Policy and Strategy Guidelines

Tue, 04/03/2014 - 12:07

Recognizing that to achieve MIL for all will require national policies, UNESCO has published Media and Informational Literacy Policy and Strategy Guidelines.

This comprehensive MIL Policy and Strategy Guidelines resource is the first of its kind to treat MIL as a composite concept, unifying information literacy and media literacy. These guidelines offer a harmonized approach, which in turn enables stakeholders to articulate more sustained national MIL policies strategies, describing both the process and content to be considered.

As Professor Ulla Carlsson, Director of the Nordic Information Centre of Media and Communication Research, notes in her Preface, “this publication is of vital importance toward improving efforts to promote MIL on national and regional levels”.

Without MIL policy and strategy, disparities are likely to increase between those who have and those who do not have access to information, enjoy or not freedom of expression, and are able or not to critically engage in modern governance and a connected world which are powered by information, media and technology.

The Guidelines is divided in two parts. Part 1, MIL Policy Brief, is designed for policy or decision makers and can serve as a summary of the publication. Part 2 is divided into several comprehensive chapters and covers the following topics:

  • how to enlist MIL as development tool;
  • conceptual frameworks for MIL policies and strategies; and
  • model MIL policy and strategies that can be adapted by countries globally.

This new publication is part of a comprehensive MIL Toolkit being developed by UNESCO in cooperation with its partners. The full MIL Toolkit will include:

  • MIL Curriculum for Teachers (already produced and available here);
  • Global MIL Assessment Framework (already produced and available here);
  • Guidelines for Broadcasters to promote MIL and User-Generated Content (already produced and available here);
  • an online multimedia MIL teaching resources tool; and
  • model online MIL and intercultural dialogue courses (one is already developed and available here).

UNESCO calls for nominations for Memory of the World International Register

Tue, 25/02/2014 - 12:15

The deadline for the submission of nominations is 31 March 2014 and submissions received after this date will be studied in the 2016/2017 session only. They should be submitted in Word, RTF or Open Office format to UNESCO's Memory of the World Secretariat:

  • by email to: mowsecretariat(at);
  • by mail, accompanied by an electronic version, addressed to: Joie Springer, Memory of the World Programme, Knowledge Society Division, 7 Place de Fontenoy, 75352 Paris 07 SP

Nominations are posted on the Programme’s website and illustrations, such as photographs or slides (TIFF, GIF, JPEG formats), and sound recordings (real-media) can be included to help describe the proposal. As the images submitted may often be used by the Memory of the World Secretariat in publicity materials, an authorization for their reuse for non-profit purposes should also be included. A copy of this form can be downloaded here and the nomination form here.

At present, a total of 301 collections submitted by 102 different countries, 4 international organizations and one private foundation are inscribed on the International Register of the Memory of the World Programme. Regional registers have been created for the Memory of the World Committees for Asia/Pacific (MOWCAP) and Latin America/Caribbean (MOWLAC), and an increasing number of countries have now established national registers. Assessment for inscription on the Register is determined by a panel of experts, the Register Sub-committee and the International Advisory Committee (IAC) whose recommendations are forwarded to the Director-General for final decision.

The announcement on the next round of inscription will be made in 2015.

UNESCO launched the Memory of the World Programme to guard against collective amnesia calling upon the preservation of the valuable archive holdings and library collections all over the world ensuring their wide dissemination. The Programme is intended to protect documentary heritage, and helps networks of experts to exchange information and raise resources for preservation of and access to documentary material.