From 7 to 18 November 2016, UNESCO-supported Climate Radio had more than 150 guests and broadcasted live for more than 90 hours, including a 7-hour non-stop live coverage of the “Walk for Climate” on 13 November. More than 200 news reports and 48 news bulletins were produced.
Climate Radio productions were streamed online on climateradio.net and shared in Creative Commons (CC-BY-NC) for rebroadcasting by community radios in at least 18 other countries including Canada, France, Jordan, Mali, Mexico, Senegal, Tunisia, Uganda and USA. The radio also broadcasted locally on 100.1 FM, targeting the 50k+ COP22 delegates as well as the residents of the Marrakesh-Tensift-El Haouz region, making Climate Radio the first community-run radio on an FM frequency in Morocco.
The team of eighteen young CSO radio producers from Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, Jordan, Israel, Morocco, Palestine, Rwanda and Tunisia were selected respecting gender balance through an open call. They were trained on the basis of UNESCO’s tools such as Climate Change in Africa: A Guidebook for Journalists, and Teaching Journalism for Sustainable Development. A global enquiry on community radios’ editorial needs was undertaken before the production started.
“COP22 gave me the opportunity to broaden my knowledge on the causes, effects and adaptation measures taken to combat climate change,” said Ms. Leyla Mutebi, one of the Climate Radio producers from Uganda. “This was a very exciting opportunity for me as a journalist to report at a global event where I conducted a number of interviews with high profile people like Ms Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General; Ambassador Dessima Williams, Special Advisor of the President of the UN General Assembly for Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals; Mrs. Lakshmi Puri, Deputy Executive Director of UN-Women; among others.”
Climate Radio also sought to advance Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly its target 10 (i.e. Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms). Based on UNESCO’s mandate and expertise, Climate Radio contributes to addressing climate change and the role of community media in setting platforms for freedom of expression and freedom of the press.
Climate Radio was coordinated by the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC), in partnership with the Forum des Alternatives Maroc (FMAS), with funding and support from the UNESCO Office in Rabat in the framework of the Networks of Mediterranean Youth (NET-MED Youth) project funded by the European Union and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). The initiative was developed in partnership with the Civil Society COP22 coordinating committee.
Describing the new study, "Human Rights and Encryption”, one of the co-authors Prof Wolfgang Schulz said: "Encryption impacts both freedom of expression and privacy; encryption and anonymity empowers journalists to browse, read, develop and share opinions and information without interference". He cautioned against restrictions put on encryption on the basis of theoretical speculation of risks, rather than evidence.
The research was authored by Schulz and Joris van Hoboken, with financial support by Federal Foreign Office of Germany.
Mr Guy Berger, UNESCO Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development explained that the publication was conducted in the context of UNESCO's endorsement of Connecting the Dots Outcome document that “recognizes the role that anonymity and encryption can play as enablers of privacy protection and freedom of expression, and facilitates dialogue on these issues”.
In his presentation, Prof Schulz pointed out that encryption, as topical issue in the current global discussion on Internet governance, plays a key role in protecting freedom of expression, privacy and other human rights online. He said that on the issue of encryption, there is no tension between freedom of speech and protection of privacy.
The study urges the use of smart technologies to make encryption as convenient as possible, on the basis that this would support privacy and freedom of expression, including special protection measures for journalists, media actors and vulnerable users such as women and girls and minorities.
The research further recommends that governments should include human rights aspects into their encryption policy and provide transparency. It also suggests that privacy protection should not just rest on the users making use of cryptographic technologies, and that communicating the risks and spreading knowledge on the technologies should be a part of a national policy.
Other panellists at the session suggested that encryption should not be examined in isolation but considered in a broad and holistic strategy of protecting digital security for journalists and other communities.
It was also suggested that media outlets and Internet intermediaries should take more responsibility of developing and deploying digital security protocols and measures.
Speaker Marc Rotenberg shared his vision that encryption is no longer just about privacy but also about security in a world of Internet of Things; devices like cell phones do not contain simply private messages but keys that unlock data in remote servers, doors on cars and home.
He acknowledged that strong encryption could inhibit law enforcement from accessing digital content on a mobile phone, but said the greater benefit was to protect the much greater number of people whose phones were stolen.
The workshop was attended by above 60 participants who shared their concerns over encryption from the different aspects of governments, technical community, private sector and civil society.
This was UNESCO’s key message during the Asian Forum for Deans of Journalism and Communication held from 30 to 1 December in Shanghai, China.
Organised by Shanghai International Studies University (SISU) with support from the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China, the forum brought together over 100 Asian professors of journalism and communication, in addition to scores of Chinese participants.
In his keynote address, Fackson Banda, representing UNESCO as a programme specialist responsible for journalism education, observed that new media could facilitate the implementation of each of the three dimensions of pedagogical excellence, adding that it was for this reason that project support by UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) included a focus on how new media could be enlisted in effective delivery of journalism courses.
He stressed: “For this reason, the use of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in our IPDC projects has become an important feature of such technological innovation, encouraging unlimited participation and open access via the web.”
Speaking earlier, Feng Qinghua, Vice-President of Shanghai International Studies University, highlighted the importance of Asian and other alternative approaches towards journalism education, emphasising that the rapid uptake of new media in Asia presented a need for new pedagogies.
UNESCO was invited to the forum as a champion of the Global Initiative for Excellence in Journalism Education which, Banda explained in his keynote address, was a vehicle for expressing UNESCO’s vision of quality journalism education as an important measure of the overall quality of citizenship and society at large.
The forum was aimed at engaging leading Asian scholars in constructive dialogue to respond to the opportunities and challenges created by the new media and to bring out fresh insights into the function and development of Asian journalism and communication and the advancement of the Asian Community in the new media environment.
UNESCO triggered debates on social media and youth radicalization in the digital age at 11th IGF in Mexico
The workshop, attended by above 80 participants, was moderated by Indrajit Banerjee, UNESCO Director for Knowledge Societies. He shared the outcome of UNESCO's Conference “Internet and the Radicalization of Youth: Preventing, Acting and Living Together”, held in Quebec City, Canada, from 30 October to 1 November 2016.
The Director said the “Call of Quebec” outcome document urged stakeholders to question radicalization narratives online, and to respond through counter-narratives and education that emphasizes critical thinking, tolerance and respect for human rights.
Guy Berger, UNESCO Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development, pointed out the complexity of the issue of media and radicalization and presented initial findings from UNESCO's ongoing research on social media and radicalization.
The research has taken an evidence-based approach through an extensive review of diverse studies across multiple languages and regions.
It finds there is still little theorization of those complex issues of extremism, terrorism and radicalization. There is also no scientific evidence of clear causal connections between what happens on social media and the radicalization process, and the role of Internet is more of a facilitator rather than a driver of the radicalization process.
The research calls for a global dialogue based on a multi-stakeholder approach and a holistic solution which goes beyond protective responses like blocking and filtering of content, and focus on empowering young people both online and offline.
In the next six months, the research will be finalized and published.
Sofia Rasgado, from the Council of Europe, shared the good practice of a Portuguese campaign to decrease hate speech, cyber bullying and cyber hate, based on human rights education, youth participation and media literacy. Google’s William Hudson argued that content take-down and censorship are insufficient to combat radicalization, and he presented Google's ongoing counter-speech efforts to build a platform for true solidarity and understanding.
Barbora Bukovska, from Article 19, expressed her concern that the lack of definition of the concept of radicalization could lead to violations of human rights. She welcomed UNESCO’s promotion of positive policy measures, including various counter-speech methods, arguing that these are a more effective tool to fight the underlying social causes leading to radicalization.
From Ranking Digital Rights, Rebecca MacKinnon alerted that civil society is often under dual attack by governments and extremist groups, and pleaded that the protection of human rights online and offline and the defense of civil society and independent journalists are crucial to solve the problem of radicalization in the long run.
Participants raised a number of questions related to criminalization of hate speech, freedom of religious expression, balancing rights, personalized content, etc.
A common theme was that all stakeholders need to critically assess the problem of youth radicalization and join their efforts to invest in holistic and effective solutions that take consideration of human rights implications and gender issues, and which take counter-measures and youth empowerment actions.
“Citizens, and especially women, need to feel secure whenever they are exercising their right to freedom of expression, both offline and online. Hateful messages are a breeding ground for intolerance and extremism, which, in turn, can fuel the cycle of violence when it is translated into criminal acts,” said Frank La Rue.
While freedom of expression is threatened from many sides, journalists are harassed and killed. Internet hate is part of this threat, which in recent years has increased dramatically. Female journalists are attacked more often than their male colleagues, not on the basis of what they report, but because they are women.
2 December marked the 250th anniversary of the Swedish press freedom. This date celebrates the Freedom of the Press Act, the first of its kind in the world.
To mark the anniversary, but also to highlight that journalists around the world will not be silenced, Fojo together with Swedish Institute, the Swedish National Commission for UNESCO and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs organized this event by paying tribute to women journalists who defy hate speech and threats, pursuing their mission of providing information to citizens.
Personal stories on hate delivered by prominent journalists and writers were highlighted during the seminar, followed by a dialogue with the audience.
The seminar was inaugurated by the Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallstrom.
Throughout the week various stakeholders will exchange ideas on Internet governance and “Enabling Inclusive and Sustainable Growth”, the theme of this year’s IGF. UNESCO will be hosting sessions that will address crucial subjects such as the role of social media in violent extremism, the role of judiciary systems, encryption and the safety of journalists, as well as Internet Universality.
On Monday 5 December UNESCO will be hosting a pre-event in Spanish and English on “Protecting safety of journalists online and offline in global Internet Governance ecosystem” from 16:00 to 18:00. This session aims to provide platform for further cooperation and the exchange of ideas between various stakeholders based on the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. UNESCO will also launch the Spanish version of its Internet freedom publication Building Digital Safety for Journalism, as well briefly showcase the results so far of the Journalists’ Safety Indicators, developed by UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication, and so far implemented in three Latin American countries.
The workshop on “Social media and youth radicalization in the digital age”, on Tuesday 6 December 2016 from 12:00 to 13:30, will follow up on and further explore discussions held on youth radicalization at the 2015 IGF and at “Internet and the Radicalization of Youth: Preventing, Acting and Living Together”, a conference organized by UNESCO with the Government of Quebec (from 31 October to 1 November 2016) This IGF workshop will discuss the relationship between the Internet and youth radicalization, as well as measures to prevent violent extremism through a focus on youth empowerment. UNESCO will also be sharing initial findings stemming from commissioned Internet governance research on social media and youth radicalization.
UNESCO will also be bringing in new stakeholders through its discussions with Freedom of Expression Rapporteurs and Regional Human Rights Courts in the workshop on “The Role of Judiciary Systems and Internet Governance” on Wednesday 7 December 2016 from 09:00 to 10:30. In recent years UNESCO has worked with various judicial systems in Latin America, including supreme courts and judicial training schools and institutions, in capacity development of judicial operators struggling with new challenges associated with the Internet and freedom of expression, access to information, and the safety of journalists.
The workshop on “Encryption and safety of journalists in digital age” will take place on Wednesday 7 December 2016 from 15:00 to 16:30. Encryption is a potential tool for the protection of freedom of expression, privacy, and other human rights online. This workshop will, however, explore this subject and related human rights implications of encryption in Internet Governance. The session will particularly examine human rights implications in terms of freedom of expression and privacy in the media and communications, as well as investigating existing mechanisms and legislation to protect journalists from digital harassment. The aim is to help formulate recommendations that will be useful for various stakeholders. We will also be launching the latest edition of our Internet Freedom Series publication, Human Rights Aspects of Encryption.
UNESCO’s Open Forum at the IGF this year will take place on Thursday 8 December from 17:00 to 18:00 on “Putting Internet Universality at the heart of the SDGs”. In this Open Forum UNESCO will present participants with an introduction to its Internet Universality approach as well as the ROAM (Rights-based, Open, Accessible, Multi-stakeholder-shaped Internet) principles. There will be 4 main areas of discussion: ‘Internet governance and the SDGs’, ‘Internet Indicators Project and the launch of a new UNESCO publication, ‘Privacy, Free expression and transparency’, ‘Universal access: Multilingualism and empowering peoples with disabilities projects’, and ‘Internet and the Radicalisation of Youth: Preventing, Acting and Living Together’. In each area of discussion UNESCO will present suggestions or proposals such as an initial set of Internet Indicators, as well as feedback on UNESCO’s relevant work in that particular area, such as its Atlas of Languages in Danger project or the results of the conference on “Internet and the Radicalization of Youth: Preventing, Acting, and Living Together” in order to trigger further discussion on these critical issues.
UNESCO will also be jointly hosting an Open Forum with the ITU on “How Can Universal Connectivity Be Used as Catalyst for Achieving the SDGs?” on Thursday 8 December, from 9:00 to 10:00. Through this Open Forum the UN Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development –co-chaired by UNESCO and the ITU- will identify and address challenges and opportunities.
At the co-organized Open Forum on “WSIS Action Lines Supporting the Implementation of the SDGs – WSIS Forum: Information and Knowledge Societies for SDGs”, on Wednesday 7 December 2016, 16:00-17:00, where UNESCO will be sharing its experiences on the implementation of WSIS Action Lines and discussing and exchanging information with other WSIS Action Line facilitators.
UNESCO is also a co-organizer of the “Global Connect, IEEE, ISOC, ITU, UNESCO, WEF, and the World Bank – Advancing Solutions for Connectivity: Improving Global Coordination and Collaboration” pre-event that will discuss the challenges of advancing connectivity and universal access, on Monday 5 December from 13:00 to 18:00.
Come and join us at these interesting sessions to learn more and exchange information on crucial issues and challenges in Internet governance.
Remote participation will also be available for those who cannot attend the IGF in person in Mexico. Remote participants will be able to follow discussions online through the IGF webcast and real-time closed captioning. It is also possible through the IGF remote hubs to participate live and submit questions or interventions when panel moderators open the discussion to the floor. Participants can register for available remote hubs or organize their own remote hubs.
Register to participate online:
More information about online participation:
More information about and register for IGF 2016 remote hubs: http://www.intgovforum.org/multilingual/content/igf-2016-remote-hubs
- UNESCO IGF 2016 Website: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-and-information/unesco-and-wsis/internet-governance/internet-governance-forum-igf/2016-igf-guadalajara-mexico/
- IGF 2016 Website: http://www.intgovforum.org/multilingual/
- Mexico government IGF 2016 Website: http://www.igf2016.mx/
The Forum included thematic panels and hands-on workshops by various young people and youth organizations. Throughout the day, the discussions highlighted how media and information issues are especially pertinent to youth, such as empowerment and civic engagement, privacy, gender equality, and freedom of expression and diversity.
The discussions yielded the drafting and adoption of a Youth Declaration on Media and Information Literacy.
The Declaration calls on stakeholders to use MIL to empower youth for civic engagement, contribute to intercultural dialogue, help prevent violent extremism, and improve freedom of expression while raising awareness for online privacy, gender equality, as well as media and information literacy for people with special needs.
The Youth Declaration states: “The new information age is boundless. MIL blossoms in an environment where there is a rapid exchange of ideas and perspectives. Social Media is both a tool and a platform for us youth representatives, whether we are young journalists, information specialists or from any other academic or social background. It links us to immediate engagement with other people across the world.”
In the document, the youth also appealed for their involvement in policy discussions on MIL, active participation in research and decision making of relevant organizations and networks developing MIL strategies and programmes such as governments, UNESCO and GAPMIL.
The Declaration will help push forward the work of the Youth Committee of GAPMIL and the GAPMIL Youth Ambassador Programme. This committee comprises of young people from a variety of different backgrounds, yet all sharing the same commitment to enhancing MIL globally.
The Ambassadors Programme utilizes volunteers on the ground, who act to promote MIL in their respective countries and regions through their own personal projects and networks.
Visit the Global MIL 20016 website to see a photo gallery, news, and other outcome documents.
Now available in the Serbian language, MIL CLICKS has also been launched in English and there is one regional version in Portuguese.
MIL CLICKS in Serbian is part of the EU-UNESCO funded project “Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey”. The project is, among other goals, aiming to increase public demand for quality media and empowering of citizens through media and information literacy (MIL).
Why is MIL important for building trust in media?
When citizens are empowered with MIL competencies (knowledge, skills and attitude), they are enabled to understand the role of professional and ethical journalism in a democratic society. At the same time, they are developing a critical approach to all information and media content. With these skills, citizens are able to make informed decisions in their everyday lives and their engagement with social media.
Through the MIL CLICKS movement, citizens are exposed to MIL competencies in their normal day-to-day use of social media and the Internet. They learn about news fact-checking tools, resources to gauge media diversity, how to respond to hate content online, and how to interact with self-regulatory media and other information providers.
Over time, this will increase people’s ability and confidence to demand quality information and media, hold media and other information providers accountable and ultimately building trust .
Using MIL CLICKS to both learn and play
On these platforms, MIL CLICKS is engaging people to play, learn and use MIL skills, discover how to evaluate information and media content, and be able to identify credible sources of information.
How do people assess the verifiability of information?
The information people receive and seek shapes their decisions, choices, their behavior and ultimately their life. Still, even though many young people consider themselves being critical towards media content, research shows that the majority of them are not able assess the credibility of of media outlets that are transmitting particular news.
The veracity of media is are even less questioned if parents regard the information is truthful, according to the research Media literacy in Serbia.
For these reasons, the MIL CLICKS movement also targets adults as well as youth who are one of the most active groups using social media.
Join the movement of wise clicking!
“Are we clicking wisely?” asks UNESCO’s Programme Specialist Alton Grizzle, adding: “We are integrating learning, creating and engaging, so that people click critically and wisely.”
UNESCO and partners are calling on stakeholders in South East Europe to take an active role in MIL CLICKS.
MIL CLICKS in Serbian is being implemented by Media Education Center (MEC) and South East European Network for Professionalization of Media (SEENPM), together with other partners in the region. It is carried out in the framework of the EU-UNESCO funded Project “Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey.
CIMU SEE is led by the South East European Network for Professionalization of Media (SEENPM), an umbrella organization gathering leading media development organizations in the region.
As a regional network, CIMU will facilitate the increase of peoples’ participation in shaping of information and media landscape in SEE.
Its focus will be on enabling strong involvement from the public. This includes representatives of NGOs, as well as citizen media and information groups, teachers and educators, librarians, IT specialists, youth and gender activists, and many others.
“This Coalition will facilitate information and media development in the region of South East Europe through strategic interaction with media, libraries and other information providers, governments, self-regulators and public regulators”, said UNESCO’s programme specialist Alton Grizzle. “This will be done through media monitoring, online debates and the formulation of policy recommendations.”.
CIMU will also seek to help articulate public interest in policy and legislative debates on key information and media issues. The Coalition will encourage and assist its members to contribute to debates in their countries.
Tihomir Loza, SEENPM Director said the desired result was media and information users who are informed, active and demanding, as well as capable of influencing the providers in the countries of the region.
Mr. Loza further explained that the CIMU starts from the premise that the process of European integration in the region represents a uniquely favorable context in which significant strides can be made in fostering active citizenship.
The Coalition of Information and Media Users in SEE will be coordinated by SEENPM, with its member organizations acting as focal points for the initiative in their own countries. The members are currently soliciting support and membership of other organizations, and formal and informal citizen media and information groups, as well as individuals, to ensure wide reach of the initiative.
CIMU will also create synergies with other activities from the project taking place in the region of SEE, such as UNESCO MIL CLICKS – a global media and information literacy movement on social media by UNESCO and partners. MIL CLICKS is now available in English and Serbian. The Serbian language version is implemented by Media Education Center (MEC).
This activity is also carried out in the framework of the EU-UNESCO funded Project “Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey”.
If you would like to take part in the CIMU please send an email inquiry to t.ljubic(at)unesco.org and email@example.com.
The present research was elaborated in order to implement Internet Universality framework. It also responds to the option recommended by the CONNECTing the Dots Outcome Document that UNESCO “recognizes the role that anonymity and encryption can play as enablers of privacy protection and freedom of expression, and facilitates dialogue on these issues”. In addition, the research draws on the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, which was presented to the Human Rights Council in June 2015.
The research, authored by Prof. Wolfgang Schulz and Dr Joris van Hoboken, was commissioned by UNESCO and made possible thanks to the support of the German Federal Foreign Office.
The study provides an overview of encryption technologies and their impact on human rights. It analyzes in-depth the role of encryption in the media and communications landscape, and the impact on different services, entities and end users. It highlights good practices and examines the legal environment surrounding encryption as well as various case studies of encryption policies. Built on this exploration and analysis, the research provides recommendations on encryption policy that are useful for various stakeholders. These include signaling the need to counter the lack of gender sensitivity in the current debate, and also highlighting ideas for enhancing “encryption literacy”.
The publication will be launched at the UNESCO workshop on “Encryption and safety of journalists” (15:00-16:30, Guadalajara time) on 7 December 2016, in the framework of the 11th Internet Governance Forum (IGF). More details about the workshop are available at:
Privacy, free expression and transparency: UNESCO launches the seventh title in its Internet Freedom Series
This publication examines the crucial challenges of balancing the fundamental rights of privacy and freedom of expression, and the related value of transparency, in an online context. It was commissioned following UNESCO’s new approach to Internet issues as set out in the Connecting the Dots Outcome Document adopted by UNESCO’s 195 Member States in November 2015. UNESCO stands for the concept of “Internet Universality” and the related “ROAM principles”, which refer to a human-Rights-based, Open and Accessible Internet that is governed by Multi-stakeholder participation. It is in this context that the current study was commissioned to address very specific rights and associated values of privacy, free expression and transparency.
The study was commissioned by UNESCO and authored by Joseph Cannataci, Bo Zhao, Gemma Torres Vives, Shara Monteleone, Jeanne Mifsud Bonnici and Evgeni Moyakine, from the STeP (Security, Technology and e-Privacy) – Research Group in the University of Groningen. UNESCO thanks the financial support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.
This publication explores the boundaries of these rights, and the various modalities of reconciling and aligning them. The study analyses the legal framework, current mechanisms for balancing rights, and specific issues, cases and trends. As revealed by the research, traditional laws and regulations for the protection of privacy and freedom of expression often do not deal with digital issues. Also covered are the interplay and interactions between multiple players—e.g. the State agents, Internet users, ICT companies, civil society organizations, the judiciary and the security services.
Various policy recommendations are made that address both key issues and various stakeholders groups. These include encouraging the use of encryption amongst citizens and focusing on improving digital literacy, promoting technical solutions to enhance privacy protection, and cooperating at the international level for sharing good practices.
The publication will be launched at the UNESCO Open Forum at 17:00-18:00 (Guadalajara time), 8 December 2016, during the 11th Internet Governance Forum in Guadalajara. For more information, please consult this page:
“I condemn the murder of Dharmendra Singh,” said the Director-General “Every assassination of a journalist is a setback for freedom of expression, freedom of information, and rule of law. It is in the interest of society as a whole that the authorities investigate this crime and bring its perpetrators to justice.”
Three unidentified gunmen shot Dharmendra Singh, a reporter for the national Hindi daily Dainik Bhaskar, on 12 November in the town of Sasaram.
The Director-General of UNESCO issues statements on the killing of media workers in line with Resolution 29 adopted by UNESCO Member States at the Organization’s General Conference of 1997, entitled “Condemnation of Violence against Journalists.” These statements are posted on a dedicated webpage, UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists.
Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, s.coudray(at)unesco.org, +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12
UNESCO is the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”
Laureates from Switzerland and Argentina to receive 2016 UNESCO/Emir Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah Prize for Digital Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities
Both laureates have been chosen for their outstanding contribution to inclusion, enhancing the lives of persons with disabilities through the application of digital solutions, resources and technologies.
Individual category, Professor Alireza Darvishy (Switzerland)
Alireza Darvishy lost most of his vision at the age of 15 due to an accident. He enrolled at the University of Zurich (Switzerland) in the 80s as its first severely visually impaired student in computer science. He used assistive technologies to pursue his degree and PhD, while continuously challenging his university to improve its accessibility policies. He was one of the first students in Switzerland with an impairment to finish a PhD in computer science, which focused on digital accessibility. After graduating, he initiated and led many innovative accessibility projects in the private sector. In the early 2000s, he was additionally hired by the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) as the first and only professor of ICT Accessibility. There, he established a competence centre for ICT Accessibility and helped more students with disabilities get an education. Through his ambitious work, he seeks to serve as a champion and an inspiration for others with impairments, and as an example to organizations of what people with disabilities can achieve.
Organizational category—Tiflonexos Asociación Civil (Argentina)
Tiflonexos Asociación Civil was created in 1999 in Argentina by a group of blind friends who wanted to use the power of the Internet to exchange digital books and gain better access to information, culture and education, which was extremely limited in the region at that time. The group created an online collaborative free-access library for visually impaired people in Argentina. Now, it offers more than 50,000 titles, mostly in Spanish, to more than 7,000 blind users and 300 organizations around the world. The library’s community of users has grown to become a global network of information exchange, education and support. Tiflolibros is managed by visually impaired people who are early adopters of technology and promote users’ empowerment. The Organization contributed to a favourable reform of Argentina´s copyright law in 2007, which was followed by other Latin American countries. It was key in the adoption of the first United Nations treaty to promote access to books worldwide for visually impaired people, the 2013 Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled (World Intellectual Property Organization, WIPO).
The UNESCO/Emir Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah Prize for Digital Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities aims to reward the outstanding contributions of individuals and organizations that promote inclusion and the enhancement of the lives of persons with disabilities in society through the effective, innovative and inclusive application of digital solutions.
Nineteen countries submitted individual nominations for the 2016 Prize and 23 countries presented nominations in the organizational category. All submissions were assessed by the International Jury established by the Director-General of UNESCO. The total amount of $40,000 available for the Prize will be distributed equally between the individual and the organizational winners.
Media accreditation to the ceremony: Djibril Kebe, d.kebe(at)unesco.org, +33(0)1 45681741
On the Halloween evening in Canada, around 30 youth gathered for the “Atelier de créativité YouthMobile” workshop in order to trick their minds after attending the conference. In four hours, the participants were divided into three teams guided by a social entrepreneur. Their goal: to prompt their creativity and come up with an ICT solution for their given “challenge” on preventing violent extremism. This workshop was animated by MakeSense, an international community that rallies volunteers in 128 cities across the world to help social entrepreneurs to solve their challenges.
After a call for challenges addressed to the organizations taking part to the conference, the submissions from the Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization leading to Violence (CPRMV), the Project SOMEONE, and the Digital Mass Atrocity Prevention Lab (DMAP Lab) were selected as the topics for the workshop. These challenges were: "What elements to integrate in an online video game to prevent violent extremism?", "How to reach 10,000 new users for the SOMEONE platform by the end of the year?" and "What digital package should DMAP Lab create for schools to counteract violent extremism?"
Project SOMEONE, a portal that strives to creating a space for dialogue and combat online hate by building awareness and resilience, submitted a challenge on "How to reach 10,000 new users for the SOMEONE platform by the end of the year?". Youths coming from Mexico, Canada and Ivory Coast devised several strategies such as incorporating social media feeds, and providing incentives for an increased participation and interaction to multiply the viewership of the SOMEONE portal. The workshop not only encouraged creativity from the participants but also benefited the social entrepreneurs. Marie Lamensch, the DMAP lab project coordinator who also led their correspondent group said, "UNESCO’s YouthMobile workshop was very enriching for me and the DMAP Lab team. The workshop’s methodology enabled us to test our digital kit and confirm our ideas, but most importantly, it helped us improving our concept thanks to the creativity and diversity of the young participants."
Yet tricking the mind might be followed by treats in reality. After the workshop, the social entrepreneurs will advance forward to make these ideas into practice. Vivek Venkatesh, the founder and director of Project SOMEONE said, "My team is now looking into implementing these strategies in the short-term and we are grateful for the opportunity to have participated in this unique event."
Finally, on "what elements to integrate in an online video game to prevent violent extremism?", the participants to the CPRMV workshop brainstormed a handful of features for two video game prototypes.
This workshop was proposed by the UNESCO YouthMobile Initiative, which strives to provide young people with ICT and problem solving skills to address issues of sustainable development.
- Challenges details: http://unesco-ci.org/youthmobile/sites/default/files/AtelierCreativiteYouthMobile.pdf
- Conference details : http://en.unesco.org/ConfQcUNESCO/home
- #ConfQcUNESCO #YouthMobile
The campaign also highlighted the key findings of the biennial Report of the UNESCO Director-General on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity, which was presented on 17 November to the 39 Member States of the Intergovernmental Council of the Organization’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).
Through a series of representative cases of attacks against journalists, My Killers Are Still Free brought into the spotlight the statistics of a decade of violence against journalists, media workers and social media producers.
UNESCO has documented 827 journalists killed since 2006, when the IPDC mandated the Director-General to begin requesting information from Member States on the judicial investigations carried out into killings of journalists.
The campaign also presented powerful and heartfelt testimonials of close relatives, co-workers, and lawyers of killed journalists across the world, to reflect upon the distress caused by impunity at a personal level and the damage to society as a whole.
“The proper conclusions of investigations into acts of impunity are important in order to reestablish the governance and the rule of law. […] If we continue to allow these outstanding investigations and abuses to go unaddressed, people will lose faith in the institutions of the State and a country will not be able to achieve its security and development goals,” said Sonali Simarasinghe, widow of murdered Sri Lankan journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge, in one of the testimonials featured in the campaign.
UNESCO’s efforts joined with those of many other actors calling to end impunity for crimes against journalists, with the Twitter hashtag #EndImpunity reaching 140 million potential impressions in one week.
My Killers Are Still Free was widely shared in social media by UN agencies, media development organizations and media leaders from around the world, reaching approximately 300K users in Facebook, 650K impressions in Twitter and 70K impressions in Instagram
The International Day to End Impunity and the My Killers Are Still campaign together received coverage from at least 250 newspapers around the world.
The Organization’s message cautioning on the danger of impunity to the right to know was reinforced by an Op-Ed by Frank La Rue, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, which was published by over 40 media outlets.
In total, 32 events were organized worldwide by UNESCO and partners for this third edition of IDEI, through which UNESCO sought to keep the memory alive of killed media workers and to reinforce the call to resolve the crimes against them.
Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development at UNESCO, Guy Berger, spoke on the evolution and significance of “Internet Universality”. The concept was adopted as part of the endorsement of the Outcome Document of the UNESCO Connecting the Dots conference by the 38th General Conference of the Organization in December 2015.
“Internet Universality pinpoints four key principles that are essential for the Internet to play an optimum role in sustainable development,” said Berger. These are human Rights, Openness, Accessibility and Multistakeholder participation – abridged as ROAM.
He used the analogy of the Internet as a table with the legs representing infrastructure, the table top as internet protocols, and a table cloth as online cultures such as sharing or commercialization. The plates and cutlery could be considered as online applications, and the food as the content.
“It is important to shine the spotlights of ROAM on these horizontal layers of the Internet if we are to illuminate the concerns within UNESCO’s mandate,” Berger proposed.
He elaborated further how the ROAM framework could assist in balancing human rights at different layers of the internet. Utilised as a method, the ROAM principles can be used to balance considerations of openness and accessibility, as well as to highlight the value of multi-stakeholder engagement in related policy-making.
The event discussed Santaniello’s concept of “digital constitutionalism” as a potentially advanced form of multistakeholder participation, as well as research needs and future issues on the internet.
Berger also offered participants an opportunity to view the documentary “In their press vests” about the war in Syria, sponsored by Finland, using a virtual reality viewer device.
Among the participants who took a turn in exploring the immersive journalism was Professor of Political Communication and of E-democracy and E-Government Policies at the University of Salerno, Francesco Amoretti. Noting the power of this virtual experience, he foresaw the possibility of live-streamed 3D coverage of news events in the future.
High on the agenda were the following topics: access to information in a truly multilingual cyberspace; the promotion of formal and informal open online education in all languages; and the development of the Russian language and the languages of some 100 indigenous peoples of Russian Federation.
Dr Boyan Radoykov, from UNESCO’s Knowledge Societies Division, Communication and Information Sector, addressed the participants and presented the work done by the Information for All Programme (IFAP) under its priority concerning the promotion of multilingualism, which is closely related to the topic of access to information and knowledge in cyberspace. He announced that UNESCO is in the process of developing a World Atlas of Languages, which also demonstrates the use of technology for development. This new online tool will not only provide reliable information about languages endangerment and vitality, but will also help to draw attention to the importance of UNESCO’s normative work in this area. Mr Radoykov also emphasized that for UNESCO cultural diversity and multilingualism have a central role to play in fostering pluralistic, equitable, open and inclusive knowledge societies
Members and heads of the presidential and governmental authorities and institutions, journalists and leading experts from Russia and other countries, were invited to attend this event, which built on achievements of UNESCO/IFAP major international events on multilingualism in cyberspace organized worldwide over the past few years.
Speakers at the event also included: Mr Veniamin Kaganov, Deputy Minister of Education and Science of the Russian Federation; Ms Eleonora Mitrofanova, Ambassador-at-large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation; Mr Evgeny Kuzmin, Deputy Chair, Intergovernmental Council, UNESCO’s Information for All Programme (IFAP); Vladimir Grigoriev, Deputy Head, Federal Agency for Press and Mass Communications; Mr Gilvan Müller de Oliveira, Professor, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil; Ms Snezhana Todorova, President of the Union of Bulgarian journalists, Bulgaria; Mr Mohamed El-Guindy, Egypt TV, Cairo; Mr Prabhakar Rao Jandhyala, Professor, University of Hyderabad, India.
The participants were invited to visit leading research institutes and universities in Moscow engaged in linguistic studies and the promotion of the use of languages in formal and non-formal education.
Under the auspices of the Press Council of Indonesia, and along with prominent editors and a representative of the country’s delegation to UNESCO, the visitors held a working meeting with the UNESCO Secretariat.
The 2017 WPFD will take place from 1 to 4 May in Jakarta, and is jointly organized by UNESCO, Indonesian Press Council, and the Government of the Republic of Indonesia.
Discussions centred around the format of the event, which has a day set aside for prior side-events, and which will also be adjacent to a regional meeting of Press Councils.
On 3 May, the award ceremony will take place of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. A call for nominations has already been issued.
The meeting also discussed the Youth News Room, which has become a regular feature of the annual WPFD conference. The 2016 event was held in Helsinki, Finland, which produced the Finlandia Declaration.
This declaration was referenced last week in a decision by the intergovernmental Council of UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), along with the 2015 Riga Declaration.
On behalf of the Jakarta visitors, Bambang Harymurti addressed the IPDC Council during the group’s time in Paris in order to help publicise the hosting of the 2017 WPFD in Indonesia.