The new section provides an overview of the main pieces of legislation regulating journalism and media in the region. It also assesses the media freedom situation and presents existing regulators, press councils and relevant professional networks for each country, with - where available - a link to their website. The webpage is a tool for everyone seeking up-to-date information.
Relevant publications, as well as a list of partners in the region, are also available, together with information about a new project financed by the European Commission to enhance freedom of expression through fostering ethical and professional standards in journalism.
In the framework of this project, UNESCO is planning a survey and a series of local events on the issue of hate speech in online media in South East Europe and Turkey. The first roundtable discussion seminar will take place in Belgrade, Serbia on 22 May 2013 and will be followed by an event in Podgorica, Montenegro on 24 May. It is expected that participants of those events discuss how media accountability mechanisms can best address hate speech in online media.
The meeting was convened by UNESCO’s Windhoek Office in close collaboration with the Journalists Union of Swaziland and the Media Institute of South Africa (MISA) Swaziland Chapter. It was attended by journalists from Namibia, representatives of various Southern Africa journalists’ associations, other media practitioners and civil society organizations in Swaziland.
The two-day activities included a high level panel discussion on the state of press freedom and safety of journalists in Southern Africa countries, which was well attended by different media stakeholders. This debate was deemed necessary in the wake of the recent research on the status press freedom in all Southern-African countries, which was carried out by MISA and whose results depict a very grim picture and declining freedom of the press.
Securing freedom of the media by strengthening and revamping Southern Africa national and regional journalists associations was the main focus of the second day of the meeting. Presentations from the various countries revealed the state of weak and inactive associations that require concerted effort to enable them play their role in defending their members’ right and in promoting the principles of journalism they stand for. According to a journalist from Namibia, “the laid back nature of the Namibian journalists got a hold of the association that has been inactive”.
Discussions and presentations at the meeting revealed that most journalists from the Southern Africa region largely use self-censorship to avoid being in the “wrong books” of their government, a practice that has become the norm in Swaziland, thus contributing to the deterioration of press freedom in the country. In this regard Ms Zungu, the Secretary-General of the Swaziland National Commission for UNESCO, reiterated the need for the Swaziland National Association of Journalists (SNAJ) to work closely with her office in approaching the relevant ministries that would address their issues of concern. She also offered her assistance for in the preparation of requests for funding from UNESCO.
The lack of licensing and the need for recognition of the community media in the region, especially in Swaziland, were raised as issues of great concern. “Community media has a special niche in every country as it is a major platform that gives voice to the marginalised groups and enables community members to address policy makers on issues related to their local needs,” said Lydia Gachungi, from UNESCO’s Windhoek Office. Participants echoed the need to have the community media sector recognised in the various countries and legal structures supporting the sector growth, put in place.
As a way forward, main elements of a funding proposal that would support the strengthening of the national journalists’ associations in Southern Africa was discussed and formulated, mandating UNESCO to coordinate the various activities that would also include an exchange programme among journalists’ associations.
For more information please contact Lydia Gachungi, UNESCO Office in Windhoek.
At the WSIS Forum 2013, hosted by ITU and co-organized with UNESCO, UNDP and UNCTAD, a number of sessions were dedicated to the WSIS+10 Review process. At the Ministerial Roundtable, entitled WSIS+10 Visioning Challenge, 33 ministers discussed WSIS achievements, remaining challenges, the link to the Post Millennium Development Goals Process and also key elements that should be considered in the WSIS+10 review process.
At the plenary session on the WSIS+10 Review, Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of UN, stressed the importance of including in this review process young people. “I firmly believe they are the most promising of our resources. Young people have the drive, the capacity and skills to accept positive change. They are creative and idealistic. They find solutions to problems and they often speak out too,” said Kofi Annan.
Mr Karklins shared the results of the UNESCO-hosted WSIS+10 event, discussed the way forward and stressed the importance of ensuring a truly inclusive, multistakeholder WSIS+10 process. The final statement of the first WSIS+10 review event was indeed developed in an open, inclusive manner and adopted by consensus in the closing session of the UNESCO hosted event, which attracted 1450 participants from 130 countries, plus 800 remote participants.
Member States are expected to decide on the exact modalities of the WSIS+10 Review process at the UN General Assembly at the end of 2013.
This is for the 8th year that UNESCO convened the facilitation meeting of WSIS Action Line C9 - Media at WSIS Forum. This year’s meeting took place on 13 May at ITU, in Geneva, Switzerland. To set a scene for the theme “Internet Universality: Conceptualizing evolving mediascape and updating strategies for post-2015”, a UNESCO representative focused on the media aspects of the Final Recommendation of WSIS+10 Review Meeting, and on the ongoing consultation about a new concept of Internet Universality. This concept is being explored by UNESCO to highlight Internet as a free, open, accessible for all medium, driven by multi-stakeholder engagement. A UNESCO-commissioned report Exploring evolving mediascape was also presented at the meeting.
A representative from the Council of Europe (CoE) presented the CoE Internet Governance Principles and the Recommendation on the protection and promotion of the universality, integrity and openness of the Internet. This Recommendation reaffirms that protection of freedom of expression and access to information on the Internet, as well as the promotion of the public service value are parts of a larger set of concerns about how to ensure the universality, integrity and openness of the Internet. CoE also endorsed the Recommendation on a new notion of media, which calls its Member States to adopt a new, broad notion of media, encompassing all actors, contents and applications (such as social networks and online games), and to accordingly review regulatory needs in respect of all actors delivering services or products in the media ecosystem.
Panelists from the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the World Association of Community Radios (AMARC) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) discussed the challenges of digital convergence on defending public service broadcastings and developing community radios in the areas of technical coordination, spectrum management, harmonization of commercial and public interests, digital safety, legislative and regulatory framework and digital literacy. Representative from the Association of Progressive Communication (APC) highlighted the human rights and ethical dimensions of Internet and echoed the concept of Internet Universality in a sense of promoting freedom of expression, universal access and practical use of Internet as a public good for humanity.
Participants raised various aspects ranging from a concern about violence organized through social media, online safety, the tension between online freedom and other digital rights, to gender issues in media development and the role of media in promoting cultural diversity and social cohesion. The debate focused on the increased complexity of defending freedom of expression and advancing media development in the digital era.
Participants recognized the interdependence between human rights aspects and content and infrastructure convergence of media-ICT which requested a more comprehensive framework to formulate the post-2015 media strategy and facilitate collaboration between C9 and other WSIS Action Lines such as C3 - Access, C7 – E-earning, C8 - Cultural diversity and C 10 - Ethics.
The concept of Internet Universality was considered as a timely and pertinent exploration of such a broader framework to re-contextualize post-2015 strategies on media and related Action Lines. The session served as a first step in the exploration, through various consultations, of the idea of developing and reinforcing the concept of Internet Universality.
30 international organizations jointly state: Do make better use of technologies for the post-2015 future!
In keeping with its mandate to promote policy coherence and programme coordination within the UN system, as well as to provide guidance on issues related to information and communications technologies (ICTs) in support of internationally agreed development goals, the 30 members of the UN Group on the Information Society (UNGIS) will respectfully submit a joint statement to the UN Secretary General and the UN Task Team. This statement is a collective contribution to the dialogue on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, in a unified effort to harness inter-agency expertise and experience to support deliberations on Post-2015 priorities, and a united commitment to a UN community poised to address development challenges in the 21st century.
The joint statement was adopted yesterday, after weeks of internal consultation at a substantive session of UNGIS, chaired by UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, Janis Karklins at the margin of the WSIS Forum 2013.
“This joint statement by 30 International Organizations is a very powerful way of stressing that the future lies in inclusive, sustainable knowledge societies, and that the tools which transform all parts of our lives have not been fully harnessed yet,” said Mr Karklins. The joint statement will be transmitted to the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and to the chairperson of the open working group of the General Assembly, which is tasked with submitting a proposal for sustainable development goals. It will also be disseminated and promoted through the UNGIS’ members’ networks.
The Asia Pacific Register is relatively young, but it already includes a diverse array of inscriptions, such as:
- Negara Kertagama or description of the country in 1365AD (Indonesia),
- Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum Archive (Cambodia),
- Documentary Heritage of the Indian Indentured Laborers (Fiji),
- Archives and materials of the Macao Diocese 1550s to 1800s (China),
- Records of the Tokyo War Crimes Trials 1946-1948 (New Zealand),
- Stone Stele Records of the Royal Examinations 1442-1779 (Vietnam),
- Presidential Papers of Manuel Luis Quezon (Philippines), and
- F.E. Williams “first contact” photographic collection (Papua New Guinea/Australia).
An inscription on the Register demonstrates the significance and regional impact of the documentary heritage in question, provides it with more visibly and places it on the same level with the most valuable documents of human history. Such inscription also ensures a greater promotion of the documentary heritage and a better access to it, and may encourage investment in its conservation and security.
The deadline for submission of nominations is 30 November 2013. Nominations will be first examined by the MOWCAP Register Subcommittee and then presented for decision at the next MOWCAP General Meeting to be held in March 2014. The nomination form and other related documents can be found on the MOWCAP website.
The Memory of the World Register Companion provides guidance in completing the nomination form for inscription on the Register.
For further information please contact the Chair of the MOWCAP Register Subcommittee, Dr Rujaya Abhakorn.
This activity is part of UNESCO’s overall strategy to raise awareness of all media and to increase their capacities to advance gender equality through their productions.
The newsletter is published every trimester by UNESCO’s Office in Rabat. It seeks to be an advocacy tool by encouraging research on the role of media as an actor in spreading gender equality culture.
Since the last 25 years economic, social and political situation of women in the Maghreb countries has consistently changed. However the media in the Maghreb remain steeped in the socially built inequalities and do not adequately reflect the realities of women in the societies. “Glass ceiling” is the major obstacle for women’s self-empowerment and the improvement of their representation in the media. Women’s image remains stereotyped and their points of view are often neglected.
UNESCO invites all media professionals, researchers, teachers and gender advocates to send their contributions to the newsletter to UNESCO’s Office in Rabat.
This year’s theme, “Developing the Caribbean”, focused on the role of Open Data and software in catalyzing regional development and innovation. Mr Eric Nurse, IFAP Vice-Chairman for Latin America and the Caribbean traveled to Trinidad and Tobago to share with delegates IFAP’s tangible regional contribution to the conference theme.
Since December 2012, with the financial support of the UNESCO Director-General’s Multi-donor and Emergency Fund, IFAP has been conducting a 17-country study in the Caribbean. This study has been assessing the state of the art around national usage of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), Open Data and Open Source in the region and how to better integrate them into the existing national information strategies, frameworks and development programmes. Regional workshops to validate the study’s finding and to roll-out national policy implementation pilots are expected to begin in July 2013. According to Mr Nurse, youth and the education system have a key role to play in this process. As he explained, "If we start teaching our secondary students open source and how they can use Open Data, it will go a long way in driving the use of Open Data in the region...".
The Code sprint component of the conference pitted competing teams from across the region to develop software applications using FOSS and Open Data over a 24-hour period to solve practical problems in health, education, census data collection as well as in key areas such as tourism and agriculture that are vital to the regions social and economic progress. The IFAP Vice-Chair shared with other members of the jury the difficult task of selecting the finalists who will participate in the International Code Sprint finals to be held in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation from 30 June to 4 July 4 2013.
Dr Margaret Bernard, Head of the Department for Computing and Information Technology drew attention to nascent Open Data projects that are addressing regional practical development challenges, "In our department, we have a project called AgriNet that aims toward food security”. However she underscored the need for policy frameworks and cooperation pointing to the fact that “there are several information silos that are un-integrated, so we are currently working towards an e-portal to pull data from the various sources."
The event expanded IFAP’s network of regional partners and opened avenues for cooperation with organizations such as Slash Roots, the University of the West Indies (UWI), The Caribbean Open Institute and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).
The intergovernmental Information for All Programme was established in 2001 to provide a platform for international policy discussions and guidelines for action in the area of access to information and knowledge and for the participation of all in the knowledge societies.
For more information on this story and IFAP’s activities you may visit the following websites:
The event will bring together journalists, media professionals, civil society as well as governmental representatives and foreign experts. It aims to provide a professional and public platform to foster dialogue and exchanges on Freedom of Expression and Press Freedom as fundamental pillars of a democratic society, and to establish an inventory of Freedom of Expression in Tunisia two years after the 14 January 2011 Revolution.
The conference on 3 May entitled "Safe to speak: ensuring freedom of expression in all media" will focus - through a set of workshops - on issues of journalists’ safety, challenges met in establishing and implementing code of ethics, the impact of media outlets in regional development, and women in Tunisian media, with journalists testimonies from Tunis and the regions, and a presentation of the United Nations Plan of Action on the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity.
On this occasion the public television and radio will present their drafts code of ethics, the Tunisian Federation of Press Managers will present the code of ethics of Maghreb media professionals established with the support of European Union, the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters will present its report diagnosis on Tunisian community and local radios supported by UNESCO, the Arab Working Group for Media Monitoring will present a report on women's image in Tunisian media, and the Tunis Centre for Press Freedom will present its reports on violence against women journalists in Tunisia.
Alongside the event, students of the Institute of Press and Information Science will be distributing, both at the conference and in the streets, a newspaper they have published for the occasion. Parts of their newspaper will also be published, in Arabic and French, in mainstream newspapers.
The WPFD conference receives support from the Kingdom of Spain and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Detailed programme is available here (in French).
From 2008 to 2010 Mr Jakubowicz served as Chairperson of IFAP. He contributed freely of his time, energy and intellect to nurture IFAP’s growth. This in turn led to the forming of international partnerships that advanced work in the IFAP Priority Areas, the holding of capacity building events especially in developing and transition regions, and the creation of tools and resources for building, reviewing and implementing national information policies. It was also under his watchful guidance that the current IFAP Strategic Plan was crafted.
An internationally recognized expert, he brought to IFAP experience gained from years of distinguished service in many national and international positions. These included, amongst others, his roles as Director of Strategy and Analysis at the Polish broadcasting regulatory authority, and as Chairman of the Steering Committee on Media and New Communication Services at the Council of Europe.
Mr Jakubowicz leaves to mourn his family. He will be greatly missed by the communities of information and communication professionals at UNESCO and other institutions where he served, by policy makers and countless others who benefitted from his professional insights, speaking appearances, you-tube videos and writings. Mr Jakubowicz’s contribution and impact on the information policy space will live on.
The intergovernmental Information for All Programme was established in 2001 to provide a platform for international policy discussions and guidelines for action in the area of access to information and knowledge and for the participation of all in the knowledge societies.
For more information on this story you may visit the following websites:
Each year, the World Press Freedom Day celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom as well as professionals and citizens who fight for the right for freedom of expression, despite the dangers existing in many areas.
The Rabat festival aims to provide a professional and public platform to foster dialogue and exchanges on freedom of expression and press freedom as fundamental pillars of a democratic society.
Among the planned key activities, the conference on 3 May, entitled "Safe to speak: ensuring freedom of expression in all media", will focus on issues of journalists’ safety, combating impunity and online safety, with journalists and bloggers’ testimonies, workshops and a presentation of the UN plan of action on the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity.
The World Press Freedom Day 2013 general theme will be discussed from a North African perspective with a particular focus on the specificities, challenges and opportunities that exist in Morocco. The conference will bring together journalists, bloggers, media professionals, civil society as well as governmental representatives. The conference will be followed by the official presentation of the new press code by the Moroccan Ministry of Communication and discussions around.
Another highlight of the festival is the international exhibition of Mail Art to promote press freedom and freedom of expression in the Arab world called "Once upon a time ... the Arab Spring" that will be launched on 4 May. The festival also includes three trainings on investigative journalism, on the techniques of web search, and on new media and citizen journalism.
The festival receives support from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), Free Press Unlimited, International Media Support and the Embassy of Netherlands in Morocco.
Topics such as disaster risk reduction – what it is, how the media fit in, what are the best stories and media ethics and code of conduct in reporting were also addressed at this two-day "Towards a new approach to disasters from consequences to causes" event attended by journalists from 15 print and TV outlets.
A case study of Cyclone Nargis, one of the most devastating natural disasters ever recorded in the Asia-Pacific region in May 2008 and how the media could work together was also presented at the training. An estimated 146,000 lives lose at Cyclone Nargis. Some 3,761 schools were damaged in the Ayeyarwady and Yangon regions, leaving 360,000 children in affected areas without safe places to learn.
The training objective is to better media knowledge and skills in reporting about disaster risk reduction to best serve community needs.
Based on the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) media manual and UNESCO’s principles for journalism, the participants went through a series of exercises and discussions on professional, balanced, well-informed, and critical reporting before, during and after disasters to better profile disaster risk reduction issues in the news.
Journalists attending the training were also asked to write at least two stories on disaster risk reduction issues.
National media organizations play an important role in promoting national disaster risk reduction policies and programmes. To do so, they need to know what disaster risk reduction is about and to have established contacts with key disaster risk professionals who can provide them with accurate and timely information. In response to these needs, UNISDR, together with the support of UNESCO, co-organized this media seminar.
The event brings together journalists from a broad spectrum of media outlets and is the first in a series of events to promote awareness of World Press Freedom Day, 3 May 2013.
The training will focus also on issues such as professional ethics among media actors and enhancing the critical role that media can play in educating South Sudanese about their rights, as well as on the security of journalists.
In recognition of the vital role that the media play in promoting human rights, UNMISS, UNESCO and partners are commitmed to empower media actors to responsibly fulfil a critical monitoring and reporting function in the observance of human rights, as part of their broader watchdog role.
The training will be held from Wedesnday through Friday, 17-19 April 2013, at the AMDISS Media and Resource Centre in Juba.
In 2012, UFTM, which offers a Master’s Degree Education Research Programme titled “Teacher Education and Digital Culture”, identified the UNESCO Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Curriculum for Teachers as a key resource to be translated into Portuguese. UFTM financed the translation, printing and distribution of the publication, while UNESCO was in charge of proofreading, editing and design. Both institutions will disseminate the publication among partners, educators, teachers, students, networks and other stakeholders.
The development reflects the work by the UNESCO Office in Brasilia to enhance teachers’ ability to incorporate MIL in the classroom. MIL is needed if students are to be equipped with competencies to enjoy the full benefits of freedom of information and access to information through media and information and communication technologies (ICT). MIL can contribute to giving greater context to ICTs in education, taking ICT training beyond technical skills.
In 2008, the UNESCO three-volume publication on ICT competency for teachers was translated into Portuguese during 2011-2012, the UNESCO Office in Brasilia monitored the interest of Brazilian teachers in improving their competence in MIL and in technology applied to teaching.
During the period, the number of visits to the Office’s web page on ICT in education in Portuguese reached almost 30 000, while the series on ICT competency for teachers registered 23,627 downloads.
The UFTM planned local seminar to launch the publication will gather teachers and professors from various regions of Brazil to reflect on how MIL promotes social inclusion, as stipulated in the Alexandria Declaration. It is expected that participants of the seminar will recommend to the Brazilian government to pursue policies and programmes that promote MIL and lifelong learning, which are essential for the development of knowledge societies.
UFTM professors will also advocate the greater integration of educational and communications systems for more effective education, as indicated in the Grünwald Declaration.
Today in Myanmar there are few training and professional development opportunities available for journalists. Journalists who have undergone training to upgrade their skills have attended courses held outside of their country. Their level of understanding of journalism conventions, standards and ethics is generally low but varies from publication to publication.
With the support of UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), Myanmar Consolidated Media (MCM) organized a training course aimed at building the capacities of journalists working in the print media sector. On 5 April, during the ceremony at The Myanmar Times in Yangon, Ramon Tuazon, from UNESCO’s Myanmar Office, awarded certificates to five trainees that completed the basic journalism skills course.
The topics covered were both theoretical and practical, including learning what is news, what makes news, story construction, conducting interviews in a range of situations, the necessity of attribution, research skills, developing a list of sources and the importance of objectivity and impartiality. The importance of professionalism and media ethics was also covered and instructions were provided on how to politely decline gifts offered by an interviewee in an effort to secure favourable media coverage.
“I hope this course has been as satisfying for the trainees as it has been for me,” said Geoffrey Goddard, trainer and senior editor at The Myanmar Times. He added that he was pleased to have made a contribution towards building the capacity of journalists in Myanmar’s media sector, and wished trainees every success for their journalism careers.
The draft bill was earlier submitted by the MoI to the Parliament, but the latter suspended discussions on the bill after receiving complaints from various local media groups, international media NGOs and development partners. The bill was described as restrictive and threatening the emerging press freedom in the country.
During the roundtable discussion, Deputy Minister for Information, U Ye Htut, announced that the MoI shall submit proposed revisions to the Bills Committee of the Parliament. These revisions shall include highlighting adherence to freedom of expression as the overriding vision and intent of the law. Article 27 of the draft, which reads, “Actions taken by this shall not injure the right of citizen, the freedom of expression,” shall be transposed to the initial portion of the bill.
Provisions such as those described by critics as “vague”, which can therefore lead to government-imposed or self-censorship, shall be deleted. The provision on Invalid Publications shall also be submitted to the Bills Committee for deletion. Other provisions such as those related to prohibited contents shall be rewritten to make them more specific and consistent with international legal standards.
The MoI also emphasized that determining the existence of violations of provisions of the proposed law shall now be made by the courts rather than the registration officer as in the original draft bill.
The forum was attended by four members of the Parliament who are also part of the Bills Committee. They expressed support for many of the agreements arrived at during the forum.
Deputy Minister U Ye Htut also agreed with the recommendation of the forum participants to work on either amendment or crafting of new laws on obscenity, defamation and hate speech. He noted that the provisions of these new (or amended) laws will be useful as well for the other media-related laws being prepared, such as the Press Law, the Broadcasting Law, the Public Service Media Law, and the Film Law. UNESCO is providing technical assistance in the crafting of these four proposed laws.
The participants acknowledged that the forum has made the process of lawmaking more inclusive and transparent. They expressed hope that a similar inclusive and transparent process would be adopted by the government in the finalization of other pending media laws.
In addition to MoI officials and legislators, forum participants represented Myanmar mass media, international media organisations and media NGOs, foreign missions, and media development partners.
The forum was co-organised by the Media Development Thematic Working Group (MDTWG), which is co-chaired by the MoI and UNESCO with about 25 national and international media development organisations as members. The MDTWG serves as the coordinative body for media development initiatives in Myanmar.