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Building Peace in the Minds of Men and Women
Updated: 4 hours 35 min ago

Request for Quotation: Production of a research study on privacy & transparency on internet

Tue, 16/12/2014 - 11:46

The overall objective of the study is to stimulate global research on balancing privacy and transparency within UNESCOs mandate of protecting freedom of expression. The research should unpack the complexity of the subject, by seeking answers to the questions through both normative and empirical information. The study should contribute to a better protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, especially the right to freedom of expression.

The scope of the research study*:

·        Overview of international, regional and national frameworks, normative guidelines and accountability mechanisms that underpin the digital dimensions of privacy and transparency ;

·        Relation between the privacy of personal data, and transparency, and how to balance them in the context of public interest;

·        Anonymisation issues concerning data in both public and private sectors, which enters into the public sphere;

·        Issues around “the right to be forgotten” in relation to the right to privacy and the right to access information;

·        What is the status of public persons, within the context of balancing transparency and privacy on internet;

·        Ways in which internet adds to complexity in regulating privacy and transparency online at the national, regional & international levels;

·        Recommendations regarding sufficient safeguards in the digital environment so as to ensure a balance of privacy and transparency with the right to freedom of expression;

·        National best practices aimed to reconcile the rights involved in privacy and transparency matters.

The research process requires:

·        A mapping of issues so as to ensure comprehensiveness and global representation;

·        Development of specific research questions for these;

·        Collection of data, aggregation into a global report;

·        Qualitative analysis of the findings and recommendations.

The envisioned output of the research:



Executive summary








Research & Qualitative findings




Bibliography & Appendices





*UNESCO is to provide applicant with an extensive concept note in order to elaborate on the scope of the study.

Comorian Media Training Workshop to Reinforce Good Democratic Reporting Practices for the Forthcoming 2015 Elections

Mon, 15/12/2014 - 14:22

The training workshop saw journalists and editors embrace clear commitments to playing a constructive role before, during and after the elections. “We re-discovered the ethical basis for the exercise of our profession,” One of the participants said. The training modalities at the workshop included practical work and simulation covering an election campaign.

Enhancing election reporting knowledge of journalists is crucial a free and fair election. An exchange of good election reporting practices took place between media practitioners, officials of the Comoros Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) and the National Press and Audio Visual Council (CNPA).

Further to this, a seminar was organized to bring together directors, media executives and members of the National Press and Audio Visual Council on 10 November 2014. The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) and the National Press and Audiovisual Council (CNPA) also attended the seminar. The seminar drafted and adopted three crucial documented protocols. These are

  • A media commitment for fair and responsible professional coverage of elections.
  • A detailed request to CENI and CNPA for easy access by the media during the elections in line with the Comorian Constitution.
  • An election guide for Comorian journalists to be distributed to all journalists in the country prior to the election.

The training initiatives were carried out by the Organization International de la Francophonie (OIF) and UNESCO as free and fair elections are essential for democracy consolidation and conflict prevention.

UNESCO Memory of the World Regional Training Workshop Opens in Muscat, Oman

Mon, 15/12/2014 - 09:22

The Memory of the World workshop was opened by H.E. Hamad bin Hilal Al Mamaari, Undersecretary for Cultural Affairs, Ministry of Heritage and Culture, Mr. Mohammed Saleem Al Yaqoubi, Secretary General of the Oman National Commission for UNESCO, Ministry of Education and on behalf of UNESCO, the opening remarks were delivered by Mr. Boyan Radoykov,  Chief of Section in the Knowledge Societies Division,  Communication and Information Sector. 

The specific objectives of the workshop are:

(i)              to increase awareness of the existence and significance of documentary heritage in the Arab region,

(ii)             to help participants identify documentary heritage with global significance and

(iii)            to assist them in preparing their respective applications for nominations to the Memory of the World International Register in accordance with the existing procedure.

The four-day workshop will bring together representatives from 12 Arab countries ,as well as national participants from Oman and three experts including Mr. George Boston, (UK Memory of the World National Committee), Ms. Alissandra Cummins (Former Chairperson of the UNESCO Executive Board, 2011-2013) and Mr. Abdelaziz Abid (Former Head of the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme).

One of the most important components of the Programme is the Memory of the World Register, which has been a influential tool for increasing global awareness of the existence and significance of documentary heritage. In particular, the Memory of the World International Register has come to be considered as one of the most prestigious forms of worldwide recognition for documentary heritage with outstanding value and global significance.

The collection Treasury of Oriental Manuscripts from Slovakia, along with the National Library of Egypt's Collection of Mamluk Qur'an Manuscripts, and the Phoenician Alphabet from Lebanon, or the Persian Illustrated and Illuminated Manuscripts from Egypt, listed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register are but few examples of the important for the world sources of Islamic culture and literature representing the outstanding documentary heritage of the Arab region.

UNESCO launched the Memory of the World Programme in 1992 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 vision is that the world's documentary heritage belongs to all, should be fully preserved and protected for all and, with due recognition of cultural mores and practicalities, should be permanently accessible to all without hindrance. The Programme is thus intended to protect documentary heritage, and to help networks of experts to exchange information and raise resources for the preservation of, and the access to, documentary and archival collections of valuable records.

UNESCO’s report on World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development presented in Morocco

Thu, 11/12/2014 - 10:23

The conference was attended by 110 participants including Moroccan journalists, academics, governmental officials, and representatives of international organizations such as Freedom House, Reporters without Borders, International Federation of Journalists, Amnesty International, Free Press Unlimited, as well as media researchers from Turkey, Tunisia, Lebanon, Senegal, Finland, Portugal and Spain.

During the presentation, UNESCO discussed the four dimensions of press freedom: freedom, pluralism, independence and safety of media professionals, together with gender equality, as the key components to consider when addressing legal and institutional guarantees for media freedom. UNESCO recognizes that for effective press freedom a media environment that is legally free, open to public debate and provides for pluralism and independence is essential.

The Moroccan National Press Syndicate commented that UNESCO’s conceptual framework for press freedom, namely, its Media Development Indicators is a useful reference tool for the analysis of press freedom in Morocco.

In his opening remarks, the Moroccan Minister of Communication, Mustapha Khalfi, called the conference a space for open and free dialogue allowing new ideas and proposals for the media reform in Morocco. He affirmed that: “The objective of the conference is to promote press freedom in Morocco. We cannot conceive democracy without a free press.”

The conference coincides with the national consultation on the Moroccan draft press code, which was made public on 18 October to be adopted by the Parliament in December. A session was allocated to the draft press code during which UNESCO was invited to comment.  

Sweden funds UNESCO to continue its work on freedom of expression

Wed, 10/12/2014 - 11:23

The new project, “Promoting democracy and freedom of expression”, is both global and regional in scope benefiting people in the Arab region, Africa, South East Asia and Latin America. The project will complement UNESCO’s existing programme in freedom of expression and build upon achievements made through the Sida-funded project “Promoting an Enabling Environment for Freedom of Expression: Global Action with Special Focus on the Arab region.”

The project aims to foster peace, sustainable development and democracy through freedom of expression, at the global and regional levels. It includes four expected results:

  • An enabling environment is fostered for freedom of expression, freedom of information and press freedom, both online and off-line;
  • A free and safe environment for journalists is promoted, particularly in post-conflict countries and countries in transition;
  • Journalists exercise professional and ethical standards that contribute to the media’s role as a platform for democratic discourse, including through election reporting and investigative journalism;
  • Women and youth are empowered through enhanced media and information literacy and improved representation in the media.

Main modalities of action will consist of awareness-raising, coalition building, capacity building, promoting legal and regulatory reform, research, and sharing good practices.

The project will be divided into two components: global normative actions promoting awareness and research on world trends in freedom of expression and media development at the international level, and regional and national interventions aimed at building capacity of relevant stakeholders in places where freedom of expression is challenged and democratic space is limited.

Under the project will be the 2017 version of the report on World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development. The new report will track the evolution of trends since the initial report was published in 2014.  The World Trends Report is a comprehensive document written in partnership with UNESCO and an Advisory Group of 27 international experts, drawing on more than 800 quantitative and qualitative sources.

Sylvie Coudray, Chief of Section for Freedom of Expression, says: “the report provides a systematic analysis of trends on the issue of freedom of expression and media development on a global level and has been launched in 10 countries. There is a need for UNESCO to continue mapping and understanding these important trends on this large scale.”

Safety has remained elusive for many practicing journalists, working in both traditional and new media. The safety of media workers is of great concern to society, since it is a prerequisite for preserving the fundamental right to freedom of expression. The UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, led by UNESCO, has become a global point of reference, but much more remains to be done. Therefore many project activities will be address journalist safety.

The safety of journalists is a crosscutting issue that encompasses freedom of expression both online and off-line. Freedom of expression online directly relates to issues of digital security, surveillance, the right to privacy, and access to information, all of which are pertinent to journalists working in the digital age. As Internet-related issues have moved to the forefront of global agendas and as governance structures, legal frameworks, media and communication practices, and business models are reviewed and adapted to fit new digital developments, UNESCO works to ensure that the right to freedom of expression is protected online as well as off-line. The Organization promotes freedom of expression, privacy, safety and universal norms on the Internet as basic human rights – activities focusing on these issues will be vital to the project.

The project will also contribute to UNESCO’s two Global Priorities: Africa and Gender Equality. Finally, the project is in line with, and will contribute to, the UNESCO Operational Strategy on Youth 2014-2021.

UN Secretary General new report endorses freedom of expression for post-2015 development

Mon, 08/12/2014 - 15:21

Titled “the Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet”, the document states that “People across the world are looking to the United Nations to rise to the challenge with a truly transformative agenda that is both universal and adaptable to the conditions of each country, and that places people and planet at the center.”

It continues: “Their voices have underscored the need for democracy, rule of law, civic space and more effective governance and capable institutions; for new and innovative partnerships, including with responsible business and effective local authorities; and for a data revolution, rigorous accountability mechanisms, and renewed global partnerships.”

The report recognizes numerous contributions to the post-2015 development debate, indicating that amongst the points which these have underlined, they have also “called for strengthening effective, accountable, participatory and inclusive governance; for free expression, information, and association; for fair justice systems; and for peaceful societies and personal security for all.”

UNESCO has been prominent among these calls concerning free expression issues to be recognised with the development debate, notably in the World Press Freedom Day Paris Declaration and Bali Roadmap.  Both these documents asked UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova to share their contents with Secretary General Ki-Moon.

In acknowledging receipt of the statements earlier this year, the UN Secretary General communicated to UNESCO that freedom of expression, press freedom, independent media and the right of access to information were of high importance, and should not be lost sight of in the ongoing post-2015 deliberations.

Predating the release of the SG’s new report, UNESCO’s 29th session of the intergovernmental Council of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC)  agreed in November on a decision that expressed disappointment that there was “no specific reference to the right to freedom of expression and information and its corollary, media freedom.”

The Council was responding to the UN Open Working Group’s list of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) where number 16 is: “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”  Goal 16.10 elaborates: “ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements.”

The IPDC Council urged Member States to ensure that freedom of expression, free, independent and pluralistic media, and media development are integrated into the universal Post-2015 Development Agenda. A report to the council elaborated the work of the secretariat in regard to the status of freedom of expression as both a means and an end in sustainable development.

The “Road to Dignity” report signals that the SDGs will finalized be at a special Summit on sustainable development in September 2015. It proposes the possibility to maintain the 17 goals put forward by the UN’s Open Working Group, and to “rearrange them in a focused and concise manner that enables the necessary global awareness and implementation at the country level”.

UNESCO member states at the 37th General Conference of its member states recommended, in Resolution 64(v), that “the importance of promoting freedom of expression and universal access to knowledge and its preservation - including, among others, through free, pluralistic and independent media, both offline and online – as indispensable elements for flourishing democracies and to foster citizen participation be reflected in the post-2015 development agenda”.

The call for freedom of expression to be at the heart of the SDGs was also made by UNESCO at the WSIS+10 event in Geneva during 2014, as well as at a large number of other events.

Besides UNESCO, many civil-societal groupings have been pushing for a clearer statement within the UN on the link between free expression, press freedom and sustainable development.

 An international coalition of non-governmental media development actors has urged the inclusion of these issues in the post-2015 development agenda, including in the Nairobi Declaration on the Post 2015 Development Agenda issued by the African chapter of the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD) – an international body bringing together over 200 media development actors.

The GFMD coalition has endorsed UNESCO in taking leadership over coordinating the monitoring of any media-related indicators for the post-2015 agenda.

Seminar on Localization of Media and Information Literacy Kit in the Middle Eastern and Northern Africa (MENA) region

Mon, 08/12/2014 - 14:29

The seminar was organized from 1 to 2 December, 2014 at Hotel Fairmont, Nile City Cairo. 45 delegates including policy makers, curricula experts and teachers from 9 countries (Algeria, Egypt, Qatar, Libya, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia and Yemen) joined this seminar and deliberated on the strategies to adapt MIL in their respective countries.

The seminar was opened by the Director of UNESCO Office and Egyptian Minister of Higher Education delegated by the Deputy Secretary General of the National Commission of UNESCO in Egypt.

UNESCO Cairo Office engaged some experts to prepare the MIL kit which contains material on media and information literacy (MIL) that could be used in the MENA region. These materials were produced with some audiovisual materials. This kit was reviewed by the participants of the seminar.

In general, the MIL kit was approved and appreciated by the participants. They have raised some issues including adding more contents and more information from the Arab World in the kIt. It was recommended that all the materials in the MIL kit must be in Arabic language. Other recommendations include: Establishing an Arab network for MIL, outlining a pan-Arab strategy for MIL, opening Arab Chapter of The Global Alliance for Partnerships on Media and Information Literacy (GAPMIL), organizing a meeting for all the Arab Ministers of Education with the experts and inclusion of MIL curricula in the secondary school education in each country.

UNESCO Internet study and conference welcomed at Berlin event

Thu, 04/12/2014 - 15:01

The event in Berlin was co-hosted by the EastWest Institute and Federal Republic of Germany, Foreign Office. It was attended by UNESCO’s Director for freedom of expression and media development, Guy Berger.

“There was great interest amongst participants in the research that UNESCO is doing into online access to information and knowledge, free expression, privacy and ethics,” said Berger.

Many delegates expressed interest in contributing to the process, including the March 3-4 2015 conference on the Study, he added. They saw links between UNESCO’s concerns and their own discussions which covered topics including surveillance, privacy and big data, as well as on governing and managing the Internet.

Berger was a speaker in a session titled “Managing policy barriers that limit access to information for innovation and education

In his remarks, the Director proposed a human-rights based approach to the topic, explaining how the right of access to information is also relevant to the post-2015 development agenda. He further outlined how international standards require that any blocking and filtering of access to information should only be exceptional, and should correspond to recognized safeguards such as being necessary and proportional.

Safety of Somalian journalists addressed at an event in Mogadishu

Wed, 03/12/2014 - 17:04

Speaking at the opening session, Mustafa Duhulow, Minister of Information of the Somalia Federal Government, said, “The dialogue aimed to address the safety of journalists, which is one of our key challenges in Somalia. It is an opportunity to hear how other countries solved issues of security and safety of journalists providing examples of best practices.”

Mohammed Ibrahim, Secretary General of National Union of Somalia Journalists (NUSOJ), noted that “the provisional constitution of Somalia guarantees freedom of expression.” However, statistics gathered since 2011 indicate that thirty journalists have been murdered, two of the incidents being reported in 2014. Three were wounded in the same year with five media houses closed and thirty-one journalists have been arrested. Only two incidents have been resolved. According to the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ), Somalia is among the most dangerous countries to work in as a journalist in the world.

The dialogue session, embracing the spirit of the commemoration of International Day to end Impunity celebrated on 2 November, also addressed issues of impunity of perpetuators of crimes against journalists. The two-day dialogue session contributed towards dialogue among media practitioners and security forces, exchanging international best practices on safety of journalists and projecting a way forward by drafting a national plan of action. This national plan of action, agreed upon during the dialogue session, will act as a guide in initiating the implementation of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity in Somalia. The priorities of the national plan of action are:

  1. raising awareness on the role of the media  in reporting on security/terrorism and development;
  2. fostering unity, networking, advocacy skills and knowledge sharing among journalists in South Central, Puntland and Somaliland;
  3. opening lines of dialogue and engagement between media, government and key state institutions (police, judiciary, parliament, army) with a common strategy to  deal with the media;
  4. developing safety and guidelines and protocol and carrying out training;
  5. enhancing media capacity on ethical reporting.

The Somalia Media Support Group (SMSG) was supported by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), Free Press Unlimited, International Media Support (IMS), Fojo Media Institute, Relief International and UNESCO.

UNESCO joins UN to celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Wed, 03/12/2014 - 16:24

Throughout human history, technology has always impacted the way people live. The industrial revolution ushered in a new age of technology that raised the standards of living of people around the world and their access to goods and services. Today, technology is built into every facet of daily living. The emergence of information and communications technologies have dramatically increased connectivity between people and their access to information, and further raised living standards.

ICTs have indeed changed the way people live, work and play. However, not all people benefit from the advances of technology and the higher standards of living. This is mainly because not all people have access to new technologies, and not all people can afford them.

There are currently over 1 billion people living with some form of disability. Around the world, persons with disabilities not only face physical barriers but also social, economic and attitudinal ones. Furthermore, disability is associated with 20 per cent of global poverty, of which the majority live in developing countries. In spite of being the world’s largest minority group, persons with disabilities, as well as the issue of disability, have remained largely invisible in the mainstream development frameworks.

Since 1992, the annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

The observance of this year’s Day provides an opportunity to further raise awareness of disability as a cross-cutting development issue. The theme of this year's commemoration, “Sustainable Development: The promise of technology” is timely, as it marks the conclusion of the period of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGS) in 2015 and the launching of the new development framework of sustainable development goals (SDGs).

The 2014 commemoration of IDPD will work to harness the power of technology to promote inclusion and accessibility to help realize the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in society and shape the future of sustainable development for all.

Three sub-themes chosen will focus on the promise of technology in:

  • Disability-Inclusive Sustainable Development Goals,
  • Disaster Risk Reduction and Emergency Responses, and
  • Creating Enabling Work Environments.

A special session will be organized by UNESCO and DESA on 3 December 2014 to present the New Delhi Declaration issued by the participants of the international conference entitled “From Exclusion to Empowerment: Role of ICTs for Persons with Disabilities”, which took place from 24 to 26 November 2014 in New Delhi, India. The conference provided a forum to explore the choices and opportunities available to people with disabilities. Particular attention will be given to education, information and knowledge, as well as economic empowerment through improved access to work and more social inclusion. 

One hundred and thirty speakers from around the world are to address issues related to sustainable development, accessibility and technological solutions, as well as access to information and knowledge for persons with disabilities using ICTs. Participants will also make recommendations on the appropriate use of ICTs in favour of persons with disabilities. Other events scheduled during the conference include We Care, a festival of short films and documentaries on the theme of the Conference, drawing attention to the multiple abilities of persons with disabilities; and an exhibition of innovative assistive technologies and ICTs for persons with disabilities.

UNESCO strengthens legal support to media through specialized training for future judges

Wed, 03/12/2014 - 16:07

As an integral part of phase two of the overall activity “Legal Support to Media”, the training aimed at better acquainting young judges with media laws and the regulatory context in Jordan, with particular attention to online media laws, in comparison with international standards. Additionally, recommendations were compiled to feed into the design of the future network of specialized lawyers.

In the context of recent developments within the media sector in Jordan, namely the amendment of the Press and Publication Law leading to the closing of hundreds of websites, the need for legal support to media professionals has been identified as part of an overall development plan. In September 2013, UNESCO Amman started with phase one towards achieving a long-term goal to support media through a network of specialized lawyers to defend journalists, media activists, bloggers and other media professionals in court.  

During the first phase of the project, a specific training for young lawyers was organized to familiarize them with international standards and national laws and regulations in order to better represent their clients in court. Moreover, an Action Plan for best solutions and recommended actions towards achieving freedom of expression in Jordan, with emphasis on Internet freedom and news websites was developed. 

During the current phase of the project, a coaching period for the trained lawyers took place including actual court presence and deliberations on current cases involving media. In May 2014 a training camp for law students from five national universities was organized on media laws in Jordan.

In addition to the training cycle, an online platform is currently being created to serve as the sole comprehensive source for media laws and regulations in Jordan. The portal will provide detailed information needed for journalists, lawyers, and various media stakeholders to better understand the legal context related to media and freedom of expression in Jordan. The website will be updated and managed by the network created throughout the project.

Future phases in the project will include a workshop on creating synergies among the trained groups and with media stakeholders, and a Training of Trainers workshop (TOT) that will extend into a peer education initiative at local universities.

This project is funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) in its goal to promote an enabling environment for freedom of expression, with a special focus on the Arab Region.

Background information

UNESCO is known as the “intellectual” agency of the United Nations. At a time when the world is looking for new ways to build peace and sustainable development, people must rely on the power of intelligence to innovate, expand their horizons and sustain the hope of a new humanism. UNESCO exists to bring this creative intelligence to life; for it is in the minds of men and women that the defences of peace and the conditions for sustainable development must be built. UNESCO’s mission in Jordan is to work with the government of Jordan and other stakeholders to provide effective high quality educational, scientific, cultural and communication programmes.

For more information about the work of UNESCO in Jordan, please visit UNESCO's Office in Amman website.

International media law standards fuel the Asia Rounds of the Price Media Law Moot Court Competition in Beijing

Mon, 01/12/2014 - 10:59

The Moot Court Competition, a simulated court hearing used for pedagogical and research purposes, was co-organized by the Beijing-based Renmin University School of Law, its Asia-Pacific Institute of Law and Civil Law, and its Commercial Law Legal Science Research Center, in collaboration with the University of Oxford’s Programme for Comparative Media and Law Policy (PCMLP), and with the support of the UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).

Eleven teams from the top law schools in China and one team from the Philippines argued over a complex simulated case dealing with issues concerning freedom of expression in the cyberspace, online content regulation, social media and Internet Service Provider ISP’s responsibility.

Applying comparative and international legal standards, the participants showed impressive argumentative skills to a moot bench composed by top jurists and law practitioners from three continents, including Professor Monroe E. Price, Director of the Center for Global Communication Studies at the Annenberg School for Communication of the University of Pennsylvania; Mr Xiongshan Cai, Senior Legal Manager of Tecent; Mr Mark Stephens, internationally renowned lawyer and Chair of the University of Oxford’s PCMLP; as well as Mr Willem F. Korthals Altes, Senior Judge in the Criminal Law Division of the District Court of Amsterdam.

After a two-day heated and fair competition on legal arguments, the University of the Philippines got the first award, and the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) of China the second post. The finalists, together with the semifinalists (the Shandong and Peking universities from China) will take part to the global Price Media Law Moot Court Competition to be held in April 2015 in Oxford, United Kingdom.

Mr Raphael Lorenzo A. Pangalangan, a senior graduate from the winning team, credited the success to their great efforts and teamwork. “What I enjoyed the most about this event is the communication of so many different views of points on the issue,” he said. The runner-up team members from China said that the two-day competitions deepened their understanding about the case and of the underlining issues at stake.

Mr Andrea Cairola, Adviser for Communication and Information at UNESCO’s Beijing Office, congratulated all the participating teams, remarking that the Moot Court Programme is not just a simulation, because the legal principles the exercise has been dealing with are very much real and essential for the real world. The realization of these fundamental principles is the basis of the United Nations, and of a peaceful and just human coexistence.

Closing the competition, Professor Price said that it has been really moving to see such kind of institution-build around a set of ideas and a set of principles related to the rule of law. “The way the [legal] profession developed internationally has increased understanding between countries and peoples,” he added.

The Renmin Law School had applied to IPDC for support to the Moot Court Competition, and its project proposal was approved by the IPDC Bureau at its 58th meeting in March 2014. IPDC is the only multilateral forum in the UN system designed to mobilize the international community to discuss and promote media development.

Alliance calls for strong global gender and media agenda

Thu, 27/11/2014 - 09:00

“We cannot talk about equality, good governance, freedom of expression and sustainability when women are effectively silenced in and through the media, and where new technologies are used to undermine the human rights of women and women journalists,” noted the International Steering Committee (ISC) of GAMAG, a network of 500 media and media development, unions and civil society organisations across the globe.

The GAMAG-ISC, which held its first meeting in Geneva from 4-5 November 2014 under the auspices of UNESCO and ISESCO, said the right to communicate; access to information, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) is integral to sustainable development. Currently, GAMAG said, “this issue is glaringly missing from the seventeen SDG’s and the 169 targets that will replace the Millennium Development Goals next year.”

Research conducted by the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) shows that women constitute a mere 24% of news sources. A global study by the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) shows that women only constitute 36% of reporters and a quarter of media decision-makers. A range of studies shows a growing gender gap in access to, and ownership of ICTs. New media is also fuelling new forms of violence against women and girls ranging from stalking and trolling to human trafficking.

Threats and violence against media workers in general are well-documented, especially with regard to deadly attacks, by organisations like the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF). But there is no group collecting data on security threats to women journalists globally. Attacks against female media workers are only reported anecdotally, if at all, by international media support organisations.

Provisions that GAMAG wants included in the SDG’s include:

  • Women’s equal and effective participation and freedom from violence in all areas of media decision-making and practice.
  • Women’s equal access to media ICTs and their benefits.
  • The right to safety and bodily integrity in the digitally mediated public sphere.
  • Fair and balanced gender portrayal and occupational representation of women in the media.
  • Sensitive, fair and rights-based coverage of violence against women and girls.
  • Mainstreaming of gender in media and ICT policy and training curricula.
  • Gender, media and information literacy training, education and campaigns.   

Launched after a watershed UNESCO and partners-led conference on gender and the media in Bangkok in December 2013, GAMAG seeks to harness new opportunities, and address new challenges, for gender equality and women's empowerment in and through media in a knowledge society context which has radically transformed media architectures.

The GAMAG-ISC is concerned that progress towards media that support gender equality and women’s rights objectives remains painfully slow. GAMAG will amplify and give visibility to existing key regional and global initiatives on gender and media to hasten the pace of change. Further, GAMAG will take action to ensure that women’s communication rights gain prominence in on-going Beijing+20 review events, the post-2015 debates and the World Summit for the Information Society (WSIS)+10.

Priority actions identified by GAMAG include: 

  • Advocacy on women’s empowerment and gender equality in the media and through media to ensure better representation of women in the board rooms and behind editors’ desks.
  • Acting to better protect women journalists on and offline and on the frontline from violence and abuse. This will include gathering a solid foundation of data on violence against women in the media.
  • Developing and curating research, policies and best practices, as well as reporting guidelines for promoting gender responsive and aware media content and practice.
  • Gathering and sharing policies, content and good practices that advance gender equality in and through the media and ICTs.
  • Furthering research on women in the media.

The ISC agreed on working mechanisms, including regional and theme sub-committees on Youth; Research; Capacity Building and Training; Advocacy, Communications, Campaigning and Outreach; Media, ICT Policies, Content and Practice.

For further information please contact:

Strong consensus on the safety of journalists at the IPDC Council

Wed, 26/11/2014 - 10:46

The 39-member Intergovernmental Council of UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development for Communication (IPDC ) has emerged in recent years as  a laboratory of ideas on journalists’ safety. As highlighted by Mr Getachew Engida, Deputy Director-General of UNESCO to Council, the IPDC is also the birthplace of the landmark UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.

At its 29th Session on 21 November in Paris, the Council welcomed the fourth Director-General’s Report on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity which tracks the status of judicial inquiries of killings of journalists, media workers, and social media producers who are engaged in journalistic activities and who are killed or targeted in their line of duty, as condemned by the Director-Genera

The Council’s Decision on the report urged “all Member States to encourage the inclusion of freedom of expression and its corollary press freedom in the post-2015 sustainable development goals, in particular the safety of journalists and issue of impunity as a key gateway to achieving Goal 16 which seeks to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development and access to justice for all through achieving a reduction in violence and crime”.

However, the Council also noted with regret that, in two-thirds of the cases in which journalists have been killed, no information has been submitted to the Director-General despite requests to the Member States concerned to voluntarily provide updates.

According to the Report, no information was provided on 382 out of 593 cases of killings of journalists which happened between 2006 and 2013.

The IPDC decision urges Member States to promote the safety of journalists by taking advantage of the knowledge, experiences and opportunities available through participation in the UN Plan of Action. It notes that the Plan encourages “the development of national processes and mechanisms involving all stakeholders to achieve an environment for the safe exercise of free expression”.

The newly adopted Decision further acknowledged the research report “World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development” from 2014 by UNESCO and in particular Chapter 4 on Safety. It welcomed “the continuation of such research as a UNESCO knowledge resource for governments, media, academia, international community and civil society”.

The support for journalists’ safety by Member States on the IPDC Council is being echoed at the UN General Assembly where its Third Committee has also renewed its commitment on the issues by adopting a new Resolution on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity at its 69th session. This Resolution, which has still to go to the General Assembly,  calls on all stake holders to cooperate with UNESCO and to active exchange information to support the implementation of the UN Plan of Action to improve safety of journalists and to end impunity.

UNESCO Deputy Director-General acknowledges Valeri Nikolski for his outstanding contribution to IPDC

Tue, 25/11/2014 - 17:01
The Intergovernmental Council of UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) took the opportunity during its 29th session to congratulate Valeri Nikolski for his outstanding contribution to the Programme as he prepares to retire from the Organization at the end of November.

Do media matter in the post-2015 development agenda?

Tue, 25/11/2014 - 09:20

The 39 Member States on the IPDC Council were responding to a brief on how the IPDC Secretariat helped to mobilize international advocacy for the inclusion of free, independent and pluralistic media in any development agenda that postdates the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs have so far provided what is regarded as a universal framework for assessing the progress of nations in eradicating poverty, eliminating gender equality and providing affordable education for all, among other things.

The briefing, contained in a status update report, highlights the media-related gaps in the outcome document of the UN Open Working Group which had been tasked to collect and collate testimonies from various development actors, including UN Member States, on possible goals, targets and indicators of sustainable development.

Building on Resolution 64 of the UNESCO General Conference in November 2013, the report appealed to the IPDC members to “constantly and consistently advocate for the inclusion of free, independent and pluralistic media as a key target and indicator of sustainable development”, particularly as the outcome document now moves into the arena of domestic and UN General Assembly discussions.

In particular, the report pointed to the IPDC’s track record in producing and contributing evidence-based insights to the ongoing consultations on the post-2015 development agenda, and argued that the Programme’s “focus on knowledge is paving way for the international media development community to become more visible to the key architects of international development policies, and thus enrich the mainstream sustainable development debate”.

After debating the report, the IPDC Council agreed on a decision that expressed disappointment with the fact that “media and freedom of expression are not at the heart of the future development agenda but only in the periphery”. The Council urged Member States to ensure that freedom of expression, free, independent and pluralistic media, and media development are integrated into the universal Post-2015 Development Agenda.

IPDC elects first ever woman Chair

Thu, 20/11/2014 - 16:25

The Council of the International Programme for Development of Communication (IPDC) also elected a woman Rapporteur, Ms Diana Heymann-Adu (Ghana), a senior lecturer from the Ghana Institute of Journalism.

Council members also nominated Algeria, Bangladesh and Peru for the three IPDC Bureau Vice-Chair positions, as well as Denmark, Niger and Poland for the three Bureau regular membership seats.

The changes were made at the 29th IPDC Council session on 20 November at UNESCO HQ (Paris, France). The Member States of the Council thanked the outgoing Chair, Mr Jyrki Pulkkinen (Finland), who led the IPDC for the last two years, for his commitment to the Programme and his successful chairmanship.

IPDC was set up in 1980 as the only intergovernmental programme in the UN system mandated to mobilize international support in order to contribute to sustainable development, democracy and good governance by strengthening the capacities of free and independent media. Since its creation, IPDC has channeled about US$ 105 million to over 1,700 media development projects in some 140 countries.

IPDC’s Council is composed of 39 Member States elected by UNESCO’s General Conference. It meets once every two years to reflect on the latest trends in the media development field and give direction to the Programme. The Bureau of eight Member States meets once a year and allocates support to grassroots media projects around the world.

UNESCO’s Information for All Programme contributes to the successful outcome of an international conference on electronic governance

Wed, 19/11/2014 - 13:33

With a theme of ‘The Rise of Data Post-2015 – Empowered Citizens, Accountable Institutions”, the event generated considerable interest amongst governments, academics and practitioners attracting papers from 330 authors from 50 countries as well as hundreds of attendees. The conference was structured around daily plenary sessions, six thematic parallel tracks which ran over three-days as well as 8 thematic and 13 invited sessions.

The conference’s outputs will be distributed by UNU-EGOV to inform the preparation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda being developed under the leadership of the United Nation System.

UNESCO/IFAP’s contribution to the event comprised co-organization and co-chairing of the conference track on “Ethics, Accountability and Transparency”, as well as two UNESCO-sponsored sessions. The Ethics, Accountability and Transparency Track included tutorials, presentations of national experiences from Portugal as well as academic and practitioner papers which highlighted experiences from developed and developing countries. The first UNESCO-sponsored session “Ethical Challenges of the Information Society” presented work being undertaken to develop an Information Ethics Training Kit for policy makers that builds on activities in the framework of the WSIS C10 Action Line “Ethical Dimensions of the Information Society”. The session provided an opportunity to conduct a tutorial for policy-makers and receive feedback on the Training Kit. The second UNESCO-sponsored session, “Building Knowledge Societies: Lessons from the Mekong River”, brought together senior government officials from Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam to share experiences on national strategies, lessons and achievements towards equitable and inclusive knowledge-based development.

The ICEGOV2014 event represented the 4th step in the UNESCO/IFAP – UNU collaboration that begun last year. This collaboration commenced in July 2013 with the organizing of a one-week Executive Training on Foundations of Government Information Leadership in Kampala, Uganda for senior policy makers from Burundi, Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda. In November 2013, a similar event was held in Yangon, Myanmar, attracting policy makers from Mongolia and Myanmar. During the ICEGOV2013 organized in Seoul, Korea in October 2013, UNESCO/IFAP co-organized several sessions including a Town Hall-style plenary debate on Building Knowledge Societies.

ICEGOV2014 also provided opportunities for Mr. Paul Hector, UNESCO Programme Specialist with responsibility for IFAP’s overall operations worldwide, to explore opportunities for collaboration with a variety of participants working in the IFAP priorities areas. According to Mr. Hector, “ICEGOV was an excellent opportunity to meet with a number of new potential partners working on many of the policy, programmatic and technical issues central to building knowledge societies. I was able to share and explore areas of complementary activity particularly around accessibility, multilingualism and information ethics”.

Speaking about the prospects for UNESCO/IFAP - UNU-EGOV cooperation, “As further concrete steps we are exploring engagement of UNESCO/IFAP at ICEGOV2015 in Tunis and how to incorporate the UNESCO/IFAP Information Ethics Training Kit and other courses into our Government Chief Information Officer training”, said Dr. Tomasz Janowski, Head of the United Nations University Operating Unit on Policy-Driven Electronic Governance and Coordinator of ICEGOV.

The intergovernmental Information for All Programme was established in 2001. It provides a platform for international policy discussions, cooperation and the development of guidelines for action in the area of access to information and knowledge. The Programme supports Member States to develop and implement national information policy and strategy frameworks.

UNESCO launches a manual on freedom of expression and public order

Wed, 19/11/2014 - 11:52

The manual aims to give members of the security forces the tools that would enable them to both accomplish maintenance of order in compliance with human rights, and interact in a professional manner with journalists while guaranteeing their security.

At the regional celebration of the International Day, civil society representatives and media professionals coming from North African countries - Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya - discovered the new manual, which is a reference in terms of security sector reform, specifically regarding human rights, freedom of expression and security of journalists.

The project under which the manual has been produced is the first of its kind in the Arab world. Implemented in cooperation with the Tunisian Ministry of Interior Affairs and funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Tunisia, it aims at improving the relations between members of security forces and journalists, which is crucial during periods of democratic transition. The ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Tunisia, Hans van Vloten Dissevelt, attended the launch event.

The training workshops were conducted this year at three locations in Tunis: The National Training School for managers of safety and National Police in Salambo, the National Center for Lifelong Education of the National Security in Carthage Birsa, and the Training Centre for National Security in Tunis Bouchoucha. They were also held in four other regions of Tunisia: Kairouan, Sfax, Zarzis and Kef. All trainings included sessions attended by both members of security forces and journalists.

The Manual on freedom of expression and public order is currently available in French. English and Arabic versions are under preparation and will be released soon.

>> To download the manual in French please click here.


Media and information literacy training for religious leaders and dialogue practitioners

Tue, 18/11/2014 - 17:00

As a first step for dialogue, people should have an accurate understanding of different religious communities and beliefs—and their preconceptions about these are shaped in large part by the media and information – offline or online. This requires:

  • Those who promote dialogue therefore should strengthen the way they engage with the media and online, in order to promote more accurate information.
  • Those who consume news and information must be media and information savvy—they should understand media and information dynamics and reflect on the way that representations affect their perceptions.

Two different training courses will be offered in each of two cities, Nairobi, Kenya from 15-18 November 2014 and New Delhi, India from 22 – 25 November 2014. More than 80 religious leaders and interreligious dialogue practitioners will take part.

The key local partners are the Global Network of Religions for Children in Nairobi, Kenya and Sarv Dharma Sansad in New Delhi, India. T

One of the courses is titled, “Media Wise: Empowering Responsible Religious Leadership in the Digital Age”.  It is based on an adaptation of the UNESCO Media and Information Literacy Curriculum. UNESCO is partnering with KAICIID to pilot this new curriculum.  

Religious leaders are consumers and transmitters of information. This curriculum was tailored by KAICIID and UNESCO, enabling religious leaders to: understand the news media; assess how news and information shape perceptions about religions and cultures; find quality information; and address misinformation when they see it.

The  second course is titled, “Speak Up: Social Media and Communications Training for Interreligious Dialogue Practitioners”. Too often, messages of positive action and peace are drowned by narratives of violence and breaking news about conflicts conducted in the name of religion. This course will help dialogue practitioners to use social media channels and to engage with journalists to tell their stories of peace.

KAICIID partners will work to monitor their progress and development over the next six months. Evaluations from trainees and trainers will help to shape and enrich the final curricula and training courses.

“KAICIID is delighted to announce its engagement in the all-important field of media,” said Faisal Bin Muaammar, KAICIID Secretary General. “Religious leaders and dialogue practitioners should be empowered to use media with skill and savvy, and speak out for peace. Two KAICIID products seeking to support this change are being field tested next month. KAICIID hopes in the near future to offer these trainings around the world.”

KAICIID is piloting two training curricula that will address media engagement in two ways.

Globalization and technological innovations have changed the media landscape and the way we interact with the media. Social media platforms offer every person the opportunity to broadcast their messages to the world. The Internet allows ever more people to connect in new ways, and provides a tremendous opportunity for dialogue. At the same time, it makes it easier for misinformation and even hate speech to be broadcast and shared. KAICIID seeks to bolster more accurate representations of all faiths by building the skills of the key players in interreligious dialogue: religious leaders and dialogue practitioners.

As has been noted by the Irina Bokova, Director-General, UNESCO - “…We need greater media and information literacy, to ensure everyone has the right and ability to speak out… We must also make the most of media for dialogue and mutual understanding, within and across cultures, especially with young people, to challenge all stereotypes and all incitement to hatred”