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Director-General condemns murder of journalist João Miranda do Carmo in Brazil

Wed, 24/08/2016 - 16:08

“I condemn the murder of João Miranda do Carmo,” said the Director-General. “I call on the authorities to investigate this crime and bring its perpetrators to justice so as to protect journalists’ ability to continue contributing to informed public debate.”

Do Carmo, who owned and edited a local news website SAD Sem Censura, was shot on the evening of 24 July at his home in the city of Santo Antônio do Descoberto.

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.

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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…”

 

Evolution of Internet provides an opportunity for innovation in Kenya

Mon, 22/08/2016 - 11:09

The Kenya Internet Governance Forum 2016 theme replicated the global IGF theme, Enabling Sustainable and Inclusive Development, but maintained topics that were specific to the current Kenyan Internet Governance landscape such as Internet and elections, block chain technology and its impact on industries, cybersecurity, perceptions and regulation of Over the Top (OTT) services and innovations.

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) provides a soft policy direction, which does not make decisions but offers a forum for discussion and advice on Internet policy. “National IGFs become stronger platforms to influence and shape policy,” says Alice Munyua, from the Africa Union Commission. “The national forum is stronger in making recommendations that directly shape the Internet Governance policy environment.” National IGFs also feed into regional and global Internet Governance to inform policy direction at these levels.

KIGF 2016 focused on opportunities and Internet regulations around innovation and use of Internet towards the General elections. UNESCO, a long-time supporter of the Kenya IGF noted the importance of digital literacy in inclusive and sustainable development. Jaco Du Toit, Adviser for Communication and Information in UNESCO’s Regional Office for Eastern Africa, urged the government to look into the use and relevance of technologies, as well as to empower people living with disabilities to participate in the creation of a knowledge economy and in enabling innovation. Principal Secretary of Innovation in the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology Victor Kyalo made it clear that the government will continue to support innovation and is not interested in regulating the practitioners.

Live interaction was prompted by the discussions on how the ICT sector can make use of the blockchain technology to bring innovation to other sectors in the economy, such as agriculture and finance, and promote transparency, especially in matters of public interest. Participants also raised the question on whether most African entrepreneurs can afford to participate in the innovation global market.

The full report about KIGF 2016 will be available on kictanet.or.ke and intgovforum.org upon release.

About the Internet Governance Forum

The Internet Governance Forum is an open forum that brings together stakeholders on equal footing to discuss the evolution of the Internet. It was established by the World Summit on the Information Society in 2006. Since then, it has become a regular and leading global multi-stakeholder forum on public policy issues related to Internet governance. Its UN mandate gives it convening power and the authority to serve as a neutral space for all actors on an equal footing. As a space for dialogue it can identify issues to be addressed by the international community and shape decisions that will be taken in other forums. IGF can thereby be useful in shaping the international agenda and in preparing the ground for negotiations and decisions.

Director-General condemns killing of journalists Mubarak Al-Abadi and Abdulkarim Al-Jerbani in Yemen

Fri, 19/08/2016 - 11:05

“I condemn the killing of Mubarak Al-Abadi and Abdulkarim Al-Jerbani,” the Director-General said. “Journalists must be allowed to carry out their vital work keeping the public informed. All have a legal duty to recognize the civilian status of media workers and ensure their safety, including in times of conflict, in keeping with the Geneva Conventions,” added Irina Bokova.

Mubarak Al-Abadi, a contributor to Al Jazeera television and Suhail TV, was killed on 5 August while covering fighting in the north of Yemen.

Abdulkarim Al-Jerbani, a photographer and reporter for several media in Yemen, was killed on 22 July while reporting on fighting in the northwest of the country.

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.

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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…”

 

Director-General denounces killing of journalist Mustafa Saeed in Iraq

Thu, 18/08/2016 - 09:54

“I condemn the killing of Mustafa Saeed,” the Director-General declared. “Saeed’s death is a tragic reminder of the responsibility shared by all to respect the civilian status of war reporters in keeping with the Geneva Conventions. The media must be protected as it fulfils its role in facilitating the free flow of information, which takes on vital importance in times of crisis or conflict”

Mustafa Saeed was killed on 14 August while covering fighting in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

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…”

 

 

Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information visits Honduras and Mexico

Wed, 17/08/2016 - 11:39
This month, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information Frank La Rue visited Honduras to promote Internet Universality Principles, and Mexico to present the Spanish translation of UNESCO’s global report on digital safety for journalism.

Director-General condemns killing of journalist Widad Hussein Ali in Iraqi Kurdistan

Tue, 16/08/2016 - 15:35

“I condemn the murder of Widad Hussein Ali,” the Director-General said. “I call on the authorities to investigate this crime and bring its perpetrators to trial so as to protect freedom of expression and freedom of information in the region.”

Unidentified armed individuals abducted Widad Hussein Ali in Dohuk city and he was found dead by a roadside a few hours later. Ali was a freelance journalist. He notably reported for the Roj News website.

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…”

 

 

 

Uganda government officials trained on web accessibility for persons with disabilities

Wed, 10/08/2016 - 16:55

It is in this regard, that UNESCO in collaboration with National Information Technology Authority-Uganda (NITA-U) supported Uganda Technology and Management University (UTAMU) to carry out, a 6-day training workshop for Government Officers in charge of websites and web based services in Uganda to obtain additional knowledge and skills on Web Accessibility.  The workshop took place from 22 to 24 June 2016 and from 27 to 29 June in Kampala, Uganda.

The six day training aimed at creating awareness and equip Government Officers with skills on how to develop and maintain ICTs enabled services such as the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS), Electronic Tax Platform (E-Tax), Integrated Personnel and Payroll System (IPPS), Health Management Information System (HMIS), Government of Uganda Web Portal, National ID Project, E-Voter Register, and other websites of government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), and make them accessible to persons with disabilities in Uganda.

One participant remarked that "this training workshop has been very helpful and has given me a glance into what Persons with Disabilities go through to access websites and web based services. Now I appreciate the efforts being taken by NITA-U in collaboration with UNESCO to make web content accessible to them".

The training workshop attracted the participation of 80 Government Officers comprising of Information Technology Officers, Webmasters and Public Relations Officers drawn from Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in Uganda.

With the use of appropriate technology, people with disabilities can easily accomplish daily living tasks, communicate, study, work, engage in recreational activities, find gainful employment and this can go a long way in helping them achieve greater independence and enhance their quality of life. Whereas technology enables able bodied people to significantly improve their personal and professional lives, for persons with disabilities, technology helps them to overcome obstacles which prevent them from accomplishing even the most ordinary tasks.

This activity was organized within the framework of UNESCO’s Actions to enable universal access and promote the rights of persons with disabilities in Uganda and is a direct follow-up to the audit of inclusive ICTS for Education in Uganda, funded under the UN Partnership to Promote the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD) in Uganda. UNESCO works together with UNICEF to increase access to information and inclusive education for persons with disabilities through greater use of assistive technology and creating an enabling environment for the use of Assistive Technology to ensure Inclusive Education and Access to Information.

Director-General denounces Balochistan terrorist attack that claimed many civilian lives including journalists Mehmood Khan and Shehzad Ahmed

Wed, 10/08/2016 - 10:30

I condemn the killing of Mehmood Khan and Shehzad Ahmed,” the Director-General said. “There can be no justification for violence targeting civilians. The loss of these media professionals in the brutal terrorist attack in Quetta undermines citizens’ ability to sustain informed debate that is the bedrock of good governance and dialogue,” Ms Bokova added.

Mehmood Khan, a cameraman for Dawn News, and Shehzad Ahmed, a cameraman for Aaj TV, were reporting at the time of the bomb blast on a gathering of mourners following the murder of the president of the Baluchistan Bar Association earlier in the day.

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…”

 

 

 

Media and humanitarians in crisis situations: Lessons learned from the Zika outbreak

Tue, 09/08/2016 - 16:59

It is part of UNESCO’s initiative to promote and protect media’s principles, even in times of epidemic and crisis, to guarantee pluralism of sources and content, editorial independence, as well as to empower local populations with reliable information on how to stay safe.

From 14 to 15 July 2016, UNESCO held a workshop entitled “Inform, Engage, Investigate: Media and humanitarians in crisis situations – Lessons learned from the Zika outbreak” in Panama City, Panama with the participation of the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

This workshop represented the first regional initiative aimed to address the relationship and the issue of cooperation between media and humanitarian organizations in times of crisis. The large gathering of public, private and associative media outlets, major humanitarian organizations and numerous UN agencies ensured a great representation of regional actors involved in journalism, risk communication and emergency response.

The workshop reunited over 50 high-level participants from public, private and associative media organizations and associations (International Association of Broadcasting, TV Globo, Voice of America, World Association of Community Radios, World Federation of Science Journalists), leading NGOs (Caritas Internationalis, National Societies of Red Cross, Refugee Education Trust, Save the Children, World Vision),  as well as numerous UN agencies (UNIDSR, UNICEF, OCHA, PAHO, WHO, World Bank), part of the UN Country Team and RedLAC Communication Group (www.redhum.org). More than 15 countries of the Latin America and Caribbean region were thus represented.

The methodology, consisting of 3 thematic sessions – each composed of a plenary, group work and conclusions – ensured a dynamic and participative atmosphere where every point of view could be shared and heard. Each session covered a specific angle related to risk communication: how to communicate scientific knowledge through the media, make sure it reaches the right population and ensure that they will fully understand and react upon that information? How can humanitarians effectively reach and engage affected populations through the media? How to preserve media’s principles in emergency and disaster situations and use investigative journalism to expose potential corruption around aid?

During the 3rd session placed under UNESCO’s lead, participants shared their respective experiences, expertise and expectations regarding the ways to guarantee media’s watchdog function during emergencies. It has been clearly established that humanitarian organizations rely strongly on media regarding the efficiency of their aid plans. Improved coordination on risk communication between media and humanitarians can significantly enhance disaster-preparedness and response. However, it is important to reaffirm the independence of media. Media have to be considered as free partners and not as mere channels and relays for humanitarian’s communications strategies. Media have to be able to produce their own content when covering a crisis through investigative journalism – and not settle to only broadcast or publish humanitarian’s statements of the situation. Although humanitarian organizations can be used as sources of information due to their expertise, it does not exempt them from being investigated by the media. This is especially true when dealing with aid’s management and use of financial resources.

The workshop closed on an intervention form Mr. Walter Cotte – Director of IFRC Americas – followed by conclusions and final remarks from Mr. Frank La Rue – Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information at UNESCO. During his speech, Mr. Cotte promoted communications as means to foster community engagement in issues that affect us, as citizens. “Communication is inherent to us as human beings” he said, “[…] we need more capacity to understand how communications can help improve our behaviors: […] to participate to the solving of issues that affect our societies”. Mr. La Rue stressed the importance of the editorial independence of media and investigative journalism regarding the transparency of disaster-prevention and relief public policies, as well as use of resources by local authorities and external organizations. According to Mr. La Rue: “[…] the press also plays a supervision role. Investigative journalism should be pursued at all times, even in situations of crisis. Journalists are part of the thermometer that verifies the efficiency of policies and funds.” And added: “Because consequences of crisis are always exacerbated when resources are misused.”

By the end of the two days, the participants unanimously highlighted and agreed on the following outcomes: They recognized the necessity for a steady coordination between the media and humanitarian organizations before, during and after an emergency situation. They understood the importance of training for media and humanitarian organizations to better acknowledge each other’s issues, intentions, interests and on how to work together during disasters. They underlined as a requirement, prerequisite to disaster response, as well as fundamental rights the defense of editorial independence, media pluralism and access to information.

Given the success and positive feedback from the participants, there is a request to UNESCO to replicate the workshop on a sub-regional and international level to continue synergizing the relations between media and humanitarians.

UNESCO supports the development of pluralistic and independent media in Latin America

Tue, 09/08/2016 - 16:38
UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information Frank La Rue attended an International Meeting of Parliamentarians held in Bogota, Colombia, this week. The meeting was co-organized by UNESCO’s Office in Quito in cooperation with local, regional and international partners under the theme: "Building an enabling environment for the development of pluralistic and independent media in Latin America".

Media forums on rights, safety and security of journalists held in Kenya

Mon, 08/08/2016 - 11:11

It is in this regard that UNESCO provided support to KCA to hold three media forums on rights, safety and security of journalists in Kenya: on 08 July 2016 in Machakos County, on 15 July 2016 in Mombasa County, and on 21 July 2016 in Nakuru County. The forums aimed at sensitizing journalists about their rights and the need for basic safety and security awareness at work, given the increasing patterns of conflicts and threats against journalists in Kenya.

According to a new study report commissioned by UNESCO titled: Supporting Safety of Journalists in Kenya: An assessment based on UNESCO’s Journalist Safety Indicators, more than 60 journalists, seven of them women, were assaulted, attacked, harassed and intimidated in the course of their work last year in Kenya.

As a continued measure to mitigate on the increased threats to the rights, safety and security of journalists in Kenya, Mr Janak indicated that the Kenya Correspondence Association (KCA) would continue to monitor and intervene in cases where any political or other actors threatened journalists. He further cautioned journalists against forging alliances with various competing political camps as this will expose them to a lot of danger, especially in the wake of the forthcoming elections in August 2017.

The forums were attended by 75 journalists working in print and broadcast media from Machakos, Mombasa Nakuru Counties in Kenya. During forums, participants were introduced to the following topics:

  • policy and legal measures/instruments governing the media sector;
  • emerging challenges faced by journalists in the 21st century; and
  • safety and security measures to consider when reporting in volatile and conflict zones and situations during elections.

This activity was organized within the framework of UNESCO’s Main Line of Action to promote an enabling environment for freedom of expression, press freedom and journalistic safety, and to generate knowledge and awareness of freedom of expression and media development in Kenya.

Zika information campaign: Improving media coverage on the virus, epidemics and crisis

Wed, 03/08/2016 - 15:23

It is part of UNESCO’s initiative to guarantee media’s principles, such as pluralism of sources and content, editorial independence, impartiality as well as access to information even in times of epidemics and crisis. This will actually also multiply the effectiveness of disaster-preparation and disaster-relief plans. In this regard, media pluralism is essential as it provides diverse platforms for communication. In particular, the power of radio: its proximity to the population and its ease of access to information in real time, provide a unique opportunity to reach the largest audience in the world in the shortest possible time. In situations of crisis and emergency, radio is specifically suited to reach remote communities and vulnerable people and to effectively disseminate prevention messages, as highlighted during the celebrations of World Radio Day 2016 – last 13th of February.

To contribute to the fight against Zika, UNESCO mobilized its partners’ radio network all across the Latin American and Caribbean region. Informative and preventive radio spots against the spread of the virus were produced in collaboration with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The spots available in the 4 languages of the LAC region (English, French, Portuguese and Spanish) were distributed to UNESCO’s broadcasting partners all over the Latin America and Caribbean region. By providing valuable resources to public, private and community radio stations, UNESCO communicated on the risks associated with the virus and promoted healthy behaviors among the populations in afflicted areas.

Leading international broadcasting networks and organizations - such as the International Association of Broadcasters (AIR-IAB), the Caribbean Broadcasters Union (CBU), Radio France Internationale (RFI) and the World Association of Community Broadcasters (AMARC) among others - have advertised, distributed and broadcasted the spots. UNESCO Member States’ National Commission from the Latin American and Caribbean region were also involved. In total, 789 radio stations joined the campaign throughout the whole region.

The radio spots against Zika virus were actually distributed from International Association of Broadcasters Central Office to all institutional and individual members in 18 countries of the three Americas, representing over 17,000 radio stations. They have received positive responses from a large number of stations that make up the National Association of Broadcasters in Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Panama, Peru, Costa Rica and El Salvador. Same success for the World Association of Community Broadcasters (AMARC), over 280 of their partner radio stations have broadcasted the preventive radio messages in their local community. Radio France Internationale (RFI) who possesses strong ties with over 2,000 stations in the region has likewise advertised and distributed the UNESCO audio files.

In Brazil, where the Zika epidemic is particularly virulent, Agência Radioweb Brazil – an online radio plateform – has uploaded the spots on its homepage. They were downloaded and broadcasted by about 450 radio stations in the country, covering 394 cities with a total potential audience of 53,6 million people (see the map).

The campaign allowed local broadcasters to access quality and scientifically accurate preventive content free of any charge. Their audience were empowered with reliable information about the virus, its transmission modes, as well as concrete and simple means to protect themselves from it. The short spots were broadcasted during prime time slots throughout the day by private, public and associative radio stations to ensure maximum coverage.

Acknowledgments: This successful campaign was made possible thanks to the strong support and involvement from our partner broadcasting networks (AMARC, AIR-IAB, Public Media Alliance, CBU) who advertised and shared the spots to all their members and partners across the Latin America and Caribbean region. We also would like to extend our thanks to Radio France Internationale (RFI) for promoting the campaign to their partner radio stations in the region. Sincere gratitude to our colleagues from the Delegations and UNESCO National Commissions of the LAC region for their cooperation in liaising with governments and relevant ministries to publicize our action. We are also very grateful for the International Federation of the Red Cross and the World Health Organization who shared their expertise and experience to help develop the radio preventive message with accurate content about the virus.

IPDC Chair joins debate about research for media development

Tue, 02/08/2016 - 16:18

The discussion took place at the conference of the International Association for Media and Communication Research in Leicester, UK. It was organised by the Centre for International Media Assistance (CIMA), in partnership with University of Westminster academic Winston Mano and media consultant Susan Abbott.

“In many countries, you can't do media developing in a brief three-year period,” said Ms Shala.

The IPDC Chair expressed reservations about development aid that was administered in a “hit & run” or fire-fighting mode.

Against the background of IPDC’s concept of knowledge-driven media development, she noted the importance of research in assessing the role of public access to information for the Sustainable Development Agenda.

“UNESCO and CIMA could cooperate in bringing academics and media development practitioners together,” the IPDC Chair proposed.

Ms Shala encouraged further discussion on the subject at the 4th world gathering of the Global Forum for Media Development in Jakarta, Indonesia, 20-22 September.

An IPDC workshop the day before, on 19 September, will seek to operationalise SDG indicator 16.10.2 on public access to information, investigating co-operation over the scope and data sources of the indicator.

CIMA Senior Director, Mark Nelson, told the meeting that total international development aid was estimated at about $135 p.a., of which only an estimated $625m went into media development support.

“When we talk about media development, a lot of people think we mean (only) training,” he observed. However, it entailed work on both political and technical dimensions, and it required building an enabling environment with an engaged society, an effective public sector, and a dynamic private sector.  

One participant in the meeting called for attention to the political economy of knowledge about media development. Another underlined that researchers need good networks, as well as economic and political capital, to get data on media development.

A third participant noted that it can cost a lot to buy data such as that concerning audience research, and called for more sharing of knowledge.

Researcher collaboration is important, in order to share "tricks" on how to get access to data holdings, stated another person.

Further points made were that research is needed into the motivations of donors, and that gender-sensitivity is essential in investigating the field.  

The general view was that a great deal can be learnt about media development and its outcomes, if academia could be better networked, and capacitated, to expand and deepen their research.

Experts promote gender equality in media for sustainable development

Tue, 02/08/2016 - 12:25

Albana Shala, chair of UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication moderated the panel. Participants included prominent scholars Carolyn Byerly, Anita Gurumurthy, Lisa McLaughlin, Aimée Vega Montiel, Gitiara Nasreen, and Katharine Sarikakis. 

Ms Shala indicated IPDC’s involvement in developing the SDG indicators, and initiatives in advancing their operationalisation. She noted the low quality of media stories that challenged gender stereotypes, indicating that much needed to be done. 

Many of the panellists regretted that suggestions which GAMAG had made in the process of formulating the SDGs and related indicators had not been taken up with the UN.

In particular, they pointed to the absence of issues of women’s access to media and communication within Goal 5 on gender equality.

Howard University’s Carolyn Byerly said the targets of ending discrimination and violence against women and girls could not be accomplished without having the means to communicate.

Women’s ability to communicate on key SDG issues is marginalized by media ownership, and the lack of access to media decision-making posts, she said. Women also continue to be marginalized as subjects and sources in media and new media.

From the University of Vienna, Katharine Sarikakis said that media should be considered among the institutions to be strengthened under SDG 16, and that this required addressing the issue of women within them.

Miami University’s Lisa McLaughlin criticized what she called an instrumentalism of harnessing media to reach women about the SDGs, rather than recognizing women’s rights to communicate.

The Executive Director of IT for Change, Anita Gurumurthy, warned against ICTs being “instrumentalised as magic bullets, and decoupled from fundamental freedoms”.  She observed that women who speak out, including on the Net, are often seen as trespassers in men’s spaces, and are intimidated into self-censorship as a result.

Gitiara Nasreen, University of Dhaka, questioned the SDG dissemination process, saying that many women did not know about them or saw them as a top-down initiative.

Aimee Vega Montiel, of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, expressed the hope that UNESCO could help influence the development of SDG indicators to include GAMAG suggestions.

Responding to her, UNESCO’s Guy Berger replied that the global processes had largely been completed, and that there were opportunities to include media considerations in more generic indicators such as the share of women in positions on corporate boards.

He said that there would be opportunities at national level for applying more dedicated indicators on media and gender, which could help track progress in reaching the SDGs.

UNESCO promotes research report to communications scholars

Tue, 02/08/2016 - 11:46

The occasion was one of three events organised by UNESCO at the conference of the International Association for Media and Communication Research, held in Leicester UK.

UNESCO director for Freedom of Expression, Guy Berger, introduced the session, saying “It is UNESCO’s ambition to see the Report become a prominent flagship internationally, building upon existing success in this study being referenced in UN resolutions and academic scholarship”.

After a summary of the contents of the Report by UNESCO associate expert Reeta Pöyhtäri, four discussants commented on the Report’s chapters.

How the Report deals with online hate speech, was assessed by Anne Mollen of Universität Bremen, Germany, who commended the work for pointing out the complexities of identifying “hate speech”. She also pointed to difficulties in expecting counter-speech to succeed in contexts of high polarisation.

Peter Tiako Ngangum, Universite Libre Bruxelles, Belgium discussed the chapter on the protection of journalism sources. He welcomed the analysis but challenged UNESCO to turn the chapter’s recommendations into reality.

The chapter on the role of Internet intermediaries was analysed by Kate Coyer, Director of the Civil Society and Technology Project, Center for Media, Data and Society, Central European University, Hungary. She highlighted the complexity of the role played by these companies in regard to mediating expression issues.

In regard to the chapter on the safety of journalists, more work could be done to define and conceptualise the topic, said Sallie Hughes, Associate Professor, University of Miami, USA.

Jennifer R. Henrichsen, researcher at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, USA, outlined the plans to mentor scholars from the South during the research for the 3rd World Trends Report which will be published in 2017.

The Report is being compiled by the Universities of Oxford (UK) and the Witwatersrand (South Africa), who won a bid to conduct the research.

Internet Universality on the agenda at international research conference

Mon, 01/08/2016 - 09:06

Speakers assessed the challenge of balancing international standards for the Internet, with the diverse local dynamics of regulation, culture and ethics.

The debate was based on the concept of Internet Universality, endorsed at the 38th General Conference of UNESCO Member States in 2015.

Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development, Guy Berger, unpacked the concept and its history. He explained that UNESCO believes that for the Internet to be universal and to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals, the essential guiding principles are human rights, openness, accessibility and multistakeholder participation (summarized in the acronym ROAM).

The session deliberated on whether these principles entailed more specific international standards that should be applied in every country, and how diversity could be recognized at the same time.
Online privacy served as a microcosm of the issue.  Some discussants called for countries to have state regulation of internet companies in order to ensure respect for the right to privacy online. Others expressed caution over this use of power, and proposed that the matter should rather be an issue in the realm of ethical choices and self-regulation.

Another view was that state regulation could be good in some regions, and not in others, and so priorities and strategies could vary accordingly.

It was also noted that there could be key differences depending on the online issue being addressed – for example, health, gambling and intellectual property each had distinct qualities, and different implications for who should exercise power over the particular field.

The participants further commented on issues arising from the UNESCO study “Keystones to foster inclusive knowledge societies: Access to information and knowledge, freedom of expression, privacy and ethics on a global Internet”.

Issues of regulation, or not, for open access content, and access for minorities, were additional matters seen as important.

Digitisation of historical records was recognized as key for access to information and knowledge. On speaker noted that, in the face of financial challenges, partnerships with Internet companies were tempting, but at the risk of producing archives that were limited to paid-access for the public.

An alternative cited was an experience in the Netherlands where volunteers linked to Wikipedia made possible the digitization of unique historical records of Indonesian heritage with no barriers on access.

The case served to show the value of sharing good practices as a way of making Internet Universality a reality.

Several academics noted that they had included the Keystones study into their curriculum, and they further welcomed UNESCO’s ongoing research series of publications on Internet freedom.

For further information, contact X.Hu(at)unesco.org

Academics urged to study safety of journalists

Fri, 29/07/2016 - 09:54

The occasion also served to publicise a new network for sharing knowledge projects about the safety of journalists. Hosted initially by the University of Sheffield’s Centre for the Freedom of the Media (CFOM), with a dedicated Facebook page, the network can be joined by sending an email  to the Centre.

Guy Berger, Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development at UNESCO, opened the discussion, saying: “There is growing momentum worldwide to secure safety for journalism, which means that research on this problem is highly relevant.

“By being part of a network and community of research practice, academics can make impact, mobilise resources for field work, and discover new avenues to disseminate their findings.”

His message was underlined in remarks by Albana Shala, chair of UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC). She noted that IPDC would consider support for research into journalism safety, and drew attention to the Director General’s report to be presented to the IPDC Council in November.

In one of the panel presentations, CFOM’s Prof Jacqueline Harrison described a research project, supported by IPDC, which is interviewing scores of editors and journalists in six countries including their views on the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.

She called for research that went into depth, beyond presenting the statistics of attacks on journalists, and motivated for co-operation in a research field that was currently fragmented.

Another speaker, Dr Mireya Marquez Ramirez of Universidad Iberoamericana stated that “safety starts at home”. She therefore proposed investigations into the practical needs of journalists and how media proprietors regarded these.

Prof Basyouni Hamadi of Qatar University reported research findings which found that the credibility of journalists was a factor in terms of whether they were attacked. He unpacked many influences which limit the professional autonomy of journalists.

Dr Chris Paterson, of Leeds University, urged research into the impact on international law from extra-territorial attacks by governments, which is the subject of his recent book “War Reporters Under Threat” (Pluto Press).

Audience participants Prof Ivor Gabor encouraged research into journalists’ associations and safety, and Prof Aimée Vega Montiel highlighted the need to assess the conditions for women journalists in particular.

From UNESCO, Reeta Poyhtari summarised UNESCO’s research and related events, as well as the Organisation’s 10 point agenda for scholarship on journalistic safety

Director-General denounces killing of journalists Abdelqadir Fassouk and Khaled al-Zintani in Libya

Thu, 28/07/2016 - 17:31

“I condemn the killing of Abdelqadir Fassouk and Khaled al-Zintani,” the Director-General said. “The media play an important role in ensuring informed public debate and the safety of media workers must be guaranteed, even in times of conflict.

Abdelqadir Fassouk, a photojournalist and correspondent for satellite news channel Arraed TV, was shot while covering clashes in the Libyan city of Sirte, on 21 July.

Experienced freelance journalist Khaled al-Zintani was killed while reporting on fighting in Benghazi on 23 June.

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.

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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…”

 

 

UNESCO expresses concern with situation of journalists in Turkey

Thu, 28/07/2016 - 15:50

On the right to freedom of expression, the Director-General is aware, at the present moment, of the arrests and warrants for arrest of 42 journalists, cancellation of licenses of 24 broadcasters, decertification of another 25 media houses and blocking of website. 

While Turkey is in a declared state of emergency, the role of a free press is fundamental for establishing transparency and accountability on the situation in the country at this critical moment.

Director-General condemns murder of journalist João Miranda do Carmo in Brazil

Wed, 27/07/2016 - 16:04

“I condemn the murder of João Miranda do Carmo,” said the Director-General. “It is important that the authorities investigate this killing and bring its perpetrators to justice. Impunity for crimes against journalists threatens media workers’ ability to do their work and the public’s access to independent and diverse sources of information.”

João Miranda do Carmo who ran a local news website, SAD Sem Censura, was shot outside his home in the town of Santo Antônio do Descoberto.

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.

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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…”

 

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