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Special Academic Session on Safety of Journalists

Mar, 24/02/2015 - 10:11

Silencing the journalist through death is the ultimate act of censorship, which averages to more than one journalist killed every week. The situation is further aggravated by other threats ranging from intimidation and harassment to restrictive policies and arbitrary detention, including attacks on women journalists. Equally worrying, more than nine out of ten cases of killing of journalists remain unsolved. The end result is a vicious cycle of impunity and a chilling effect on society in a climate of fear and self-censorship.

Nevertheless, until recently, journalists’ safety has seldom been a topic of systematic and in-depth academic research. Therefore, in collaboration with the Global Communication Association (GCA) Conference, UNESCO is organizing a Special Session on Safety of Journalists during the 10th GCA Conference taking place in the city of Berlin, Germany from 16 -19 July 2015.

This Special Session is the first in a series of dedicated workshops organized by UNESCO, aiming to strengthen cooperation with academia in line with the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, and to establish an academic research agenda on journalists’ safety. In the Special Session, different aspects of journalists’ safety and issue of impunity will be discussed. The Special Session invites theoretically informed papers/presentations covering issues such as

  • Media development, human rights and journalists’ safety
  • Societal causes and effects of journalists’ (un)safety
  • Legal frameworks and journalists’ safety
  • Journalistic practices, working conditions and journalists’ safety
  • Journalism education, professionalism and safety
  • Journalists’ safety in conflict and non-conflict situations
  • Specific safety threats (gender-specific, topic specific such as war or crime reporting)
  • Psychological effects of safety threats
  • Measuring journalists’ safety

As the UN agency with a specific mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom, UNESCO actively promotes the safety of journalists and those who produce journalism. UNESCO has championed the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity which is the first concerted effort within the UN system to address these issues via a multi-stakeholder and holistic approach. The UN Plan aims towards the creation of a free and safe environment for journalists and media workers in both conflict and non-conflict situations, with a view to strengthen peace, democracy, and development worldwide. The UN Plan is a global reference point on safety of journalists and the issue of impunity. The UN Plan is referenced in landmark resolutions adopted the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council.

Details concerning submission dates and requirements can be accessed through the conference’s website at http://gca2015.com/call-for-papers/ . For more information concerning the Special Session on Safety of Journalists and of UNESCO’s work in the area of safety of journalists, please contact Mr. Ming-Kuok Lim (mk.lim(at)unesco.org)

Djibouti takes steps to tackle gender equality in media

Lun, 23/02/2015 - 16:18

This is an important step for our country,” explains Zeinab Mohammed, journalist and member of the Association.

One year after the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in 1999, the government of Djibouti appointed a delegate to review and analyze all of Djibouti’s gender-related policies. By 2003, political participation showed signs of improvement introducing, for the first time, the election of seven women into Parliament.

Legislative and other gender equality measures have been building up during the years leading to the landmark challenge that is now attempting to introduce gender-sensitive policies throughout the broadcast and press system. Although a number of initiatives continue to promote the role of women in Djiboutian society, many measures have not applied to the media sector.

This is why gender equality in the media is a priority area for the association,” said Zeinab Mohamed, “A lot still needs to be done in terms of gender equality."

Djibouti is characterized by a state-owned radio and television station, Radiodiffusion-Television de Djibouti (RTD).  Two newspapers are published in Djibouti, namely Nation (in French) and Al Qarn (in Arabic).  Djibouti also has a news agency, l’Agence djiboutienne   de l’Information which publishes only on the Internet.

Members of the Journalists’ Association concluded that UNESCO’s Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media (GSIM) would be used to measure gender equality in content and media operations to promote gender equality and fair gender representation within media organizations and content.

The Association intends to use the results of this research based project to expand its fields of action and promote gender equality and empowerment of women in and through the media.

IFAP Addresses Well Being in Digital Media

Jue, 19/02/2015 - 09:48

This landmark event, organized by the Israel National Commission for UNESCO and its National IFAP Committee along with the Department of Education at Ben Gurion University, the Sammy Ofer School of Communication at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya and the Open University of Israel will be held from 17 - 19 February 2014 in Beer Sheba, Israel.

According to Mr Getachew Engida, UNESCO’s Deputy Director-General, the Forum comes at a critical juncture. “We are living through times of incredible changes with new opportunities for addressing development challenges… But, we are also seeing new digital divides and new forms of exclusion that raise hard ethical questions about balance, rhythm and harmony, indeed about well-being. So we must give all people particularly young women and men the tools and opportunities to ensure that they are not controlled by technology but rather harness its full power for their own fulfillment and the benefit of all. Furthermore, as we look towards the post-2015 period, I think the outcomes of the Forum can help to shape more effectives strategies and frameworks for enlisting information and communication technologies to implement the global sustainable development agenda”.

The conference will take place in two phases consisting of a two-day expert conference followed by a one-day conference aimed at raising awareness amongst the general public.

The conference of experts will provide a forum for sharing and comparing the latest research and emerging global experiences and trends in this field. In particular, their deliberations will seek to deepen understanding of how the long-term interactions between digital media, on one hand and individuals and society on the other, are affecting well-being. These experts will also focus on the development of indicators and the establishment of a program to measure and assess well-being.

The one-day event for general audiences will be structured around lectures, panel sessions and debates that will culminate with the launching of the Forum on Well Being in Digital Media. The event is expected to attract media and generate broader awareness and understanding of the related challenges amongst the wider public.

The Forum on Well Being will serve as a global observatory supporting ongoing monitoring and measurement, collating research and policy documents on digital well-being. It will also host an online community of practice that links researchers, policy makers, users and industry actors to share information and develop responses that enhance well-being for individuals and society.

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.

More information:

UNESCO launches a national dialogue on freedom of expression and safety of journalists in Morocco

Mar, 17/02/2015 - 11:04

The series of meetings aims at creating a space for an open dialogue between stakeholders on the issue of freedom of expression and the means to enhance the judiciary safety of journalists. In particular the dialogue will help to create a common and shared understating of the notion of freedom of expression, to foster sharing of experiences and good legal practices to promote freedom of expression, and to develop an advocacy strategy to protect journalists and fight against impunity of crimes against journalists.

The first meeting will be held in Rabat on 18 and 19 February and will introduce the notion of freedom of expression. It will then be followed by the analysis of the draft Moroccan press code and its impacts for the safety of journalists.

This activity is made possible thanks to the support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

UNESCO launches Maghreb Network of Media and Information Literacy

Mar, 17/02/2015 - 10:57

Since the launch of UNESCO’s Media and Information Literacy Curriculum for Teachers in 2011 in Fès, Morocco, there has been an increased demand for the creation of a pool of expert trainers on Media and Information Literacy in a view to widespread the teaching of MIL in schools and integrate MIL into the extra-curriculum activities of young people in the Maghreb countries.

In this context UNESCO’s Rabat Office in partnership with the Arab Institute of Human Rights put in place together a plan to create and launch the first regional network of MIL expert trainers. Eighteen future expert trainers from various profiles (teachers, journalists, media professionals, librarians, etc.) duly selected by UNESCO are meeting this week in Tunis for three days to update their knowledge and expertise on MIL, enhance their skills in pedagogical practices of MIL, and agree on a plan of action to widespread the integration of MIL into the life of young people in the Maghreb countries.

Media and Information Literacy recognizes the primary role of information and media in our everyday lives. It lies at the core of freedom of expression and information since it empowers citizens to understand the functions of media and other information providers, to critically evaluate their content, and to make informed decisions as users and producer of information and media content.

This activity is made possible thanks to the support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

World Radio Day: UNESCO Rabat gets youth on air

Vie, 13/02/2015 - 16:57

Experts will speak “in the words of youth” to large audiences through radio, broadcasts made by youth and for youth, celebration spots ... This year the radio goes through a big makeover!

Hit Radio, a partner for the event, will broadcast celebration spots throughout the Day, inviting young people to talk about their ideals, their analyses, their realities and the link between them and this media. Vox pops that Louaï Hafa, radio journalist and advocate at e-Joussour went collecting with his audio recorder.

The Moroccan media landscape is not staying behind. Atlantic Radio, a major partner, will devote seven minutes in prime time to UNESCO, the Day and Moroccan youth. Seven minutes of celebration, analyses and exchanges.

Radio for youth and by youth

E-Joussour took this opportunity to propose an unprecedented initiative in Morocco: two one-hour programs, one in French and one in darija, broadcasted on Internet radio in Morocco and the Maghreb-Mashreq region. During the two hours of programming, a presenter, a commentator, young guests engaged in the NET MED Youth project in Morocco, the analysis of UNESCO, will come together to reflect, discuss and share impressions of youth. The themes: youth´s freedom of expression on the radio, youth´s representation and new possible forms of expression… Find the programme on e-Joussour.

J20Café: a debate-café to close the celebration

Among these new forms of expression, Marwan Elaarj has created and given value to one: the J20Café. Organized by J20.MA, in partnership with the HIBA Foundation and in collaboration with UNESCO, J20Café is a debate forum that aims to facilitate a space for interaction with the public. The objective of J20Café is to address various current socio-cultural issues related to youth in Morocco. On the occasion of World Radio Day, J20Café chose, for its 5th edition, to open a debate on radio, youth and freedom of expression in the framework of UNESCO’s NET-MED YOUTH project. Thus, the questions that arise are:

To what extent can we speak of freedom of expression?
Does the emergence of new radios guarantee a more free participatory speech?
What could be the alternatives to traditional radio?

So many questions that will find answers! For this purpose, come to the Renaissance Theater on 13 February, 360 Avenue Mohammed V, 10000 Rabat, Morocco, or join the event´s page on Facebook

Towards UNESCO’s World Atlas of Languages: Final Recommendations for the Action Plan

Mié, 11/02/2015 - 15:52

According to this document, stakeholders such as governments, academia and professional community, industry, media and content producers, and others should, among others:

  1. Formulate, contribute and adopt sustainable national language policies on the crucial issue of linguistic diversity and multilingualism, including promotion, safeguarding, representation, technological development, especially for the improvement of access to cyberspace for disadvantaged communities;
  2. Encourage developments on language technology systems and tools with extensive multilingual capabilities, with regard to operating systems, search engines and web browsers and to consider facilitating affordable Internet access in public service institutions.
  3. Strengthen international cooperation and building partnerships to support capacity-building for the production and distribution of local and indigenous content in digital and open forms and work to provide necessary resources to alleviate barriers for a different language users, including marginalized communities.

Recalling the importance of upscaling the existing tool for promotion and monitoring of linguistic diversity and multilingualism, experts recommended to develop UNESCO’s World Atlas of Languages along the following steps over the next two-year period:

  1. Establishment of an Advisory Group composed of professionals and experts within the relevant fields, respecting geographical representation and gender balance;
  2. Development of a mechanism and sustainable tools for monitoring language vitality and for the assessment, promotion and preservation using innovative technological solutions;
  3. Promotion of multilingualism in the context of the international frameworks such as Post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals and on the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) outcomes implementation and seek support for other international events.

Once operational, the UNESCO’s World Atlas of Languages should contain a full data on languages, policies, regulations, technical recommendations and best practices in this field. It is expected that a new globally accessible and open online platform will be used for monitoring and promotion of the world’s languages online, strengthen cooperation and knowledge sharing using open and inclusive technological solutions among international, regional and national language institutions.

The international expert meeting, held from 28 to 29 October 2014 in Paris, was organized by UNESCO in cooperation with the Government of Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug-Ugra (Russian Federation), the Permanent Delegation of the Russian Federation for UNESCO and the Russian Committee of the UNESCO Information for All Programme.

UNESCO’s Media Development Indicators introduced in China to support local media

Mar, 10/02/2015 - 12:11

Concepts contained in the MDIs such as public service broadcasting “are relevant to fulfill the information needs of many local communities and vulnerable groups” said Dr. Zhongda Yuan from the Beijing Normal University, one of the workshop’s facilitators. Dr. Yuan has also translated into Chinese the IPDC-endorsed publication Media Development Indicators: A framework for assessing media development in close consultation with the UNESCO Beijing Office.

This workshop was organized within the framework of the IPDC project “Improving the Media Landscape in the Ethnic Minority Area of Yunnan Province”. This project also involved an MDI-based research activity in four pilot areas of the Yunnan province which comprises 26 ethnic groups and more than 25 local broadcast outlets, in additional to a provincial broadcaster, catering to 47 million inhabitants. The research was conducted in the form a surveys among both media professionals and their audiences.

The survey polled a sample of 115 media professionals, 75% of which were from minorities. The results highlighted the need to increase locally-produced content which is scarce due to lack of adequate staffing and resources in local media outlets. They also suggested the need to introduce media self-regulation and to enhance production skills. Concerning safety of media workers, about five per cent of the Survey’s respondents said that they had been harassed or threatened because of their profession, while one reporter stated having been subject to a physical attack, and another having been forced to reveal a source.

The findings of the survey portrayed a working environment in which small media outlets have to fulfill obligations towards local authorities. They also revealed a trend of mounting commercial pressure, with an increased part of the running budget of local media outlets needing to be generated by advertisement, leaving them struggling for economic sustainability in a context of competition with bigger media players.

From the survey involving a sample of the media audience it emerged that the majority of viewers of local television outlets prefer watching “TV news and information programs” (69% of respondents), followed by “arts programs” (11%). These results contrast with audiences’ preferences for provincial and national outlets, where entertainment programmes are most commonly sought. A clear majority of the audiences of local television outlets surveyed would like to see more locally-produced content broadcast (83% of respondents), reflecting the voices of ethnic minorities (65%), poor people (28%) and women (24%).

Such request for locally-produced content can be explained by the fact that “people want information relevant to them and their livelihoods” explained Mr. Haining Wu, Secretary-General of the CSFFTAP. The survey’s conclusions have been shared with relevant national authorities and CSFFTAP is planning to organize a “high-level” roundtable discussion later this year. CSFFTAP’s Secretary-General hopes that these activities will contribute to addressing current challenges of multilingual and local media outlets.

As a follow up to the survey’s recommendations, CSFFTAP has organized a first training workshop in Kunming, focusing on TV Program Production in Ethnic Minority Languages, and benefiting 30 media professionals selected from amongst nine local media outlets. Twelve ethnic minorities (Bai, Dai, Hani, Hui, Jingbo, Lisu, Miao, Naxi, Yi, Wa, Zang, and Zhuang) were represented and 13 of the participants were women.

Introducing the MDI methodology at the workshop, Andrea Cairola, Adviser for Communication and Information at the UNESCO Beijing Office, mentioned the importance of media pluralism and multilingualism to reflect the diversities of society. He also quoted UNESCO’s Director-General Ms. Irina Bokova stressing that: “Every language is equal and linked. Each is a unique force for understanding, writing and expressing reality…It is through language that we make sense of the world and that we can transform it for the better.”

One media professional from an ethnic minority who attended the workshop in Kunming said that “this kind of training and the MDI framework are really useful and can be applied in our daily work.” Other participants expressed the wish that such trainings and assessments contribute to advocating for policies supporting the flourishing of local media.

The CSFFTAP had applied to IPDC for support with a project proposal that was approved by the IPDC Bureau at its 57th meeting in March 2013. IPDC is the only multilateral forum in the UN system designed to mobilize the international community to discuss and promote media development.

First Meeting on promoting the rights of persons with disabilities in Uganda through the use of inclusive technologies

Mar, 03/02/2015 - 15:39

Fifteen participants representing government institutions, Disabled Persons Organisations (DPOs), academic institutions and the UN System attended the Policy Board and Management Committee meeting with the aim to provide technical input to the activities of the 2-year project.  The implementation of the two year project will be guided by the Policy Board and Management Committee, consisting of all relevant stakeholders in order to ensure that the project is both focused on national priorities and comprehensive in exploring the use of Inclusive Technologies for people with disabilities in Uganda.

In keeping with Uganda’s Vision 2040 and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Articles 9, 21 and 24), this project will be achieved by a two track approach. One track will focus on strengthening the policy environment through the development of relevant policies and guidelines as well as the establishment of an appropriate governance structure. The second track will focus on the development of educational materials in accessible formats. In addition, the programme will engage organizations of persons with disabilities, key government partners (including teachers), information professionals and publishing companies into a multistakeholder coalition to promote the creation and distribution of accessible information, especially educational resources, for persons with visual and hearing impairments in Uganda. The programme will support the coalition in monitoring the implementation of initiatives using of Inclusive technology to advance inclusive education and access to information.

Members of the Policy Board and Management Committee expressed their satisfaction in this initiative as many DPOs and stakeholders working with learners in Uganda, do not know the potential of Inclusive technologies in ensuring Inclusive Education and Access to Information.  

The Policy Board and Management Committee will exist for the period corresponding to the duration of the project (2 years). The Policy Board and Management Committee will meet on a quarterly basis in Kampala, Uganda but will allow for remote participation in using new technologies.

The Innovative use of ICTs for persons with disabilities form part of UNESCO’s actions to enhance the full participation of citizens in the knowledge societies.

With a view to empowering persons with disabilities and assuring the inclusion of disability issues into the sustainable development agenda of Member States, UNESCO, in cooperation with the Government of India, with support of The State of Kuwait, and also international, regional and national public and private partners, organized the first international Conference entitled From Exclusion to Empowerment: The Role of Information and Communication Technologies for Persons with Disabilities held in New Delhi from 24 to 26 November 2014.

The Conference was attended by some 700 participants from 80 countries, alongside with the film festival themed around disability issues, an ICT solutions-oriented exhibition and a special workshop. High-level dialogues were held at plenary level and in 15 parallel sessions, divided into three thematic discussions on partnerships and sustainable development, accessibility and technological solutions, and access to information and knowledge (http://www.unesco-ci.org/ict-pwd/). The Outcome Document – The New Delhi Declaration on Inclusive ICTs for Persons with Disabilities: Making Empowerment a Reality, was developed by the open-ended, multistakeholder and high level drafting group recalling the urgent need for the full and unconditional inclusion of all citizens in the life of societies.

UNESCO kicks off a large-scale media landscape analysis for Jordan

Lun, 02/02/2015 - 16:17

The UNESCO Media Development Indicators framework is applied in countries worldwide to carry out in-depth assessments of their media environment. These assessments result in a series of recommendations aimed at helping policy makers and media development actors to address gaps on the way to a free, independent and professional media environment – the core objectives of the Support to Media in Jordan project.

“The MDI framework is agreed by UNESCO’s Member States and offers a unique research tool to measure what is needed to improve media freedom, independence and professionalism” stated Johan Romare, UNESCO Project Manager for the Support to Media in Jordan project.

Following Tunisia, Egypt and Palestine, Jordan will be the fourth Arab country in which a comprehensive MDI assessment will be completed. The MDI study for Jordan is implemented in partnership with International Media Support (IMS), an international media development organization that has been involved in several MDI assessments worldwide. Biljana Tatomir, Deputy Director of IMS, emphasized that "MDI-based assessments provide a basis for an informed debate between all stakeholders involved in media reform efforts by pointing out achievements as well as areas in need of further improvement. I believe the forthcoming assessment stands a good chance to serve its purpose in Jordan due to expressed interest and commitment by the government, civil society and media stakeholders."

The research team for Jordan includes two international researches and four national researchers with extensive experience in media development and research. The assessment is expected to be published in July. The recommendations from the report will feed into the review process of the Action Plan of the national media strategy, a main activity of the “Support to Media in Jordan” project. Currently, an advisory board for the study is being set up.

The “Support to Media in Jordan” project is part of a broader EU initiative to support civil society and media in Jordan and is implemented by the UNESCO Amman office in close collaboration with the main state and non-state media institutions in Jordan.

UNESCO Global Questionnaire on Internet study: 200 responses received

Vie, 30/01/2015 - 16:14

The questionnaire consultation consists of two components: a global consultation through UNESCO website with 98 responses submitted and a regional pilot one in the Latin America through a portal website of Observacom with 102 questionnaires completed.

The 98 responses and submissions to the global consultation  are submitted by all stakeholders including Governments (14), International Organization (5), Civil Society and NGOs including individual users (44), Private Sector (3), Academia (28), Technical Community (2) and Others (2).

In the regional consultation in Latin America, the actors who participated in the consultation were from the following countries: Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, USA, El Salvador, Spain, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela. According to the record participation stemmed from the following sectors: Civil Society and NGOs, including individual users (32.65%), Academia (36.73%), Private Sector (3.06%), Technical Community (1.02%), International Organizations (3.06%), Government (4.08%), Individual users (19.39 %).

These responses, will feed into a comprehensive Internet-related study in access, freedom of expression, privacy, and ethical dimensions of the information society as well as options for future action, as mandated by UNESCO’s 195 Member States through Resolution 52 of the Organization’s 37th General Conference (November 2013). It will also help with the discussion of the first draft in the forthcoming Multistakeholder Internet Conference: CONNECTing the Dots: Options for Future Actions at UNESCO headquarters on 3-4 March 2015. More information on the Internet Conference is available here

UNESCO thanks all those submitters, whose responses have been well considered and provide solid basis for the implementation of the Internet study. These responses and submissions are therefore published at the below link, for the reference of general public.

Please note that all submitters have been explicitly informed that their responses would be published on UNESCO’s website prior to their submission. The ideas and opinions expressed in their responses and references are those of the submitters; they are not necessarily those of UNESCO and do not commit the Organization.

To access the submission page please click here.

Uptake of Open Educational Resources Supporting the ICT Competency Framework for Teachers

Vie, 30/01/2015 - 10:52

The meeting provided a forum for the sharing of best practices on ICT skills training for teachers across regions and discussed existing OER training materials to support ICT training for teachers. In addition, the discussions included exchange on areas of concern for the EU Reference Framework for ‘digitally competent’ teachers to be developed this year by the European Commission Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS). Experiences at the national level in using the UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers were also discussed in the meeting deliberations.

The ICT CFT is a set of competencies that teachers need to integrate ICT into their practice and professional development to advance student learning. A key area of activity of UNESCO in this domain is to support the use of the ICT CFT harnessing OER-based teacher training materials. OER –are education resources which incorporate a license that facilitates reuse and adaptation without first requesting permission from the copyright holder.

The meeting brought together representatives of the Ministries of Education of Finland, Germany, Kenya, Norway, Portugal, Rwanda, Spain and Turkey as well as experts from the European Commission in Brussels and the European Commission IPTS in Seville, the European SchoolNet, the University of Essen-Duisberg and from the Moscow based UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE).

This meeting was organized by the Communication and Information Sector of UNESCO as part of its Programme and Budget for 2014-2015 to empower Member States through universal access to information and knowledge. It responded to the expectations under the overarching objective of building inclusive knowledge societies.

A Consultative Forum on Open Access for Africa is taking place in Nairobi

Jue, 29/01/2015 - 17:15

Speaking at the conference, Dr Indrajit Banerjee, Director of Knowledge Societies Division of UNESCO, highlighted OA and its context within the broader significance of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as the Knowledge Societies framework and highlighted the roles that OA can play to foster four pillars of the knowledge societies.

The representative of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of Kenya, expressed the fundamental relevance of OA for Kenya in facilitating the knowledge flow between and among all relevant stakeholders. The representative of the Kenyan National Science Foundation stated the significance of OA to foster the core values of the Constitution of Kenya. Reiterating their commitments to OA, other delegates urged the need of redefining the context of advocacy, networking and capacity development for OA in the continent.

The consultation is being organized:

  • to initiate a dialogue between scientists and policy-makers among stakeholders that will lead to the drafting of the NASAC Project Proposal on an Open Access Initiative for Africa;
  • to support the development of science-based advice on Open Access for Africa by the NASAC, with special input by UNESCO and KNAW - the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences;
  • to establish relationships with organizations keen on Open Access and provide evidence to African policy-makers and other stakeholders in Africa working in the area of Open Access;
  • to bring together researchers, academics, scholars, publishers and librarians responsible for the publishing of research to exchange and share their experiences and research results with regards to Open Access;
  • to discuss the new models of scholarly communication based on open access, and the practical challenges encountered and the solutions that should be adopted;
  • to understand/share the experiences, investment and commitment of countries where successful OA has been implemented;
  • to focus beyond building the project and developing recommendations to policymakers — with an ultimate target audience of the African Union (AU).
  • UNESCO promotes Open Access (OA), with particular emphasis on scientific information (journal articles, conference papers and datasets of various kinds) emanating from publicly funded research. Working with partners, UNESCO works to improve awareness about the benefits of OA among policy makers, researchers and knowledge managers. Through its global network of Field Offices, Institutes and Centers, UNESCO facilitates the development and adoption of OA-enabling policies. In addition, UNESCO engages in global OA debates and cooperates with local, regional and global initiatives in support of OA.

UNESCO’s OA programme pays particular attention to African and other developing countries where, notwithstanding important gains in ICT availability, OA prevalence, both in terms of output and usage, remains low.

Strong call for a media safety law in Pakistan

Mié, 28/01/2015 - 16:51

The conference, organized by the Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) and Pakistan Coalitions on Media Safety (PCOMS), was attended by more than 70 international and local representatives consisting of media practitioners, lawyers, political leaders, and human rights activist.

The Minister of Information and Broadcast of Pakistan, Mr Pervaiz Rasheed, Ambassador of Denmark to Pakistan, Mr Jesper Møller Sørensen, Ambassador of Norway to Pakistan Mr Leif Larsen, and Ambassador of Afghanistan to Pakistan, Mr Janan Mosazai opened the conference

The participants of the conference strongly supported the call for better protection for journalists and media workers especially through the adoption a comprehensive media safety law that will help create a safe environment for the media to flourish, to improve the safety of media practitioners, and also the creation of a special prosecutor for crimes against the media.

Mr Altzaz Ahsan, veteran barrister, activist, and constitutional theorist, argued that journalism is a special field where the specificities of the work expose the journalists, media houses, and subjects of the work to certain danger. This warrants a special law dedicated to the issue. Furthermore, substantive responsibility to better protect journalists and media workers has to be placed on the government and that media houses should provide at least some security measures for their journalists

UNESCO’s Programme Specialist from the Freedom of Expression Section, Mr Ming-Kuok LIM was on hand to address the role of the United Nations, specifically UNESCO, in promoting safety of journalists especially within the framework of UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity and other international instruments. He noted that safety of journalists is a complex problem and that it takes the cooperation of all stakeholders to tackle the issue. According to the UNESCO Director-General’s Report on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity there were 48 journalists killed between 2006-2013 which took place in Pakistan.

UNESCO and SciELO launch a new publication on 15 years of Open Access

Mar, 27/01/2015 - 11:10

The title is published to provide a best case practice model that can be replicated in other parts of the world.  UNESCO and SciELO stand committed to support interested countries or a group of Member States to initiate the SciELO model of Open Access journal publication.

Highlighting the significance of the publication, Dr. Indrajit Banerjee, Director of the Division of Knowledge Societies, Communication and Information Sector, UNESCO noted “SciELO was launched four years before the Budapest Declaration, and six years before the Berlin Declaration on Open Access and pioneered the concept of Open Access and brought research to the easy reach of the common people. From 10 journals at a public workshop in São Paulo on its inception year to the current level of 1000 journals and 500,000 freely downloadable articles is a remarkable feat and an example of Open Access approach par-excellence!

Similarly, noting the significance of the publication, Mr Abel Packer, Director of SciELO stated that “the pioneering spirit and scope of SciELO is to improve the quality, visibility, usage and impact of journals that are available Openly. SciELO integrates the functions of indexing, journal performance evaluation, online open access publication and dissemination following international standards of the highest quality.” SciELO is implemented through a network of national collections of journals that extends through 16 countries, most of Latin American and Caribbean plus Portugal, South Africa and Spain.

Following the mandate given to UNESCO in 2009, UNESCO has been working in the field of Open Access to strengthen the organization's clearing-house mandate. The 187th session of the Executive Board approved UNESCO's  strategy for  the  promotion of Open Access to scientific information and research,  which was also adopted by the General Conference at its 36th session. Implicit in the strategy was to disseminate key approaches to Open Access that are not only pioneering but also are path-breaking that set a replicable example to the whole world.  The current publication is published within the framework of the same mandate. 

SciELO (The Scientific Electronic Library Online) is an electronic library of Open Access Journals. It is an integral part of a project being developed by FAPESP - Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo and created in partnership with BIREME - the Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information. Since 2002, the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) also supports SciELO.

Talks at the Guildhall to celebrate the UNESCO Memory of the World Register

Lun, 26/01/2015 - 15:05

The talks, staged by the Council’s Heritage Services in the Bath Guildhall on 14, 21 and 28 January 2015, present the perfect opportunity to learn more about some of the most significant written documents in the history of the world, which are held right here in the UK.

Mr Ben Stevens, Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said on that occasion: “These documents were of great importance in the past and are also of great importance to us today – helping us to better understand the world in which we live.”

The first talk about the Mappa Mundi took place on Wednesday 14 January. It was delivered by Sarah Arrowsmith, the Education Officer at Hereford Cathedral where it is displayed.  This is the only complete example of a large mediaeval world map intended for public display.  It gives us a window onto the world as it was known in the middle ages.  It is drawn on vellum (calf skin) and holds historical, anthropological, ethnographical, theological, biblical and classical images and information.  It presents a view of a world very different from ours. It wasn't intended to help find places. It relied as much on pictures as on words; many of its viewers couldn't read. It was to be treated reverentially. The world is depicted as round and flat. It's populated with such diverse creatures as Adam and Eve, Noah and his beasts, Emperor Caesar Augustus, a man riding a very unrealistic crocodile, and an imaginary being called a Sciapod who shelters himself from the burning sun with one huge foot. Mythological beasts jostle for space. The 12 winds are named and represented by dragons and grotesque squatting figures. Jerusalem is the center of the world. Countries and oceans are squeezed and stretched to fit into the map's circle. The Mappa Mundi is a work of history, zoology, anthropology and especially theology. It reveals how 13th-century scholars interpreted the world in spiritual terms. The map covers all time, from creation to doomsday. Mappa Mundi is on prominent display at the gorgeous cathedral in Hereford, England

On Wednesday 21 January, the Magna Carta was the subject for Seif El Rashidi, the Magna Carta 800 Manager at Salisbury Cathedral.  2015 will be the 800th anniversary of its signing.  Only four copies of the original Magna Carta exist, and one is held by Salisbury Cathedral.  Considered by some to be the most significant document in our history, it set out for the first time the English principles of liberty, law and democracy and had a worldwide influence which endures to this day.  The charter imposed constraints on royal authority in the areas of taxation, feudal rights and justice, thereby limiting unfair and arbitrary behaviour by the king towards his subjects. The Magna Carta was signed in June 1215 between the barons of Medieval England and King John. 'Magna Carta' is Latin and means "Great Charter". The Magna Carta was one of the most important documents of Medieval England. It is regarded as “an icon for freedom and democracy throughout the world”.           

The final talk – to be given by Roman Baths Manager Stephen Clews about the Roman Curse Tablets from Bath – will be on Wednesday 28 January 2015.  They were included on the UK Register earlier this year. The Tablets are prayers requesting the assistance of the goddess Sulis Minerva in righting wrongs and ask for sometimes blood curdling punishment for the perpetrators of crimes. Some were written backwards to increase their potency. They provide a very different insight into the Roman world from that which comes down to us from other surviving documents.

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.

Congolese community radios trained in the production of local programmes

Lun, 26/01/2015 - 11:48

After a review of basic concepts and techniques related to the production of thematic programmes in the area of health, agriculture, environment and education, trainers and participants analyzed the results of surveys that had been conducted prior to the workshop among the participating radios. The surveys had focused on the following main subjects: developing respect for small farmers; providing farmers, health personnel, teachers and other stakeholders in the project with the opportunity to speak and be heard; offering the most useful information when it is required; and broadcasting programmes on the topics of local concern in a constant and entertaining way.

During the workshops participants also learnt how to disseminate key information by other means than broadcasting, such as letters, phone-in programmes and SMS, and how to better promote programmes of main interest for their audiences. In order to make radio programmes entertaining, participants did simulation exercises, which helped them organize in-phone programmes and quizzes, use dramatic elements like suspense and story-telling, use humor appropriately and regularly, and include local music to animate their programmes.

The workshops were held simultaneously in the premises of the following four radio stations: in Kasumbalesa for Radio Déogracias, in Kenge for Radio Kimvuka na Lutondo, in Kimpese for Radio Bangu, and in Moanda for the Moanda community radio.

UNESCO launches a new publication in its Internet freedom series

Lun, 19/01/2015 - 16:02

The case study research, collaboratively delivered by 16 international researchers led by Ms Rebecca MacKinnon and Mr Allon Bar, as well as 14 members of International Advisory Committee, covers of three categories of intermediaries:

  • Internet Service Providers (fixed line and mobile) such as Vodafone (UK, Germany, Egypt), Vivo/Telefônica Brasil (Brazil), Bharti Airtel (India, Kenya), Safaricom (Kenya),
  • Search Engines such as Google (USA, EU, India, China, Russia), Baidu (China), Yandex (Russia) and
  • Social Networking Platforms such as Facebook (USA, Germany, India, Brazil, Egypt), Twitter (USA, Kenya), Weibo (China), iWiW (Hungary).

The research showed that internet intermediaries are heavily influenced by the legal and policy environments of states, but they do have leeway over many areas of policy and practice affecting online expression and privacy. The findings also highlighted the challenge where many state policies, laws, and regulations are – to varying degrees - poorly aligned with the duty to promote and protect intermediaries’ respect for freedom of expression. It is a resource which enables the assessment of Internet intermediaries’ decisions on freedom of expression, by ensuring that any limitations are consistent with international standards. The research also recommends specific ways that intermediaries and states can improve respect for internet users’ right to freedom of expression. This is through promoting:

  • adequate legal frameworks and policies consistent with international norms,
  • multi-stakeholder policy development,
  • transparency of governance,
  • accountability in self-regulation,
  • mechanisms for remedy, and
  • public information and education.

UNESCO has succeeded in raising awareness and promoting good practice through past research in the UNESCO Series on Internet Freedom: Freedom of connection, freedom of expression: the changing legal and regulatory ecology shaping the Internet (2011) and Global survey on Internet Privacy and Freedom of Expression (2012).

This rich material in this, the third in UNESCO Series on Internet Freedom, will be of great value to all stakeholders. These are industry actors, UNESCO Member States, technical community, Intergovernmental organizations, private sector, civil society, and others both national and international.

This research is linked to UNESCO draft conceptual framework of “Internet universality” which draws from UNESCO decisions on the Internet, and recognises that four core principles should inform cyber actors. These principles are that the Internet should be human rights-based, open, accessible for all and governed by multi-stakeholder participation.

The research also helps to inform UNESCO’s implementation of a comprehensive and consultative multi-stakeholder Internet study as mandated by the Organization’s 37th General Conference Resolution 52. The study, due in 2015, covers UNESCO’s key competence areas of access to information and knowledge, freedom of expression, privacy, and ethical dimensions of the information society, and contains possible options for future actions.

The research has been presented at a number of international events including the 9th Internet Governance Forum and the 4th UN Forum on Business and Human rights. The publication will initially be launched at UNESCO’s forthcoming Internet conference “Connecting the Dots: Options for Future Action” (3-4 March 2015).

IPDC Chair supports UNESCO event “Journalism after Charlie”

Jue, 15/01/2015 - 15:30

A special guest at the “Journalism after Charlie” event on 14 January at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, Ms Shala underlined to the more than 400 participants why IPDC supported journalists’ safety.

She noted that while there are different reasons why journalists become targets of killers, there was also “something in common between the murdered Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, investigative journalists and political correspondents shot dead in Mexico, Philippines, Pakistan and Syria”.

“In all cases, these journalists and others have been killed because of the public role they play.  They have been killed by people who believe it is legitimate to stop words and images with violence. In all cases, the effect is the same. The murdered journalists cannot bear witness, and society no longer has the choice of knowing what they would have said.”

The Chair’s remarks mirrored those of speakers such as UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, the cartoonist Plantu, as well as journalists from several countries and religious leaders.

The Chair added that she herself worked on a daily basis with journalists in conflict regions and countries in transition. “These are the ones who dare denounce corruption, crime, human rights abuses. They are the ones who are threatened, arrested and even killed.”

She pointed out that IPDC monitors all these cases and draws attention to the fact that killings of journalists are not just against individuals, but also an assault on everyone’s right to free expression, and on society’s right to know.

“The IPDC’s monitoring shows that there is a fundamental issue that Governments should deal with - the issue of impunity. Dealing with impunity calls for legal and institutional reform. It calls for will and courage on the part of Member States to protect journalists and bring to justice the drug barons, the corrupted politicians, the fundamentalists.”

She concluded: “The recent events underline the importance of what we do, and they encourage us to redouble our efforts. I pledge that IPDC will continue to strive for a world in which everyone is safe to speak and where justice is made.”

Other special guests included Christophe Deloire of Reporters sans frontières, Jesper Hojberg of International Media Support, and Dominique Pradalié of the Syndicat national des journalists (SNJ). The event was supported financially by the delegations of Austria, France and Sweden, and was done in partnership with broadcast station France Culture.

Enhancing ICT and e-literacy skills of Kenyan librarians

Mié, 14/01/2015 - 16:29

The training attracted participation of 30 librarians from 29 public libraries that currently provide public access to computers and Internet in Kenya. It aimed at enhancing public librarians’ information and communications technologies (ICT) and e-literacy skills, in order to make better use of ICT for new public library services to meet community needs.

The training also aimed at helping support delivery of the Millennium Development Goals by enabling public librarians to use ICT in new services that meet community needs in development areas such as agriculture, education, health, culture, social inclusion and e-literacy.

During the training Ms Ramune Petuchovaite, Manager of the EIFL Public Library Innovation Programme (EIFL-PLIP) stated that “ICT’s role in accelerating development is now widely recognized in Africa and that governments are speeding up the roll-out of ICT infrastructure and equipment to aid this developments. With these developments, it is important that public libraries be included in national ICT policies and strategies.”

“To date, only 29 out of 60 libraries are adequately equipped with ICT infrastructure in Kenya. There is, therefore, an undoubted need for both library staff and our clients to upgrade their ICT skills to be able to better utilize the resources that we currently have in place,” said Mr Richard Atuti, Director of the Kenya National Library Service.

This training adapted courses and training methods currently being tested in Ghana and Uganda by EIFL to fit the Kenyan context and supported a broader Kenya National Library Service initiative of engaging partners in transforming libraries across the country into ICT hubs.

This capacity building initiative falls within the framework of UNESCO, supporting adoption of ICT in public libraries and also enabling the creation of new services for users in Kenya.

Kenya National Library Service is a statutory body established to develop, equip, manage and maintain national and public library services, to promote information literacy and reading, and to enhance stakeholder participation in development of libraries in Kenya, while EIFL Public Library Innovation Programme (EIFL-PLIP) advances community development by enabling public libraries to implement innovative ideas that use technology to improve people’s lives and livelihoods.

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