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Culture and ICT as drivers of sustainable development

Vie, 29/05/2015 - 17:05

In this context, ICT, insofar as they have a direct impact on the way cultural expressions are created, produced, disseminated and accessed and play an increasingly pertinent role in the safeguarding and transmission of cultural heritage, can respond to major global challenges through the exercise of freedom of expression and the promotion cultural diversity.

In the framework of the 2015 WSIS Forum a discussion panel on Action Line 8 “Cultural diversity and identity, linguistic diversity and local content” debated questions on how are ICTs fostering cultural entrepreneurship in the cultural and creative industries, notably in developing countries and at the local level, how are new forms of media and technologies strengthening platforms for dialogue, exchange and building capacities of local populations to overcome the challenges faced by communities worldwide.

“In Africa ICTs allow a greater access to cultural goods and services but beyond access and distribution, they allow creators to engage with the audience, to co-create, and to connect with the diaspora” said Silja Fischer, Secretary General of International Music Council.

The session explored possible measures that should be taken to strengthen policies and strategies to promote the diversity of cultural expressions, cultural and creative industries, and to  safeguard cultural heritage via ICTs, including for more efficient documentation, protection, transmission, and accessibility, and discussed policies and strategies that should be put in place to generate social and economic development in view of the new modes of creation, production, dissemination and consumption of cultural goods and services by and for youth in the digital age.

Main outcomes of the session stressed that:

  • ICTs are progressively more incorporated into the cultural and creative sectors. Even though accessibility by all remains an important challenge, developing countries are using ICTs for cultural content, creation, access, and distribution, and there are positive innovative models that are context specific.
  • People are what is driving development models, creativity and innovation, but governments must put in place national policies and infrastructure that will foster the diversity of cultural expressions and close the digital divide and keep up with new advancements.
  • There are increasing initiatives in digitization of cultural content and heritage which help preserve this content for future generations (eg. digital libraries and museums) and which also allow marginalized groups to be engaged, share knowledge (also traditional knowledge) and foster social cohesion.

More information on the Forum:

UNESCO convened 10th facilitation meeting of Action Line C9 at WSIS Forum 2015

Vie, 29/05/2015 - 11:51

It is the 10th year that UNESCO organized the facilitation meeting of WSIS Action Line C9 Media. The meeting was well attended by 65 participants, with a multi-stakeholder panel of 7 speakers of gender and geographical balance.  The major discussion focused on the emerging trends related to media activities and how the Action Line C9 Media contributes to the Post-2015 Development agenda. 

UNESCO took the occasion to present its Comprehensive Internet Study Keystones to foster inclusive Knowledge Societies by Professor William Dutton. The Study was well received by the participants and UNESCO Internet Universality principles (R.O.A.M) was considered as a comprehensive framework to envision the converged media and Internet landscape of post-2015 in promoting a Human Rights-based (including freedom of expression, privacy, etc.) and Open Internet which is Accessible to all and characterized by Multi-stakeholder participation.

Participants observed numerous challenges and threats on media freedom online and offline such as safety of journalists and bloggers, poor implementation of freedom of information laws, increasing criminalization laws of free speech, concentrated media ownerships by private sectors, editorial controlled by the states, laid-off of journalists, Internet blocking and filtering, etc.  

Participants agreed that free flow of information and freed media online and offline are premises to democratic governance, peace and stability in terms of bringing inclusive civil voices and participation. Without media and Internet, no other SDGs such as eradication of poverty and equality in education can be achieved. Internet particularly contributes to bringing minority groups to get known and fosters gender equality.

Mr Frank La Rue, the former UN Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression highlighted that there is a lack of good regulatory model of media and it should be prioritized in the Post-2015 to base all media regulatory frameworks on solid human rights standards including freedom of expression and privacy.

Ms Aida Mahmutovic from Association of Progressive Communication stressed that gender equality needs to be preserved online, given numerous gender-based stereotypes and discriminations online, digital threats and violence against women and girls and unbalanced use of and access to Internet of women and girls in developing countries.

UNESCO journalists’ safety activities in Palestine showcased at UN Seminar on Peace in the Middle East

Jue, 28/05/2015 - 15:56

Some 300 participants registered to the event, which was opened by the UN Under-Secretary General for Communications and Public Information. Ms Christina Gallach, the Vice-Speaker of the Mazhilis of the Parliament of the Kazakhstan, Ms Dariga Nazarbayeva, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Mr Erlan Idrissov.

Ms Gallach delivered a message on behalf of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in which he declared that “the UN would spare no effort in supporting the quest for peace in the Middle East”. He stressed that a free, pluralistic media [was] essential in covering both the Israeli-Palestinian story and broader regional dynamics in a fast-paced digital world”.

Discussions focused on ongoing and emerging challenges of peace-making in the Middle East. Among the topics debated were the challenges facing the media in covering the Israeli-Palestinian story, the protection of media workers, the role of social media in reporting news, the role of media discourse in the midst of conflict, and the use of innovative media forms to achieve impact.

Representing UNESCO, Ms Saorla McCabe, from the Division for Freedom of Expression and Media Development, presented the activities being carried out by the UNESCO Ramallah Office in support of journalists’ safety, which fit into the UN’s global approach to tackling this issue, as outlined in the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. UNESCO’s activities in Palestine are centred on capacity building, supporting free legal advice for journalists and promoting the inclusion of a module on safety within the curricula of universities providing journalism education. Future plans include launching an open dialogue between Palestinian security forces and journalists.

“Beyond the obvious implications that attacks and threats of violence against journalists have on the journalists concerned, their families and their colleagues, the safety of journalists is also a wider human rights issue.”, said Ms McCabe. “It is linked to the right of every individual to seek, receive and impart information, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”.

Other panellists at the Seminar included an award-winning Palestinian photographer, a prominent Israeli TV reporter covering conflict zones, the Permanent Delegate of Palestine to the United Nations, a former Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel, a senior editor from the WAFA news agency, a well-known columnist from the newspaper Haaretz, and Palestinian and Israeli bloggers.

For nearly 15 years, this annual Seminar has served as an important opportunity to enhance dialogue and understanding between Israelis and Palestinians. In parallel, it has provided an opportunity to review and examine key media dynamics as they relate to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wider, ever-evolving situation in the Middle East.

UNESCO promotes freedom of expression indicators in the Sustainable Development Goals

Jue, 28/05/2015 - 11:17

The Declaration affirmed that “The safety of journalists and the issue of impunity are directly relevant to implementing the proposed Sustainable Development Goal 16, particularly the targets on fundamental freedoms, access to information and the rule of law.”

Berger spelled out how progress on achieving the draft SDG 16.10 could be tracked over the next 15 years.

The target of 16.10 is to ‘ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements’. 

These two interdependent aspects relate closely to the freedom to seek and receive, as well as impart, information, which overall constitutes the right to freedom of expression.

The UN Statistical Commission is currently consulting further on draft indicators for the SDG targets. In response, UNESCO, working with UNESCO Institute for Statistics, is proposing wording that could produce feasible, suitable and relevant.

The proposed indicators are:

1)     Number of countries that have adopted and implemented constitutional, statutory and/or policy guarantees for public access to information  

Berger pointed out that UNESCO was already monitoring progress in this area, and it made sense now to contextualize the relevance of the data in regard to public access to information.

2)     Number of countries promoting fundamental freedoms through ensuring the protection of journalists and combatting impunity for attacks on them  

This proposed indicator could rely on the existing regular reports by UNESCO on the implementation of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, formally incorporating this information into the SDGs monitoring framework,

Berger said: “There is a natural synergy between data already being collected by the Organization and the targets within Goal 16. It would be a missed opportunity to not formally connect the two.”

While the proposed indicators did not measure every possible aspect of the Target 16.10, they did focus attention on core components and in a mandated and do-able manner, he added.

“We believe this could be a significant step towards mainstreaming safety of journalists, and in contributing to the achievement of sustainable development.

“In this way, public awareness will be raised; coalitions will be strengthened and widened; resources will be mobilized, and the other SDG targets will be supported.”

Security Council focuses on safety of journalists

Jue, 28/05/2015 - 09:12

Besides remarks by the 15 Member States of the Council, almost 50 other UN Member States indicated their interest in speaking on the subject matter – with many mentioning the importance of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.

The new Security Council resolution bears in mind that impunity for crimes committed against journalists, media professionals and associated personnel in armed conflict still remains a significant challenge.

It further recognizes that “journalists, media workers and associated personnel can play an important role in protection of civilians and conflict prevention by acting as an early warning mechanism”.

Looking ahead, the Resolution stresses that peacekeeping operations and special political missions could include, where appropriate, information in their reporting about specific acts of violence against journalists, media professionals and associated personnel in armed conflicts.

The Secretary General could also play a valuable role in providing information on the subject, by including the issue consistently as a sub-item in his reports on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, including measures to protect journalists and prevent incidents.

The Council session was addressed by UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson, Christophe Deloire, head of Reporters without Borders, and journalist Marianne Pearl.

At the side-event, remarks were made by the foreign ministers of Latvia and Lithuania, as well OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatovic; Quinn McKew of Article 19; and journalist Milka Tadic Mijovic. UNESCO Director of Freedom of Expression and Media Development, Guy Berger, also participated in the panel.

WSIS Forum 2015: Making Empowerment a Reality - Accessibility for All

Mié, 27/05/2015 - 16:39

Today, over 1 billion people are living with some form of disabilities and often suffer from social and economic exclusion, discrimination, less educational and career opportunities. ICTs have a huge potential to help them to overcome these obstacles, to enable them to live their lives with dignity and participate fully in all spheres of social and economic activity.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Banerjee, Director of the Knowledge Societies Division in UNESCO, stressed that in building inclusive knowledge societies, access to knowledge and information is of vital importance to ensure that ALL persons are able to participate as creative and productive members of their communities, including and paying particular attention to the needs of persons with disabilities.

Today’s High Level Dialogue session brought together high level panelists, who contributed to the preparation of the New Delhi Declaration, the Outcome Document of the International Conference entitled “From Exclusion to Empowerment: Role of ICTs for Persons with Disabilities” held in New Delhi in November 2014. They are actively engaged in the international cooperation, policy making, civil society and human rights activities, and industrial development.

The discussion provided the opportunity for the panelists to share their views and experiences in the area of digital inclusion, to build on the outcomes of the recently held consultations (New Delhi Declaration), and research findings, to explore ways on how concrete recommendations could be incorporated within the WSIS’s framework on the usage of inclusive and accessible ICTs by persons with disabilities to access information and knowledge and to draw attention to an urgent need of mainstreaming accessibility of ICTs for persons with disabilities in the post-2015 development agenda.

High Level Panel’s composition:

Chair: Dr Indrajit Banerjee, Director, Knowledge Societies Division, Communication and Information Sector, UNESCO

High level panelists:

  • Mr Lenin Moreno, Special Envoy of the United Nations for Disability and Accessibility Issues and former Vice President of Ecuador
  • Dr Stuti Kacker, Former Secretary of the Department of Disability Affairs,
    Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, The Government of India, India
  • Mr John E. Davies, Vice-President, Intel Corporation
  • Ms Daniela Rubio, Director, Macneticos and Independent Consultant on Digital Accessibility, Spain
  • Ms Michele J. Woods, Director, Copyright Law Division, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
  • Mr Aniyamuzaala James Rwampigi, Member and Chairperson, National Council for Persons with disabilities of Uganda;  President, African Youth with Disabilities Network; and Representative of African Disability Forum
  • Dr Andrew Taussig, Former Trustee, The International Institute of Communications and Voice of the Listener and Viewer, United Kingdom

More information on the Forum:

UNESCO’s Deputy Director-General addressed the WSIS Forum 2015

Mar, 26/05/2015 - 16:49

Mr Engida stressed the importance of collective consultation and action for the implementation and the review of the WSIS outcomes at a time when the WSIS+10 years review goes into its final phase towards the High-level Meeting at the United Nations General Assembly in December 2015.

“Innovating together is the idea at the heart of the concept of inclusive knowledge societies -- where every woman and man has the ability and opportunity not just to acquire data bits and information but to transform these into knowledge and understanding” said Mr Engida in UNESCO’s opening speech at the WSIS Forum. He stressed the importance of knowledge, which holds the key to sustainable human development, as well as to cultural diversity, tolerance and peace. Using an old African proverb, UNESCO’s Deputy Director-General, Mr Getachew Engida, said: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” UNESCO emphasized the importance of advancing collectively also in UNGIS, where the high-level participants made a significant step by agreeing to ‘reconfirm the commitment of UNGIS and its member to actively lead the UN system input to the process leading up to the Overall WSIS+10 Review to be concluded in December by the UN General Assembly.’ UNESCO will organize six sessions at WSIS Forum 2015. On Wednesday morning UNESCO will bring together high level panelists to discuss the topic “Making Empowerment a Reality – Accessibility for All”.

In addition, UNESCO will organize five more Action Line meetings focusing on Free, independent and pluralistic media and the Post-2015 development agenda; Culture and ICTs as drivers of sustainable development; Ethical dimensions of the information society and sustainable development; Access to information to achieve Sustainable Development Goals; and Teacher ICT competencies to support inclusive Knowledge Societies. All the sessions will attempt to raise awareness and find solutions to the emerging and on-going challenges present in information societies today.

Joining online:

For those unable to participate in this year’s WSIS Forum in person, the event can be easily accessed remotely by choosing the desired session on the WSIS Forum Agenda online and selecting the preferred type of remote participation (Webcast or Adobe Connect). Remote participants will be required to fill in a real-time registration form in order to access the session. Each session will have 10 to 15 minutes dedicated to the questions from remote participants. Onsite registration, as well as further information on remote participation is available on ITU’s WSIS Forum 2015 Website.

More information on UNESCO organized sessions:

More information on the Forum:

WSIS Forum 2015: Join UNESCO and its partners onsite or remotely!

Vie, 22/05/2015 - 15:53

UNESCO’s Deputy Director-General, Mr Getachew Engida, will be giving the opening remarks on behalf of the Organization on Tuesday, 26 May.  Together with the Heads of agencies of ITU and UNCTAD, Mr Engida will also co-chair the High-level meeting of the United Nations Group on the Information Society.

UNESCO will organize six sessions at WSIS Forum 2015. On Wednesday morning UNESCO will bring together high level panelists to discuss the topic “Making Empowerment a Reality – Accessibility for All”. The special focus of this session is on access to information and knowledge using accessible and inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for inclusion of persons with disabilities. UNESCO is proud to be organizing this high level dialogue, as the issue is of the utmost importance. Despite UN’s commitment to the rights of persons with disabilities, as well as technological progress, many persons with disabilities still experience barriers to access information. The high level dialogue seeks to raise awareness about disability issues and draw attention to the need of mainstreaming accessibility of ICTs for persons with disabilities in the post-2015 development agenda. The dialogue session will be chaired by Mr Indrajit Banerjee, Director, Knowledge Societies Division, Communication and Information Sector, UNESCO.

In addition, UNESCO will organize five more Action Line meetings focusing on Free, independent and pluralistic media and the Post-2015 development agenda; Culture and ICTs as drivers of sustainable development; Ethical dimensions of the information society and sustainable development; Access to information to achieve Sustainable Development Goals; and Teacher ICT competencies to support inclusive Knowledge Societies. All the sessions will attempt to raise awareness and find solutions to the emerging and on-going challenges present in information societies today.

Joining online:

For those unable to participate in this year’s WSIS Forum in person, the event can be easily accessed remotely by choosing the desired session on the WSIS Forum Agenda online and selecting the preferred type of remote participation (Webcast or Adobe Connect). Remote participants will be required to fill in a real-time registration form in order to access the session. Each session will have 10 to 15 minutes dedicated to the questions from remote participants. Onsite registration, as well as further information on remote participation is available on ITU’s WSIS Forum 2015 Website.

More information on UNESCO organized sessions:

More information on the Forum:

Enhancing the preservation of documentary heritage in the Middle East and North Africa

Vie, 22/05/2015 - 09:59

Within this context, UNESCO and the National Commission of Lebanon for UNESCO organized a three-day regional training workshop for French-speaking Arab countries, which opened on 20 April 2015 at the UNESCO Office in Beirut. The workshop, convened in the framework of the Memory of the World (MoW) Programme, seeks to promote preservation of, and access to the region’s unique archival holdings and library collections. This strategic activity also aims to encourage and support local efforts to identify, develop and submit new proposals for consideration and inscription on the Memory of the World Register. This will make many valuable historical collections accessible to the general public, which is critical to ensuring the survival of the Middle East and North Africa unique documentary heritage.

The Memory of the World workshop was opened by Prof. Zahida Jabbour, Secretary-General of the National Commission of Lebanon for UNESCO, who also read a welcome message to the participants by H.E. Raymond Araygi, Minister of Culture.  Mr Sulieman Sulieman welcomed the participants on behalf of the Director of the UNESCO Beirut Office,  Dr Hamed Al-Hammami. Opening remarks were also delivered by Ms Iskra Panevska, UNESCO’s officer in charge of the Memory of the World Programme. In her welcome remarks, Ms Chafica Haddad, Chair of the Intergovernmental Council of the Information for All Programme (IFAP) extended, on behalf of the IFAP Bureau and Council, her warm greetings to all participants and experts attending this important regional event. “Through its information preservation priority area, IFAP has been focusing attention, over the last years, on the fragility of new data storage media and the threat this presents to the ability of future generations to access digital knowledge. IFAP has also been raising awareness, building the capacity of information professionals, supporting international cooperation and contributing to policy responses aimed at promoting the development and implementation of digital preservation techniques and standards,” she said.

The capacity building workshop in Beirut brings together representatives from eight Middle East and North Africa countries (Algeria, Djibouti, the Comoros Islands, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia and Oman), and 22 national participants from Lebanon, as well as two international experts, Ms Frederique Bazzoni, a member of UNESCO’s MoW Register Sub-committee, and Mr Abdelaziz Abid, former Head of the Memory of the World Programme.

The workshop interactive sessions offered to participants an overview of UNESCO’s heritage programmes, in general, and the functioning of the Memory of the World Programme, in particular. The participants acquired practical skills and knowledge on how to use the MoW Register Companion, to identify and select items for nomination, to use the selection criteria, and what to do in case if their nomination is rejected. They got acquainted with some past examples of inscriptions on the Register and with the significance of establishing national and regional MoW committees. The training also focused on the crucial role of the Memory of the World Register in increasing global awareness about the existence and the significance of documentary heritage.

Participants discussed, among other things, the establishment of an Arab Regional Memory of the World Committee as a cooperation mechanism, which would also encourage further training within the region, initiate and manage specific projects and build a regional network of experts on documentary heritage preservation.

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

UNESCO conference on fighting radicalization of youth on the Internet to be held in Paris next month

Mié, 20/05/2015 - 16:12

Organized in the framework of the Intergovernmental Information for All Programme (IFAP), the Conference will provide a platform for debates regarding the current challenges of youth radicalization on the Internet. It will also sensitize about the reality and the potential risks if the issue remains unaddressed in a relevant and holistic way.

Furthermore, the Conference will seek to identify specific areas for UNESCO’s action, across all its areas of competence, to support Member States in tackling these important challenges. The knowledge shared at the Conference will be taken forward through pilot projects, which will also act as a learning lab for more effective policy responses in the future.

This Conference which will attract some 200 delegates from around the world and will be conducted in English and French.

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.

Progress in the implementation of WSIS outcomes discussed at the Commission on Science and Technology for Development

Mié, 20/05/2015 - 16:01

The CSTD meeting, which took place from 4 to 8 May 2015 in Geneva (Switzerland), started with a High-level Opening, in which Indrajit Banerjee, Director of UNESCO’s Knowledge Societies Division addressed the plenary on behalf of the Director-General. Mr Banerjee highlighted UNESCO’s key role in the implementation of the WSIS outcomes and its contribution to the WSIS Review process: “The international community can continue to count on UNESCO for its major contributions in the field of access to information and knowledge, e-learning, e-science, cultural diversity and local content, media and ethics,” he said. Mr Banerjee congratulated CSTD for a balanced WSIS review report, seizing and analysing key developments, while also noting some shortcomings.

This CSTD session was organized around two priority themes, the Strategic foresight for the post-2015 development agenda and digital development. The second key agenda item was WSIS, including the progress made in the implementation of and follow-up to the WSIS outcomes at the regional and international levels, summarized in the Ten-Year Review Report.

During this week, a resolution on WSIS outcomes was negotiated, which will be used as input for the related UN General Assembly process (June-December 2015) and a second resolution on the role of science, technology and innovation (STI) for development. Both resolutions were adopted and will be put forward as the CSTD contribution for the ECOSOC High-Level Segment (July 2015) discussion dedicated to Managing the transition from MDGs to the SDGs - what will it take?

Peter Major (Hungary, who played a key role in WSIS and Internet Governance issues for years and facilitated the WSIS resolution negotiations at this CSTD session) was elected as chair of the 19th CSTD session.

The chair of the 18th session, Ms Johnson, closed the session by thanking the delegates and the secretariat for accomplishing all the objectives of the session and for the spirit of compromise. Even though the WSIS draft resolution does not "accurately reflect the richness of the discussion, we can leave here satisfied," she said.

Building capacities of young journalists in view of forthcoming elections in Burkina Faso

Mar, 19/05/2015 - 10:17

UNESCO, having more than two decades of global experience in building capacities of the media professional to best cover elections, is well positioned to undertake this endeavour. The Organization provides in-depth training on election, investigative and conflict sensitive reporting, supporting technical reform and sustainable media development, and developing professional election reporting, which is particularly essential in the context of democratic transition. As countries are undergoing political reforms and changing electoral procedures, the need to keep citizens well informed is a preventive measure against vote buying, and electoral fraud and controversy.

The training seminar in Burkina Faso was opened by Bila Dipama, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Secondary and Higher Education, who stated that “knowledge is a powerful tool, which is fundamental for UNESCO’s mandate”. Sanmalmin Aristide Dabire, Secretary-General of the Burkina Faso National Commission for UNESCO, recalled in his opening remarks the difficult political situation of October 2014 in the country, and highlighted the important position that the media holds in the democratic process and, therefore, the importance of UNESCO’s work related to the training of young journalists.

The training seminar focused on giving young journalists a thorough understanding of the election process, its importance and the role of the press during this period. In the first session, Socio-Political Crises in Africa and the Responsibilities of Journalists, the trainer encouraged participants to debate and respond to questions such as: “Do journalists need ethical rules?” “Can journalists be politically engaged?” and “Can journalists receive rewards from heads of political parties?” Conflicts in Rwanda and Côte d’Ivoire were used as examples where journalists had taken a negative role.

In the second session, the young journalists became familiar with the concept of democracy, the country’s Constitution and the African Union, followed by a discussion on the electoral code of Burkina Faso. Later sessions focused on more technical aspects of election reporting including non-biased reporting.

This training workshop was a substantial contribution by UNESCO to the overall efforts aiming at improving the quality and the professional standards of reporting in the current media landscape, especially in view of the forthcoming national elections.

Biblioteca Mayor of the University of Cordoba in the Latin America and the Caribbean Memory of the World Register

Lun, 18/05/2015 - 12:24

The event was attended by Mr Franciso Tamarit, Rector of the National University of Córdoba, and Ms Gabriela Cuozzo, Director of the Biblioteca Mayor of the University, among other high authorities. Mr. Guilherme Canela Godoi, Secretary of the Regional Committee of the Latin America and the Caribbean Memory of the World Register,  was also present. Mr Canela referred to the collection as "another monumental expression of the Jesuit historical legacy in Latin America and Caribbean", stating that "This heritage must be preserved, socialized and known by everyone. These are the three pillars of the Memory of the World".

The celebrations continued in the reading room of the library up to April 17. There, open lectures were offered by leading experts in Documentary Heritage of UNESCO, including Mr. Alfredo Eduardo Fraschini, Ph.D. Philosophy and Letters at the University of Buenos Aires. It was also the opportunity to take a journey to the history of UNC through its documents, and access the Jesuit Collection.

The Jesuit Collection of the Biblioteca Mayor of the National University of Córdoba is one of the largest collections that make up the valuable bibliographic heritage of the Institution. Its origin dates back to 1613, when the Sociedad de Jesús endowed the Colegio Máximo an important library known as Biblioteca Mayor (Big or Greatest Library) to differentiate it from the other smaller libraries in the Order. The "Library", representative of the civilization of its time, proudly shows through its shelves the works of St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Thomas and St. Augustine; aligned with works of Aristotle, Descartes, the five volumes of mathematics and Wolf "Opuscula Pathologica" of Haller, among other scientific writings which are still preserved.

The Memory of the World Programme of UNESCO promotes the preservation, by the most appropriate means, of documentary heritage that has world significance, and national and regional importance. It also supports awareness by Member States of their documentary heritage, in particular aspects of that heritage which are significant in terms of a common global memory. Furthermore, it seeks to develop products based on documentary heritage for making them available for wide distribution, ensuring that the originals are kept in the best possible conditions for storage and security.

Since 2002, the Memory of the World Register Latin America and the Caribbean has accepted 95 nominations including many regional collections on politics, philosophy, literature, music, text, graphics and audiovisual format of regional and national scope. The Latin American and Caribbean list also addresses issues of human rights, indigenous issues and slavery, among others.

This distinction adds to that received by the ancient complex of the Bloque Jesuítico, which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in November 2000, thus transformed into a museum area comprising not only the former headquarters National University of Cordoba, but also the Church of the Sociedad de Jesus, the Domestic Chapel, the Residence and the Colegio de Monserrat.

A video about the Biblioteca Mayor can be accessed here (in Spanish).

UNESCO Supports Global Media and Information Literacy Week and International Award

Mié, 13/05/2015 - 10:15

Global MIL Week unites diverse actors all across the world who are committed to promoting MIL as a way to foster social inclusion, intercultural and interreligious dialogue as well as to enable citizens of all ages to make the best use of the Internet and electronic media while protecting themselves from potential risks.

The MIL week offers important opportunities for members of the Global Alliance for Partnerships on Media and Information Literacy (GAPMIL) and the Media and Information Literacy and Intercultural Dialogue University Network (MILID Network) to draw worldwide attention to how Media and Information Literacy helps empower citizens.

>> Please see the 10 Ways to Celebrate MIL Week 2015.

International MIL Award

A new feature of the Global MIL Week 2015 will be the launch of the International MIL Award.  The MIL Award is coordinated by GAPMIL and MILID Network with the support of UNESCO and UNAOC. It honors an educator who has had positive impact on learners through media and information literacy. Click here to apply or nominate someone.

Since 2012 previous MIL Weeks were led by UNESCO and UNAOC within the framework of the MILID Network. The MILID Network consists of 15 universities representing all region of the world and is the research arm of GAPMIL.

GAPMIL is a groundbreaking effort to promote international cooperation to ensure media and information literacy for all to drive open and inclusive development. This pioneering initiative was launched during the Global Forum for Partnerships on Media and Information Literacy which took place from 26 to 28 June 2013.

For more information please visit the GAPMIL website.

World Press Freedom Day celebrated in Tunisia

Mar, 12/05/2015 - 15:53

On behalf of the Tunisian Government, Neji Jalloul, Minister of Education and President of the Tunisian National Commission for UNESCO, opened the conference. The event was attended by more than one hundred participants, including representatives of media and civil society, journalists, human rights activists, students, experts and lawyers.

David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, was the keynote speaker at the conference. “First of all, I would like to congratulate Tunisians for the work they have done, over the last four years, to change the law and the practices in their country, which is a model to other countries around the world,” he stated. “My second message is to keep up the momentum and to continue fighting for freedom of expression and against any type of state censorship. And my third message is to use all available tools to build a system of ethical journalism, which is an integral part of every democratic society,” he added.

The conference aimed at raising public awareness on the role of freedom of expression and of the press in the transitional period that Tunisia is undergoing. The debate focused on the progress and challenges in this domain, the current state of gender equality in the media and the security of journalists (online and offline).

“We participate in this event to support our colleagues facing difficulties. It is a great opportunity and very enriching to meet with civil society, journalists and media institutions. It is a very enriching occasion for freedom of expression defenders,” said one of participating journalists.

Students from the Tunis-based Institute for Press and Information Sciences (IPSI) compiled a special edition of a journal for the 2015 World Press Freedom Day in Tunisia (to download the journal, in Arabic, please click here).

UNESCO will continue strengthening awareness about the fundamental role of press freedom as an essential element for democracy, and calling upon all stakeholders to promote a safe and enabling environment for journalists to perform their work independently and without undue interference.

This activity received support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland and from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

Youth makes the news on World Press Freedom Day

Mar, 12/05/2015 - 11:37

The newsroom consisted of 12 Latvian and 20 international journalism students as well as emerging journalists, photographers, videographers, podcasters, and social media producers. The “youth newsroom” concept begun with the aim to provide opportunities to youth to be engaged in the latest discussions in freedom of expression and press freedom with leading practitioners, experts, and advocates at an international forum.

“Could you imagine how is it to work in a room full of young people from all over the world who love journalism? I guess you will believe me that it was a great experience! I am sure that members will bring home not only impressions of beautiful Riga but very useful professional experience and inspiration that will help them to be press freedom ‘ambassadors’ in their home countries” said Ms Vita Dreijere, a PhD Candidate in Communication Studies from University of Latvia who served as the Editor-in-Chief of the 2015 Youth Newsroom.

The WPFD 2015 multicultural newsroom produced two editions of the Avviso newsletter which were distributed in the morning of the WPFD as well as a whole range of multimedia coverage that are available on http://www.youth-newsroom.com. The newsroom also produced an “Express Interview” segment where the participants were asked the questions “How Can Journalism Thrive?”

The participation of the international youth was made possible by the funding from the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation, Sweden and the NET-MED Youth project which is funded by the European Union.

The next World Press Freedom Day’s main celebration will take place at the Finlandia Hall located in Helsinki, Finland from 2 to 4 May 2016.

UNESCO addressed the Freedom Online Coalition conference in Mongolia

Lun, 11/05/2015 - 18:15

The annual conference of the 26-country coalition to promote Internet freedom was opened with a keynote by H.E. Mr Tsakhia Elbegdorj, President of Mongolia. He described online freedom as a “global commons” that is essential for human and sustainable development, as well as for the realization of human rights.

Opening remarks were delivered by eight senior government officials from FOC Member States, and by Mr Engida, who thanked FOC for contributing to the global multistakeholder consultations that informed the comprehensive study on Internet-related issues, which UNESCO Secretariat undertook on mandate from the UNESCO General Conference.

Mr Engida recounted the components of the consultative process that culminated with the CONNECTing the Dots conference, held at UNESCO on March 2015. He referred to the Outcome Document, which encourages the sharing of best practices between Member States and other stakeholders, in order to address security and privacy concerns on the Internet in accordance with international human rights obligations. (Access the full text of Mr Engida’s speech: please click here).

For two days, representatives from governments, civil society organizations, and Internet companies discussed in plenary and side sessions around the 2015 FOC Conference’s theme: Internet Policy Making – Best Practices for Promoting Internet Freedom.

UNESCO’s contribution to the Conference included also chairing the session on “Framing Plenary Progressive Policy Making for States” which was participated in by Mr Tom Malinowski, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor for the USA; Ms Dunja Mijatovic, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media; Mr Viktors Makarovs, Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia; Professor Kyung-sin Park, from the Seoul-based Korea University; and Ambassador Maria Leissner, Secretary General of the Community of Democracies.

Speaking at the plenary Future Internet Trends, the Director of Ranking Digital Rights Ms Rebecca MacKinnon mentioned the recent publication of the UNESCO Internet freedom series which she compiled: Fostering Freedom Online: the Role of Internet Intermediaries. Another recent publication from the same UNESCO series, titled Building Digital Safety for Journalism: a Survey of Selected Issues was featured in an article in the special edition of a magazine distributed to all the Conference’s participants.

On 3 May 2015, in the build-up to the FOC Conference, Mr Engida opened a Roundtable “Focus on Mongolia” on the occasion of the local celebration of the World Press Freedom Day. This was co-organized by the Confederation of Mongolian Journalists, the specialized Mongolian media NGO Globe International Center, the Open Society Forum, and with the support of UNESCO Beijing Office and of the Austrian Embassy.

Addressing the Roundtable in the presence of more than 80 Mongolian media managers, members of parliament, journalists, and civil society leaders, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Ms Mijatovic said that democracy was not compatible with journalists being attacked, threatened, harassed, and imprisoned.

The President of the Mongolian Globe International Center Ms Khashkhuu Naranjargal stressed the importance of realizing freedom of expression in practice. Ms Migeddorj Batchimeg, Member of the Mongolian Parliament, highlighted how “free media contributes to protect national sovereignty and national security”. The Roundtable’s opening was also attended by Mr Gundegmaa Jargalsaikhan, Secretary-General of Mongolian National Commission for UNESCO, and by representatives of the diplomatic corps.

During the visit to Ulaanbaatar, Mr Engida had also a series of bilateral meetings, including with the Mongolian Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Mr Lundeg Purevsuren, and with Mr Buya Tulga, Vice Minister for Education, Culture and Science. Mr Engida also attended a special meeting of the UN Country Team, and he was conferred the title of “honorary professor” at the Mongolia University of Science and Technology. 

At the Closing Plenary of the 2015 FOC Conference, the Director for Human Rights Policy at the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ms Nina Nordstrom said that Finland will be the venue of UNESCO’s flagship celebration of World Press Freedom Day in 2016.

The Jordanian Media Development Indicators in the making

Lun, 11/05/2015 - 16:37
The MDI workshop held in Amman in April brought together the international and national researchers for the second time to discuss the status and way forward for the Jordanian MDI process. The second draft that the local research team produced over the last months is currently under review. By June, a first edited final draft will be submitted to UNESCO, an advisory board of the study and several peer reviewers before entering the final publication process.

Discussion on youth´s presence in media organized by UNESCO and MedMedia in Amman

Mar, 05/05/2015 - 14:43

The occasion bringing this lively mix together was the kick-off conference for “Youth on Screen”, a collaborative initiative framed under two projects funded by the European Union, NET-MED Youth and MedMedia, which are being implemented, respectively, by UNESCO and by a consortium led by BBC Media Action. “Youth on Screen” also enjoys support from the Jordan Media Institute, and the European Broadcasting Union. The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency contributed to its launch event as well.

Young civil society representatives argued that they currently find insufficient space for the reflection of their views in traditional media. Among them was Imane Bounjara, a Moroccan project coordinator at e-joussour online radio.

“Youth have been born in a digital world, are no longer just passive recipients but also active producers of content…. The information society has changed, and civil society has understood this… Television has to integrate itself into this new dynamic, in order to reposition itself and catch up with the rhythm of youth”, Bounjara stated.

Also serving to stimulate debate was the presentation of preliminary findings of media monitoring efforts focused on the presence and image of youth in mainstream television in Tunisia and Morocco, which is being facilitated under the NET-MED Youth project in partnership with MENA Media Monitoring.

In turn, participants working in mainstream media called attention to the challenges they face when developing youth-focused programmes. Ideas were shared on how to capture the attention of young audiences and engage them, through cross-media products and interaction through social media, as was done through the Generation Quoi? project in France, for example. Moreover, a specific session focused on examining the financial implications of producing this type of programmes, including possible funding sources and marketing strategies.

Another panel was dedicated to exploring how media and civil society organizations can productively work together despite a lack of trust often existing between them, their diverse agendas and notions of what is considered “newsworthy”. The conclusion was that strengthened linkages can bring rewarding results for both: CSOs can help media access certain groups and provide content to generate captivating human interest stories, while media can be instrumental in expanding the reach and appeal of their messages. However, a fruitful collaboration implies investing time in relationship building, setting ground rules, sharing information and understanding their respective needs, among other key aspects.

The overall mood was one of enthusiasm and willingness to work together, as reflected in the words of May Marei, the young Palestinian coordinator of the Voices from Gaza project.

“I think that this can be the start of new unique TV programs and experiences. I cannot wait to see the result that could come up of gathering such efforts and different backgrounds with rich experience,” said Marei.

Ameni Mabrouk, from Taabir inTunisia, added that the launch conference had been very helpful. “There were creative ideas that have inspired me, and it was a good opportunity for networking”.

The “Youth on Screen” initiative aims precisely at fostering experience sharing, the strengthening of capacities and enhanced cooperation within and across countries. It is expected to lead to the development of TV programmes and multimedia projects that better respond to the needs and aspirations of youth, and that further enable them to connect with each other and exchange their views on topics that concern them.

You can follow NET-MED youth activity online through #netmedyouth and Like the project’s official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/netmedyouth.

Needs and challenges of press councils in South East Europe discussed at World Press Freedom Day in Riga

Lun, 04/05/2015 - 13:52

The five media councils of South East Europe: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo (under UNSCR 1244), the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia met to discuss the initial findings of the study on the current state of self-regulation in the region. This took place during a side event organized on 2 May by UNESCO in Riga, Latvia as part of World Press Freedom Day 2015.

Early this year, UNESCO consultant Catherine Speller travelled to the region to hold meetings with representatives of the councils and with external stakeholders. Speaking of her mission, Speller explained : “although the work of media councils in the region is often discussed, it appeared that an up-to-date, detailed presentation of the councils' operations was missing. Now that this information has been collated as part of this study, it can be used to identify strategies that encourage the long-term functionality and sustainability of self-regulation in the region.”

Lack of financial sustainability combined with the reluctance of some members to accept moral sanctions and the limited participation of online media are shared concerns for press councils. The study identifies possible areas of support for the future including concrete suggestions for each press council. During the event, Speller provided the media councils and other participants from the region with an overview of the main findings, which were then discussed by the councils. Representatives from Albania and Turkey also shared their perspectives on self-regulation in their countries.

Representatives of press councils from South East Europe welcomed the discussion. Katerina Sinadinovska, from the Macedonian Council of Media Ethics – the newest of the councils - said “when discussing our challenges, we should still keep in mind the collective successes of our media councils in recent years. In spite of scarce budgets, we have undertaken many profile-raising activities for civil society, trained journalists and editors and dealt with numerous complaints. We must build on this important work in the future.” All the councils underline the need to find resources that keep them running during a time of financial crisis.  

Tarja Turtia from UNESCO commented “this study could help to enhance coordination among donors and partners, particularly in the framework of UNESCO’s ongoing projects in the region”. There is an increasing interest on the part of the international community to strengthen the capacity of press councils, as part of a broader strategy to promote media freedom. The benefits of the region's self-regulatory councils have been widely recognized, including the valuable service they provide to civil society. But to succeed, they need to be effective and well-known, and there needs to be cooperation from the media. The website of UNESCO's Communication and Information Sector provides more information about the Organisation's work in this important area.  

This work has been undertaken within the framework of the EU-UNESCO project “Media Accountability in South East Europe”, which started in January 2013 and encourages professional and ethical media reporting by supporting the creation and strengthening of media self-regulatory mechanisms in the region.

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