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Director-General condemns murder of journalist Pavel Sheremet in Ukraine

Vie, 22/07/2016 - 10:52

“I condemn the murder of Pavel Sheremet,” the Director-General said. “I call on the authorities to spare no effort in investigating this crime. In the interest of freedom of expression and freedom of information, it is important that those responsible for the killing of Pavel Sheremet be brought to justice.”

Sheremet, who worked for popular news website Ukrayinska Pravda and hosted a news programme on Radio Vesti, was killed in a car bomb in the Ukranian capital, Kiev, on 20 July. Shermet had won journalism awards from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The Director-General of UNESCO issues statements on the killing of media workers in line with Resolution 29 adopted by UNESCO Member States at the Organization’s General Conference of 1997, entitled “Condemnation of Violence against Journalists.” These statements are posted on a dedicated webpage, UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists.

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Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, s.coudray(at)unesco.org,  +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12

UNESCO is the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”

 

Global Media and Information Literacy Week 2016: Celebrate with us and register your events

Vie, 22/07/2016 - 10:28

This Global Call is open across the world, building up to the Global MIL Week celebrations that will take place from 31 October to 5 November. The feature event for Global MIL Week be held in Sao Paulo Brazil from November 2nd – 5th 2016. Local events can take place during the year leading up to Global MIL Week, or be announced as events that will occur in your country or region around the period of Global MIL Week in November.

You can register your event HERE.

New Paradigms for Intercultural Dialogue

This year the theme of Global MIL Week is New Paradigms for Intercultural Dialogue.

Media and Information literacy (MIL) is increasingly important in the global communications environment.

It enables users to understand how traditional and new media can be platforms to promote the values of peace and dialogue.  Media institutions themselves can do more to recognize the need to empower audiences with this knowledge.

The role of other intermediaries such as libraries, archive, museums and Internet irrespective of technologies used is also essential for MIL.

As it was emphasized during the Second European MIL Forum, Media and Information Literacy is a discipline that enables life. It aligns with developing participatory global citizenship identities that are crucial for developing more humane and democratic societies.

How to celebrate Global MIL Week?

UNESCO is inviting organizations, institutions and individuals to organize a MIL Day in their communities by bringing together diverse actors committed to MIL (NGOS, MIL practitioners, local media, policy makers, students, teachers etc.).

Many local MIL Days or activities will make an echo from the São Paulo conference. Relevant education/training institutions are invited to organize special debates, lectures, or colloquium to promote MIL around the globe.

Communication, information and library science, and education departments can disseminate research findings on themes related to media and information literacy and intercultural dialogue.

Organizations can use social media to raise awareness about MIL in civil society and join the Global Alliance for Media and Information Literacy (GAPMIL).

There are many more ways to mark Global MIL Week - take a look at all 10 ways to celebrate HERE.

The Global MIL Week 2016 is led by UNESCO in cooperation with General Assembly of the Global Alliance for Partnerships in Media and Information Literacy (GAPMIL), UNAOC and the Media and Information and Intercultural Dialogue (MILID) University Network.  Global MIL Week will be celebrated from 31 October to 5 November 2016 in São Paulo, Brazil.

IPDC contributes to first-ever UN report on SDGs

Vie, 22/07/2016 - 10:09

This recognition is contained in the UN Secretary-General’s maiden report Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals covering 17 goals and 169 targets.

The targets include ensuring public access to information and protecting fundamental freedoms. UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) made significant contributions to these issues being included within the 2030 Development Agenda.

In particular, IPDC work with Member States, other UN bodies and civil society, helped to secure two indicators which were used in the Secretary-General’s new report as a basis to assess Target 16.10 on public access and fundamental freedoms.

IPDC also contributed related data towards the new Report, helping to highlight gaps and challenges for achieving the SDGs.

The Report states: “Far too many people are poorly supported by weak institutions and lack access to justice, information and other fundamental freedoms.”

It observes: “A free press is closely linked to access to information and the protection of human rights, but the trend in this regard is discouraging. The number of journalists killed increased from 65 in 2010 to 114 in 2015”

However, the report points to momentum for some progress in that “by 2013, 90 States had adopted laws on freedom of and/or access to information”.

Director-General denounces killing of journalist Mustafa Cambaz in Turkey

Lun, 18/07/2016 - 16:58

“I condemn the killing of Mustafa Cambaz,” the Director-General said. “Journalists play a crucial role in keeping us informed of events, which is particularly important in times of uncertainty. Their safety must be respected.”

Mustafa Cambaz, a reporter for the Yeni Safak newspaper, was shot in Turkey on 15 July.

The Director-General of UNESCO issues statements on the killing of media workers in line with Resolution 29 adopted by UNESCO Member States at the Organization’s General Conference of 1997, entitled “Condemnation of Violence against Journalists.” These statements are posted on a dedicated webpage, UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists.

                                  ****

Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, s.coudray(at)unesco.org,  +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12

UNESCO is the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”

 

 

UNESCO and NRC help advance Pakistani legislation on safety of journalists and access to information

Mar, 12/07/2016 - 17:40

“The discussion of the two bills during the World Press Freedom Day has brought a unique opportunity to advance press freedom and access to information in Pakistan. It has made much progress on right to information legislation, but the country is still lacking a specific law regarding journalists’ safety. We are working to help the government and the media sector to make as much progress as possible” explains Ms Rihab Abdalhafiz, UNESCO Communication expert at its Islamabad office, deployed by the Norwegian Refugee Council since February 2016.

One important achievement of UNESCO’s work is to make the UN Plan of Action instrumental for media development organizations to share best practices with the government. “A key focus of our work is helping to raise to the governmental level recommendations made by all actors involved in the process,” Ms Abdalhafiz explained.

Pakistan endorsed the UN Plan of Action for the Journalists’ Safety and the issue of Impunity in 2013. Under the framework of the UN Plan, UNESCO and the Norwegian Refugee Council are supporting the Pakistani government in the consultation processes of the bills by bringing together parliamentarians, journalists, and civil society organizations to share best practices.

“Last May, World Press Freedom Day offered a very timely opportunity to discuss the upscaling to national level of two provincial Right To Information (RTI) laws which adhere to global standards. The event brought together RTI commissioners from Khyber Pakhtukhwa and Punjab, and governmental experts from the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage to share best practices in order to effectively replicate the provincial bill at the federal level. This is a bold step for a stronger and more effective legislation across the nation,” Ms Abdalhafiz said.

With regards to the current journalist’s protection bill, Ms Abdalhafiz considers that a crucial achievement has been for media organizations to feel supported by the UN Plan of Action in their advocacy with the government and in providing guidance to formulate recommendations.

According to Ms Sadaf Khan, Director of Programs of Media Matters for Democracy, a local organization involved in the drafting of the Journalists Protection and Welfare Draft bill, the UN Plan of Action helped different stakeholders rally together by providing them with a common platform and triggering dialogue between them.

“The bill mostly deals with criminal investigation procedures. One of the recommendations to combat impunity that has the potential to make the law unique is to establish a legislative body that can facilitate investigations and create a system that supports journalists under serious threats to relocate to a safer place,” Ms Khan explained.

A forthcoming assessment based on UNESCO’s Journalists’ Safety Indicators in Pakistan by the Institute for Research, Advocacy and Development (IRADA) indicates that Pakistan does not have any fully effective mechanisms in place in this regard. This includes a lack of specific institutions, programs and budgets for monitoring and reporting violence towards journalists.

“This situation is bound to change if we keep the current momentum for journalists’ safety and right to information. While the legislation process is a governmental issue, UNESCO and its partners’ work to mobilize relevant stakeholders in sharing best practices will enhance and strengthen the bills and keep the momentum going,” Ms Abdalhafiz expressed.

More about UNESCO partnership with NRC

UNESCO has gathered 15 UN agencies and some 40 NGOs together to implement the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. The Plan contributes to the creation of a free and safe environment for journalists and media workers, with a view to strengthening peace, democracy and development.

In this context, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has promoted the work of the UN Plan of Action through the deployment of NRC’s expert personnel roster NORCAP. The objective of the seconded experts is to work to ensure a safe environment for journalists by promoting professional standards, disseminating good practices, supporting professional associations in delivering safety training, and by raising awareness about the need for a culture of safety in media and an end to impunity for those who commit crimes against journalists.

Director-General condemns killing of local radio journalist Winston Leonardo Cano Túnchez in Guatemala

Mar, 12/07/2016 - 15:22

“I condemn the killing of Winston Leonardo Cano Túnchez,” the Director-General said. “Journalists should not have to risk their lives to bring us the news we need. I therefore urge the authorities to investigate this crime thoroughly.”

Winston Leonardo Cano Túnchez was a presenter on local radio La Jefa. He was shot on 8 April but his death has only been confirmed recently.

The Director-General of UNESCO issues statements on the killing of media workers in line with Resolution 29 adopted by UNESCO Member States at the Organization’s General Conference of 1997, entitled “Condemnation of Violence against Journalists.” These statements are posted on a dedicated webpage, UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists.

                                         ****

Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, s.coudray(at)unesco.org,  +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12

UNESCO is the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”

 

Director-General condemns murder of blogger Manoel Messias Pereira in Brazil

Mar, 12/07/2016 - 15:05

“I condemn the murder of Manoel Messias Pereira,” the Director-General said. “It is important that the perpetrators of this crime be brought to justice as part of efforts to improve the security of professional and citizen journalists alike.”

Pereira, also known as Manoel Benhur, wrote a blog on local politics for the news website sediverte.com. He was shot by unidentified gunmen while driving his motorcycle on 9 April but his death was only recently confirmed.

The Director-General of UNESCO issues statements on the killing of media workers in line with Resolution 29 adopted by UNESCO Member States at the Organization’s General Conference of 1997, entitled “Condemnation of Violence against Journalists.” These statements are posted on a dedicated webpage, UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists.

                                      ****

Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, s.coudray(at)unesco.org,  +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12

UNESCO is the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”

 

Migration an opportunity, not a threat to sustainable development

Vie, 08/07/2016 - 15:10

In this context, on Wednesday 6 July UNESCO held a landmark conference entitled “Migration for Sustainable Development: Social Transformations, Media Narratives and Education”. Experts from a wide range of backgrounds came together to discuss how civil society and the media can contribute to greater understanding and tolerance in societies facing migration-related challenges.

Frank La Rue, Assistant Director-General of UNESCO for Communication and Information, opened the event, imploring people to understand that “we should not see migrants as victims, or much less as a threat. Migrants are people with an identity and rights like anyone else.”

Her Excellency Ms Eleonora Mitrofanova, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of the Russian Federation to UNESCO, shared her concerns about the social backlash occurring in many countries. “We are seeing a growth in the violations of migrants’ human rights, anti-immigrant policies, and a growth in discrimination and xenophobia,” Ms Mitrofanova said. She also pointed to an increasing “feminisation” of migration, with women often representing a majority of many migrant and refugee groups.

Alexander Boroda from the Russian Federal Research and Methodology Centre for Tolerance, Psychology and Education shared the experiences of the organization, which has positively influenced the discussion in Russia surrounding the issue of migration. “The idea is to help people better appreciate and respect others, and the opinion of others,” Mr Boroda said.

The first panel discussion was related to improving public perceptions of refugees through more nuanced media narratives, training and education.

“There is a lot of skilled labour in the refugee community – doctors, labourers, journalists,” said Arman Niamat Ullah, a journalist with Refugee.tv, an online outlet staffed almost entirely by refugees. Mr Ullah himself came into Europe through Greece as a refugee three years ago, and has since travelled back to document the individual stories of those passing through now. “We have 55 journalists, and 50 of them are former refugees. The mainstream media has to provide a platform and training for these types of people.”

This was echoed by Lisa Söderlindh from the Swedish Migration Agency, who called for identifying refugees with key skills and experience, providing training and then connecting them with employment opportunities. “The important thing is to get refugees and asylum seekers who have journalistic training behind the editorial desk,” she said.

The second panel addressed the drivers of migration and the need for social science to inform policy-making.

The panel was moderated by Prof. Mehmet Akif Kireçci, from Bilkent University and Vice-President of the Intergovernmental Council of the MOST Programme, who emphasized the priority given by MOST to Migration.

Dina Ionesco from the International Organization on Migration addressed migration, noting its environmental character. She underscored the multi-causality of migration. She noted specifically that “sudden-onset climatic events, including floods and diseases, can lead to forced migration, while slow-onset degradation makes it difficult for people to live, causing them to move as well—but it is much harder to manage”.

Mernard Mumpasi Lututala, Director of UNESCO’s Category II Centre on Women, Gender and Peacebuilding in the Great Lakes Region, addressed tensions in Africa between tribal and national identities. He further noted the rapid development of African cities and the pressures on infrastructure. He highlighted the increasing complexity of migratory flows, especially in Africa, where many migrants are in “limbo, comfortable neither in their host countries nor their countries of origin”.

Arno Tanner of the Finnish Immigration Service noted both push and pull factors driving migration to Northern Europe such as persecution, insecurity, social causes, opportunistic smuggling, work and greater opportunity, and a combination of any number of these. He also cited population growth, high rates of youth unemployment, environmental causes and subsequent food price increases as drivers of migration.

Finally, Adebayo Clement Akomolafe related migration to broader questions about identity. As he said, “the identity of a thing is dependent on the conditions that create it”. He encouraged the audience to look past the sterile methodologies currently used to research migrants to reach out to migrants’ narratives and thus get a much fuller picture of their situation.

The round table event was an intersectoral initiative organised by the UNESCO Sectors for Social and Human Sciences (SHS) and Communication and Information (CI), and was supported by the Russian Federal Research and Methodology Centre for Tolerance, Psychology and Education. It builds upon previous work undertaken by UNESCO on the topic, including a major event in March on media and migration, and through the Management of Social Transformations (MOST) programme.

The first round table featured Andreas Wolter, Vice-Mayor of Cologne in Germany; Ms Lisa Söderlindh from the Swedish Migration Agency; Alla Semyonysheva from the Russian Federal Agency for Ethnic Affairs; Arman Niamat Ullah from refugee-led agency Refugee.tv; Emmanuel Boutterin, President of the World Association of Community Broadcasters (AMARC); and Syrian journalist Iyad Kallas.

The second panel was moderated by Prof. Mehmet Akif Kirecci, Associate Professor of History, Bilkent University, Vice-President of the Intergovernmental Council of the MOST Programme, and the speakers were Dina Ionesco from the International Organisation for Migration; Bernard Mumpasi Lututala from UNESCO’s Category II Centre on Women, Gender and Peacebuilding in the Great Lakes Region; Arno Tanner from the Finnish Immigration Service; and Adebayo Clement Akomalafe from the International Alliance for Localisation in India.

Joint UNESCO-Talkmate Partnership for the development of World Atlas of Languages

Vie, 08/07/2016 - 10:08

Building on the existing UNESCO’s Atlas of Languages in Danger, a new online collaborative platform “World Atlas of Languages” will provide a wide range of technical and collaborative facilities to different stakeholders to access and share own data on linguistic diversity, information about good practices, existing language teaching and learning solutions, and host user-generated content and discussions.  This work will be done bearing in mind that language has the capacity to reconcile the ideas and values of people from diverse cultural, social, economic, religious and professional backgrounds. It is a key contributor to dialogue, reconciliation, tolerance and peace, as well as matters for sustainable development.

The question of language revitalization, maintenance and promotion is complex and multilayered. Many language revitalization efforts were taken by the national and local authorities around the world to provide support to the lesser used language communities. Numerous language documentation initiatives were launched by academia to document language and relevant resources as well as support speaker communities with new language tools. Yet, much more has to be done. The UNESCO Atlas of Languages in Danger includes data from nearly 2,728 out of some 6,500 languages in the world. Documentation of language is not easy as the data provided by different stakeholders is not accurate and reliable, varies from source to source regarding those languages which were not yet properly documented or on which information is not shared among its bearers. Moreover, the situation of languages varies in different countries. Therefore, efforts are required for their revitalization, maintenance and promotion, which demand focused and adapted solutions. At the same time, there has been a renewed interest in safeguarding linguistic diversity as a vehicle of development. Moreover, the role of cutting edge Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) is growing in language documentation, revitalization and inter-generational transmission. ICTs are vital educational and communicational tools helping communities, public and private organizations to provide access to information and knowledge to all citizens.

That being said, the UNESCO and Talkmate launch event brings together a number of leading scientists, governmental officials, public and private organizations, UN organizations, as well as civil society to raise awareness of all stakeholders on the importance of linguistic diversity and multilingualism for sustainable and inclusive development. Accordingly, the thematic roundtable on “Language matters for development” assesses the current situation of linguistic diversity, identifies existing challenges and new opportunities arising from scientific and technological development, and exchanges the scientific information among higher educational institutions, national public institutions on linguistic diversity. It furthermore evaluates the application of languages in different domains and aims to create a new institutional network working on language issues.

Director-General condemns killing of journalist Salvador Olmos García in Mexico

Jue, 07/07/2016 - 18:14

“I condemn the killing of Salvador Olmos García,” the Director-General said. “Community radio stations provide an invaluable service to the public by covering local issues. Violence against the media is unacceptable and I call for effective action to ensure that the perpetrators of this crime are brought to justice.”

Olmos hosted Pitaya Negra, a programme on the local community radio station Tu un Ñuu Savi. There is no information to date about the context or possible perpetrators of the murder.

The Director-General of UNESCO issues statements on the killing of media workers in line with Resolution 29 adopted by UNESCO Member States at the Organization’s General Conference of 1997, entitled “Condemnation of Violence against Journalists.” These statements are posted on a dedicated webpage, UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists.

 ***

 Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, s.coudray@unesco.org, +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12

UNESCO is the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”

 

 

Irina Bokova Champions Free Speech at Sweden’s Almedalen Week

Jue, 07/07/2016 - 13:47

The event featured the participation of H.E. Ms. Alice Bah Kuhnke, Minister for Culture and Democracy, along with a panel including Maria Persson Löfgren, foreign correspondent for Swedish Radio, Jonathan Lundqvist, from Swedish Reporters without Borders, and Jeanette Gustafsdotter, from Swedish Media Publishers’ Association. The event began with an interview with the 2016 Laureate of the UNESCO Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, Ms Khadija Ismayilova.

Almedalen Week is Sweden’s major annual political gathering of political parties, government and political leaders, as well as media. The week features over a thousand events and includes several tens of thousands of participants.

Irina Bokova thanked Swedish Radio and especially Director-General Cilla Benkö for the invitation – highlighting the depth of Sweden’s commitment to defending freedom of expression and access to information.

“Freedom of expression is the foundation on which all the other freedoms rest,” said the Director-General. “It is the bedrock of democratic society, good governance, the rule of law, transparency and accountability. Fundamentally, I believe it goes to the heart of what it means to be human.”

She spoke of the paradoxes facing freedom of expression today, at a time when creating and sharing knowledge has never been so borderless, but when steep new challenges are arising – in the lack of pluralism, legal and regulatory mechanisms of control, and national legislation on media and freedom of information that fail to meet international standards.

“Most tragic of all, 825 journalists have lost their lives over the past decade,” she said. “Most are not correspondents in war settings, but local journalists reporting on corruption and criminality. This is made worse because less than six percent of killings have been resolved.”

The Director-General highlighted the leadership role of UNESCO as the United Nations agency working on the frontlines of free speech across the world, to enhance the safety of journalists, and to support media development.

This includes spearheading the United Nations Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity – working with Governments and professional associations, to establish media monitoring committees, to create national mechanisms, to train journalists.

“In Mexico, Paraguay, Uruguay and Chile, in Tunisia, we are working with educational institutions, with justice ministries and security forces, to train judges, to sharpen the work of law enforcement.”

She pointed to UNESCO’s work in advancing gender equality in and ‎through the media, as well in fighting impunity, and defending rights and freedoms online, through the Internet. 

“Sweden plays an outstanding role in all this,” she said. “I thank the Swedish Government for its champion leadership, and support to UNESCO, namely through the Swedish International Development Agency.”

The Director-General pointed to the success of projects supported by Sweden in the Arab region, in Latin America and in South East Asia – and linked all of this to action to take forward the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, notably SDG 16 target 10: “to ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements.”

“Rights and freedoms are ends in themselves – they are also drivers of positive change across the board,” she said.

In her intervention, Ms. Alice Bah Kuhnke, Minister for Culture and Democracy, spoke of Sweden’s commitment and action to defend freedom of expression and free speech -- including through the important platform provided by UNESCO.

This was followed by a panel debate with Thomas Mattsson, Jonathan Lundqvist and Maria Persson Löfgren on their experience in the field.

Inform, Engage, Investigate: Lessons Learned from Zika Outbreak

Mar, 05/07/2016 - 14:42

The core principles of media, such as diversity of sources, editorial independence and quality coverage, must be emergency-proof. On this basis, UNESCO is organizing a two-day workshop entitled “Inform, Engage, Investigate: Lessons Learned from Zika Outbreak”, which will be held in Panama City, Panama from 14 to 15 July 2016 with participation of the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to Frank La Rue, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, who will represent UNESCO at the event, communication is essential for all development issues, but for health matters it is of particular urgency and importance. “A call should be made for responsible reporting by health institutions and media in order to be as accurate as possible. Communication has to be designed in a way that it is scientifically exact but, in the same time, accessible to a broad public,” says Mr La Rue.

Since its establishment, UNESCO has strived to enable the development of a vibrant and quality media sector worldwide. Media diversity, quality coverage, impartiality, uncompromised editorial independence – they are all essential prerequisites to people’s fundamental right to know. Through investigative journalism, media can produce verifiable facts, expose wrongdoings and stimulate public debate by providing access to information. In times of crisis and emergency, it is particularly crucial for the audience to trust the knowledge delivered by the media and react upon it accordingly with potentially life-saving endeavors. This workshop will be the opportunity to gather public, private and associative stakeholders involved in crisis management, disaster-relief operations and communications to allow them to exchange on their respective realities, needs and constraints.

The main objective of this workshop is to strengthen media’s potential in crisis situation in Latin America and the Caribbean. In line with World Humanitarian Summit, this regional workshop follows UNESCO’s initiative to fully develop and promote media’s potential in times of epidemics and crisis – as established during the preventive radio campaign led by the Organization to tackle Zika virus across the Latin America and the Caribbean region.

Representatives from public, private and community radio stations, media organizations and associations (International Association of Broadcasting, Radio France Internationale, TV Globo, Voice of America, World Association of Community Radios, World Federation of Science Journalist), as well as several members of the RegLAC Communication Group, composed of UN agencies (UNICEF, UNDP, UNIDSR, OCHA, FAO) and major humanitarian organizations (Refugee Education Trust, Plan International, World Vision) have already confirmed their participation.

Each session will address a specific issue related to risk communication: from reporting medical data, to effectively engaging affected communities, as well as ensuring media’s principles in perilous contexts.

For more information or any inquiry please contact:

Bangkok workshop to introduce new mindful journalism curriculum for regional integration

Lun, 04/07/2016 - 15:57

The workshop is part of the IPDC project to develop a curriculum and to train-the-trainers to implement journalism training in the ASEAN and SAARC regions that will take a unique approach to communication theories that promote mindfulness and social harmony based on Asian philosophies.

Sixteen mid-career journalism trainers will be taking part in the workshop along with the project team from Chulalongkorn University led by Dr Jirayudh Sinthuphan and Dr Kalinga Seneviratne. The trainers will come from Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bhutan, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

The project team developed six modules for journalism training in Asia drawn from UNESCO’s Model Curricula for Journalism Education and incorporating Asian philosophical concepts. The modules include:

  • Media and Society;
  • Asian Perspectives and Communication Theory;
  • Human Centred Journalism;
  • Reporting Climatic Change and Sustainable Development;
  • Development Journalism; and
  • Mindful Investigative Reporting.

Each module comprises 12 teaching weeks and is designed for mass communications or journalism courses at the undergraduate level.

The curricula have incorporated Asian philosophies and communication theories emanating from Buddhist, Hindu and Confucius teachings that cover areas such as social harmony, protecting nature and environment, respecting cultural diversity and encouraging sufficiency economic models. With development of mindfulness becoming a global movement today, all the curricula have a strong emphasis on mindful communication and its adaptation to the practice of journalism.

IPDC is the only multilateral forum in the UN system designed to mobilize the international community to discuss and promote media development in developing countries. The Programme not only provides support for media projects but also seeks an accord to secure a healthy environment for the growth of free and pluralistic media in developing countries.

Promoting freedom of expression and access to public information in Latin America

Vie, 01/07/2016 - 17:18
From 25 to 27 June, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information Frank La Rue accompanied the Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova in her mission to Paraguay and Uruguay to strengthen the cooperation in the area of freedom of expression, access to public information and safety of journalists.

Correcting media myths about refugees and migrants

Vie, 01/07/2016 - 15:40

Yet these challenges are made even harder by a lack of accurate, accessible information in the media, where myth and misinformation are prevalent. At best, coverage concentrates on refugees as victims and the wider humanitarian implications, and at worst focuses on the challenges involved or the imagined threat of a sudden influx of outsiders. Almost completely missing from media coverage are the multiple benefits for the host countries, and the countless stories of individuals, often highly educated and eager to work, seeking a new life and contributing positively to their new societies.

UNESCO has created a course curriculum for journalism and media training institutions on Reporting Migration with a Focus on Refugees. The curriculum focuses on the fostering of partnerships to allow a more balanced view of the situation.

Here are some of the most common and damaging media myths surrounding the issue of refugees:

MYTH: Refugees are a European problem

Actually, Europe is home to just 6% of global refugees, compared with 39% in the Middle East and North Africa, and 29% in the rest of Africa. Among Syrian refugees, the vast majority are in the bordering countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. While more than one million refugees arrived in Europe by sea in 2015, this represents just 0.3% of the continent’s total population. (Source)

MYTH: Refugees are not desperate – they are choosing to migrate

By definition, refugees are people that flee across borders to escape violent conflict or persecution. They are making use of their legal right to asylum, something included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and a right that you also share if you were to ever need it in the future. The great personal risks refugees take in fleeing are testament to the seriousness of the situation they face.

Migrants are a broader category which does include those moving for economic reasons, but also people fleeing environmental disasters, starvation and famine.(Source)

MYTH: Most refugees are young, able-bodied men

Actually, according to UNHCR, more than 75% of all Syrian refugees are women and children. Of refugees arriving in Europe, more than half are now women and children. (Sources 1, Source 2)

MYTH: Refugees steal jobs from their host country

Refugees create jobs. According to OECD research, refugees expand the domestic market and create a job for every one they occupy. In some countries, they were responsible for nearly one third of economic growth in the period from 2007 to 2013. (Source 1, Source 2)

MYTH: Refugees are welfare cheats

Most refugees pay much more into the public purse than they take from it. Research in the UK, Canada, Germany, Greece, Portugal and Spain shows that refugees are less or equally dependent on public funds than locals. (Source)

MYTH: Refugees and migrants bring terrorism

Of the major terrorist attacks worldwide in recent years, the vast majority have been perpetrated by citizens born in the countries involved. In the words of UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres, “it is not the refugee outflows that cause terrorism, it is terrorism, tyranny and war that create refugees.” Creating divisions between people and fostering hatred between groups is part of the strategy of terrorism in the first place. (Source)

MYTH: Developed countries are overcrowded and cannot take any more people

The growth in native population in most developed countries is actually in decline, something that migration can be key to addressing. Refugees and migrants can sustain population levels and provide a base of working age people to support a growing number of retirees. (Source)

For more information about the upcoming UNESCO event on Migration for Sustainable Development: Social Transformations, Media Narratives and Education, to be held on Wednesday 6 July, 2016 at UNESCO HQ in Paris, France, please visit the event website

Riga Recommendations highlight Media and Information Literacy as a life code for sustainable development

Vie, 01/07/2016 - 15:28

MIL is very alive, within the institutions and on grassroots level. Calling on the roles of UNESCO Member States, Internet and technological intermediaries, civil society and GAPMIL as well as educators, libraries, journalists, audiovisual regulators, publishers and others, the Riga Recommendations recognized that MIL is a life code that can underpin sustainable development.

Highlights from the Second European MIL Forum

During the three inspiring days of the Forum, MIL was analyzed and explored from many different angles and approaches.  The participants were faced with challenging questions about MIL in this shifting media landscape, but also reviewed successful examples of initiatives that are empowering people to be more critical about their information environment.

The need for stronger involvement of the internet industry was emphasized, as well as the necessity for strong contribution to the creation of a sustainable system through national policies in integrating MIL into formal, non-formal and informal education.

The information behavior of people needs to be further explored – especially of those that are purposely avoiding and denying information. More insight is needed on how people are making decisions and how to engage with them. The lifelong learning approach to MIL is essential, through continuous education for all age groups. Thus, MIL is not just the set of skills for youth - often underlined as the group that is most vulnerable - but for all generations. Still, the role of youth has to be more substantial; they need to be involved not just as beneficiaries, but as participants, leaders and ambassadors, creators and stakeholders.

Empathy is crucial for MIL: “Change how you see, see how you change”

Empathy, as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another, was underlined by several speakers and echoed by Ms Dace Melbarde, Minister of Culture of Latvia and President of the Latvian National Commission for UNESCO in her closing remarks.

Empathy was seen as one of the critical components of MIL in promoting peace and nonviolent behavior. MIL enables people, through informed self-introspection and communal exchanges to appreciate, embrace a sense of connection the circumstances and even differences of others – to empathize with other. One speaker noted an anonymous quote that he came across and related it to MIL, “Change how you see, see how you change”. This is especially needed in the current landscape where information and social media are facing many challenges often demonstrated through the race for clicks. There is strong need to support factual journalism. Thus, the Riga Recommendations on MIL call all stakeholders to promote, through concrete actions, MIL as enabling all citizens to take part in political and social life in a democratic society.

Over 50% of youth don’t know how to respond to hate, radical and extremist content

During the last day’s Plenary session and Round tables, speakers emphasized how young audiences are receiving information that is less and less structured: through friend’s recommendations, social media algorithms and scraps of information. As explained by Mr Alton Grizzle, Programme Specialist at Communication and Information Sector in UNESCO, 54% of youth surveyed in a research reported that they do not know or are not sure if they know how to response to radical and extremist content online.

This UNESCO-led research explored youth perspectives and responses to hate, radical and extremist content online and it shows that most young people encounter such content on Facebook (57%), followed by Youtube (14%), News networks’ websites (9%) and Twitter (8 %). Countering these challenges then require a combination on innovative social media interventions combine with more traditional structured and face-to-face methods.  In this context which lacks reliable journalistic information, they may perceive hate speech as a self-presentation or sign of courage or rebelliousness.

Furthermore, research quoted by Ms Ivana Jelaca from Media Diversity Institute about young people in Serbia showed that 83% of youth consider their image as the most important, whereas only 31% sees democratic engagement and participation in civic initiatives as significant. It was, thus, concluded how it is necessary to find new formats and platforms and new writing styles, sending reliable journalistic content through platforms that young people use.  The Director of the Swedish Media Council, Ms Ewa Thorslund, shared their experiences in production of information and pedagogical material used by parents, educators and people who meet children and young people in their profession in order to promote the empowering of minors as conscious media users and to protect them from harmful media influences.

Propaganda, ignorance and inter-cultural dialogue

As it was noted during the Forum, the real dialogue should also happen at grassroots - individual level. Propaganda, often so harmful, can be used as beneficial to raise awareness on all levels and inspire people to action.  There is clear absence of the inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue in the media, and these competencies should be integrated into MIL education, to help overcome disinformation, stereotypes and intolerance.  In order to contribute to the building of viable approach to MIL, bottom up and top down approach needs to be used. That means highlighting grassroots activities in order to convince policy makers that MIL is significant and comprehensible for everyone. In that sense, media and education policy must be based on empirical evidence.

Further on, the potential blind spots for MIL are to be explored: is there an economical side of MIL that is not being seen, but has major implications? How is informal education on MIL contributing with significant impact to changing of attitudes of youth? How is research impacting policy development and what is empirical evidence needed for sustainable policy development?  Many others questions were asked, laying the foundation for the creation of new knowledge in this crucial topic of media and information literate societies.

The Second European Media and Information Literacy Forum (EU-MILINFO II) was organized by UNESCO, the European Commission, the Latvian Government and the Sub-Chapter of the Global Alliance for Partnerships on Media and Information Literacy (GAPMIL), under the theme “Media and Information Literacy In Europe: Citizens’ Critical Competencies for a Rights-Based, Transparent, Open, Secure and Inclusive Information Environment”. It took place from 27 to 29 June 2016, in Riga, Latvia.

UNESCO contributes to Kenya’s Digital Literacy Programme by capacitating primary school teachers

Jue, 30/06/2016 - 14:49

The Digital Literacy Programme is Kenya’s national ICT program that aims to improve learning and build 21st century skills among primary school students through the use of digital technologies in education. Through the Digital Literacy Programme, it is expected that all 22,000 public primary schools in Kenya will be equipped with 1.2 million digital devices by the end of 2017.

Successful implementation of the Digital Literacy Programme will depend upon the capacity of primary school teachers and education managers to fully harness the power of technology to enhance student learning. Therefore, in light of the Framework Agreement signed by the Government of Kenya and UNESCO on cooperation in the implementation of the Digital Literacy Programme, UNESCO will assist the Ministry of Education in developing capacities of over 22,000 teachers and 22,000 head teachers in all public primary schools, 1,000 field officers, as well as fostering the use of accessible ICTs in Kenya.

The KICT-CFT online course has been developed and piloted nationwide in two groups of selected teachers. The second cohort of 59 teachers drawn from 47 counties received face-to-face and online trainings from January to May 2016. From the feedback gathered, they felt the course was relevant and beneficial to their professional development. They also expressed the importance of online facilitators for coordinating remote collaboration among the cohort.

“The teachers really appreciated the course, up to the end,” said Aggrey O. Joab, one of the online facilitators from KICD, “The cohort’s online chat platform is still vibrant even after the course came to an end.”

At the workshop, online facilitators, content developers and technical experts made revisions in the course materials and facilitator guide according to teachers’ feedback. A strategic plan was also developed to guide implementation of the DLP at the next stage.  The workshop brought together partners from the Ministry of Education, Teachers Service Commission (TSC), Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa (CEMASTEA), Kenya Education Management Institute (KEMI), National ICT Innovation and Integration Centre (NI3C) and Airtel Kenya.

Ivy O. Maina, course administrator from TSC, commented that the workshop was “very useful and particularly helpful for the online facilitators to better understand the course.”

The  ‘ICT CFT Harnessing OER’ project , implemented by the Communication and Information Sector of UNESCO,  aims to harness OER for the ICT Competency Framework for Teachers to contribute to national educational goals for building Knowledge Societies.  This project, launched in 2013, and implemented in 3 world regions, aims to harness OER for the ICT Competency Framework for Teachers to contribute to national educational goals for building Knowledge Societies.   It support the objective of the CI Sector as mandated by UNESCO Member States at the 38th UNESCO General Conference to have advanced Universal access to information through Open Solutions, and namely to support teachers in effectively harnessing ICT in their professional Practice to promote quality learning environments.

Building capacity of indigenous journalists in Thailand and Cambodia to advance indigenous peoples’ rights

Jue, 30/06/2016 - 14:17

The two basic journalism trainings were organized in July and September 2015 in Surin Province in Thailand and in Phnom Penh in Cambodia. During those trainings, the participants were introduced to journalism and communication, to the role and responsibilities of journalists and to a methodology on how to make and structure a story.

Ms Nittaya Mee, a founding member of the Indigenous Media Network (IMN) in Thailand who benefited from the training, said: “the journalism training conducted in Surin province in Thailand enabled the organization to expand its membership and to create a pool of indigenous journalists making the network’s presence more visible in the Northeast region of Thailand.” She also added that this visibility will be increased with the establishment of the website imnvoices.com, because through this tool the trainees can share stories from their own communities to a wider public. 

She mentioned that the training was also helpful for the local indigenous communities because some of the trainees were able to immediately apply their skills and produce reports and stories relevant to their communities. Five participants from the training reported also to the second assembly of the Council of Indigenous Peoples of Thailand (CIPT) which has now 190 members with five representatives from each of the 37 indigenous groups across Thailand, established to promote the rights of indigenous peoples in Thailand.

Mr Samin Ngach, an indigenous activist from Cambodia, also reported that the basic journalism training conducted in Phnom Penh enhanced the skills of indigenous media professionals and fostered closer collaboration between indigenous media professionals and other indigenous peoples’ organizations.

The IPDC project also enabled AIPP and its members, through the organization of public fora and dialogues, to bring together different stakeholders, including government officials and leaders of the indigenous communities in each country, to raise public awareness about the rights of indigenous peoples and to advocate for a more inclusive policy.

IPDC is the only multilateral forum in the UN system designed to mobilize the international community to discuss and promote media development in developing countries. The Programme not only provides support for media projects but also seeks an accord to secure a healthy environment for the growth of free and pluralistic media in developing countries.

Director-General deplores death of Syrian journalist Khalid Al Issa in Turkey

Jue, 30/06/2016 - 10:20

“I condemn this act of violence which led to Khalid Al Issa’s death,” the Director-General said. “The work and commitment of media professionals as purveyors of accurate information is essential in all societies, and especially those facing conflict. Without information, no progress can be made. I remind all parties to observe the civilian status of journalists and their right to exercise their profession as prescribed by the Geneva Conventions.”

Khalid Al Issa, seriously injured on 16 June after a homemade bomb was detonated in the building where he lived, succumbed to his wounds in a hospital in the city of Antakya, Turkey.

The Director-General of UNESCO issues statements on the killing of media workers in line with Resolution 29 adopted by UNESCO Member States at the Organization’s General Conference of 1997, entitled “Condemnation of Violence against Journalists.” These statements are posted on a dedicated webpage, UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists.

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Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, s.coudray(at)unesco.org, +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12

UNESCO is the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”

 

 

 

Simultaneous bottom-up and top-down approach needed to expand media and information literacy

Jue, 30/06/2016 - 09:25

“We need both a bottom up and top down approach for MIL,” said Carolyn Wilson from Western University, Canada, and the Chair of GAPMIL Interim International Steering Committee. “That means highlighting grassroots activities in order to convince policy makers that MIL is really significant.” Ms Wilson underlined the need to highlight that literacies should not be developed just for the sake of developing them, but because of what is to be gained from MIL skills.

The Second European Media and Information Literacy Forum (EU-MILINFO II) is organized by UNESCO, the European Commission, the Latvian Government and the Sub-Chapter of the GAPMIL, under the theme “Media and Information Literacy in Europe: Citizens’ Critical Competencies for a Rights-Based, Transparent, Open, Secure and Inclusive Information Environment”. It takes place from 27 to 29 June 2016, in Riga, Latvia.

The conference has surfaced that many stakeholders and institutions worldwide are implementing MIL-related activities of different scope and impact. Nevertheless, only a handful have national MIL-related policies and comprehensive strategies to implement them.

MIL that is understandable for everyone

Igor Kanizaj, Vice-dean for science and international cooperation at the Faculty of Political Science in Zagreb, Croatia pointed out several entry points for MIL actions.

“Academia is expected to initiate new alliances, and journalists should be included in the projects. Cooperation with private sector (ICTs) should be initiated and regulatory bodies motivated for MIL.

“At the same time that curricula should be changed, there should also be educational projects developed for parents,” said Mr Kanizaj. 

The need for MIL competencies for participative democracy has been echoed throughout all Plenary sessions and round tables. Divina Frau-Meigs, representative of the GAPMIL European Sub-Chapter and professor at University of Sorbonne Nouvelle, pointed out that MIL competencies, policies and strategies should be developed in a concrete way that is comprehensible for everyone and which takes into consideration that intergenerational dialogue that will be crucial for Europe, a region with a significant aging population.

 Too often we assume that only young people are the vulnerable ones. We forget that there are other important audiences for media literacies,” said Ms Wilson, suggesting the need to go beyond formal education. “MIL should be promoted through libraries and community centres, so all age groups can be involved,” she added.

Inspiring projects in Europe

Speakers of the Forum shared many inspiring examples of projects all over the Europe. Film clubs in the UK have grown from a pilot of 25 schools to 7000 participating schools. “Attending a film club regularly has improved children’s confidence, motivation to learn and literacy, as well as their communication and critical skills,” said Mark Higham, cultural educator from Film Literacy Europe. 

The experience and an experiment from the Latvia Safer Internet Centre shows that young people are deeply unaware of privacy issues on the internet. However, the Centre has started dealing with this problem through the development of textbooks for children on MIL, which have been widely used in Latvian primary schools and gained nationwide popularity.

What about media ethics?

In building trust in media and its content, Dr. Xavier Landes, an expert in media ethics from the University of Copenhagen, raised the importance of good manners.

“In order to build trust in the public, good manners are essential, even though often seen as trivial by professionals and not too serious by ethicists. However, professionals and commentators too often downplay the importance of media manners. Professional ethics is about codes, and codes are definitely important. But manners go beyond that. They are about personal ethics,” Dr. Landes said.

GAPMIL calls for an internationally-recognized Global MIL Week

The call for a global special focus on MIL was made at the conference by GAPMIL, an alliance of over 500 organizations and individuals who are actively involved in different actions connected to MIL. The Alliance was initiated by UNESCO.

GAPMIL has launched an international petition for an internationally recognized Global MIL Week. The proposal can be supported at: https://www.change.org/p/support-call-for-an-internationally-recognized-global-media-and-information-literacy-week.

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