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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.

UNESCO champions freedom of expression with the Supreme Court of Justice of Uruguay

Mié, 29/06/2016 - 21:36

The agreement with the Supreme Court of Justice of Uruguay was signed by the UNESCO Director-General and the President of the Supreme Court of Justice of Uruguay, Mr Ricardo C. Pérez Manrique, in the presence of other high-level authorities from the judicial branch.

This agreement confirms the determination of the Supreme Court of Justice and UNESCO to deepen their cooperation on issues that are vital for vibrant democracy, open societies and more inclusive and sustainable development across the region. At a time of deep social transformations, defending freedom of expression plays an essential part in advancing human rights and dignity and in strengthening the grounds for social cohesion and more lasting peace.

“Independent judicial systems are fundamental pillars to guaranteeing freedom of expression and transparency in all democracies,” said the Director-General. “ I congratulate the Government of Uruguay for its leadership in promoting and defending human rights and fundamental freedoms – I see this agreement as a model for other countries in the region.

” The President of the Supreme Court of Justice of Uruguay, Mr Ricardo C. Pérez Manrique, underlined also that “this Memorandum of Understanding aims to promote the participation of civil society in defending all human rights”. 

The agreement provides a strategic framework for reinforcing the institution and the capacities of judicial officials in Uruguay. On this basis, UNESCO and partners will support the training process and improve the understanding, knowledge and sensitivity among actors in the judiciary systems on international standards, through a wide range of dialogue and capacity building initiatives. 

Uruguay currently holds the Permanent Secretariat of the Ibero-American Judicial Summit, and will encourage similar agreements with UNESCO. In April this year, UNESCO signed an agreement with the Ibero-American Judicial Summit in Paraguay (the Supreme Court of Paraguay) to strengthen freedom of expression, access to public information and the safety of journalists in the country. The new agreement with Uruguay is the result of action, including training, taken forward over the last three years by the Latin American Summit of the Judiciary. With the support of the Summit, UNESCO has trained more than 2,000 judicial officers in 22 countries in Latin America. 

The Director-General highlighted the importance of the agreement for the country and the region, and also to encourage deeper South-South cooperation to strengthen the role of judiciaries in protecting and promoting freedom of expression as cornerstones of democracy. 

This new agreement fits into the wider framework of UNESCO’s action across the region to defend freedom of expression – notably with the support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency – and is in line with UNESCO’s commitment to accompany States as they implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, especially SDG 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions. 

“All of this reflects UNESCO’s deepening engagement across the region,” said Irina Bokova, “Especially to support and accompany governments and societies facing social transformation and leading peace-building processes.”

The review of the Memory of the World Programme is now online

Mié, 29/06/2016 - 16:26

This review is seeking to explore means for further improvement of the programme. Welcomed by the UNESCO Executive Board at its meeting in April 2016, the review is designed to be wide-ranging and transparent. The objectives of the review are also fully explained in the Invitation by the Chairman of the International Advisory Committee.

In this spirit, Member States, the Memory of the World community and all relevant stakeholders are invited to contribute to the review by posting their comments by 30 September 2016 at:
https://www.unesco-ci.org/cmscore/content/mow-consultation-add-comment

The proposals and observations received will be analysed and compiled by the IAC in a final report to be distributed to Member States.

In order to submit comments, a special access code is needed and can be received upon request from the Memory of the World Secretariat.

For any additional information, please contact the Memory of the World Secretariat (tel.: 0033145684368, e-mail: mowsecretariat(at)unesco.org )

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 is intended to protect documentary heritage, and helps networks of experts to exchange information and raise resources for preservation of, and access to, documentary material.

Director-General condemns killing of two journalists in Guatemala: Álvaro Alfredo Aceituno López and Diego Salomón Esteban Gaspar

Mié, 29/06/2016 - 09:56

“I condemn the killings of Diego Salomón Esteban Gaspar and Álvaro Alfredo Aceituno López," the Director-General said. "Violent crimes must not be allowed to limit media workers’ freedom to carry out their work, which is important for society as a whole.”

On 25 June, Aceituno López, director and broadcaster of Radio Ilusión, a local station, was shot in the city of Quetzaltenango in the west of Guatemala.

Meanwhile, independent reports confirmed the killing on 30 April of Esteban Gaspar, a presenter on local broadcaster Radio Sembrador in Ixcán, in the north of the country.

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

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

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

 

 

Media and information literacy is a tool that enables life

Mar, 28/06/2016 - 16:55

Media and Information Literacy (MIL) also received strong recognition by the government of Latvia, with Ms Inara Murniece, Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Latvia present on the opening session of the Forum. Ms Dace Melbārde, the Minister for Culture of the Republic of Latvia, emphasized the importance of MIL at the official reception organized by the Latvian government, stating: “MIL is a GPS of the media and information landscape”.

Underlining the point, UNESCO’s Marius Lukosiunas stated: “We know that MIL is about helping people to navigate their way through information proliferation, giving them the critical intellectual skills to evaluate and discern what comes across their radar”. He spoke on behalf of Mr Guy Berger, Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development of UNESCO, in the opening session.

MIL is a discipline to enable life,” said Ms Sheila Webber, representative of the GAPMIL European Sub-Chapter and Director of the Centre for Information Literacy Research at the University of Sheffield, during the first Plenary session on promoting MIL in a shifting communication/media landscape.

Propaganda and its relation to MIL

“Propaganda is getting really personal as it comes through social media. As the access to the media information is expanding, so are high levels of apathy and disengagement. This is accompanied by increased political polarization” said Dr Renee Hobbs, Professor of Communication Studies at University of Rhode Island. But MIL can generate “high levels of engagement and critical thinking” she added. In that sense Dr. Hobbs underlined that MIL can be used to raise awareness and inspire people to action.

Give technology, but also provide knowledge

During the first Plenary session, Toms Meisitis, member of the Board of Latvian Information and Communications Technology Association (LIKTA) urged going further than providing people with digital tools, by supporting education and knowledge how to use it properly and with good intentions. Latvian libraries play a significant role in supporting MIL, he stated, adding that they could serve as an entry point for education and guidance. 

Librarians and media as agents of change

“Latvia has one of the highest number of public libraries compared to other European countries and one of the highest number of free internet access points. Librarians, thus, can be perceived as digital literacy social agents or mediators for Latvian society and notably for children,” said Ms Guna Spurava, of the University of Latvia and the head of the UNESCO Chair on Media and Information Literacy.

The European publishing industry is also leading with projects on MIL, trying to build relationships with readers from an early age and finding new formats and platforms for delivering information. “Newspapers and news media have a fundamental role to play in promoting media literacy and socially-engaged citizenship. MIL skills are more urgently needed than ever for citizens to process in a critical way all the news and information on print and digital platforms,” said Ms Elodie Depré, Representative of ENPA (European Newspaper Publishers’ Association).

Does the media reflect the needs of young people? 

The function of media in bringing reliable and pluralistic content, as well also having a central role in promoting interreligious and intercultural dialogue, was promoted at the Round table on the topic of MIL and interreligious understanding in support of solidarity and living together and peace. “Some research shows that over 70% of young people say, themselves, that their perception of other religions is affected by what they read and see in the media. A majority of these young people believe that intercultural and interreligious dialogue is important for their countries,” said Mr Alton Grizzle, Programme Specialist at UNESCO’s Communication and Information Sector. He concluded that MIL can help overcome disinformation, stereotypes and intolerance conveyed through some media and in online spaces.

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 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 runs from 27 to 29 June 2016, in Riga, Latvia.

Latvia hosted UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day annual conference in May 2015.

The Director General and the Supreme Court of Uruguay strengthen cooperation on freedom of expression and security of journalists

Mar, 28/06/2016 - 03:23

This agreement is the result of action regarding the production of knowledge and training, discussed and validated over the last three years by the Latin American Summit of the Judiciary. The Supreme Court of Uruguay is an active member of this process, and is heading the Permanent Secretariat for the next four years. With the support of the Summit, UNESCO has trained more than 2,000 judicial officers in 22 countries in Latin America.

The Director-General highlighted the importance of the agreement not only for the country but also to encourage South-South cooperation, emphasizing the importance of the judiciary in protecting and promoting freedom of expression, as a cornerstone of all democracies.

"We understand that a free, independent and pluralistic press in a context of full access to public information contributes to the guarantee and promotion of other rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of 1948," affirmed Bokova.

On same day, the Director General participated in a special working session with members of the Uruguayan National Commission, when a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between UNESCO and the Ministry of Education and Culture to support reform of the country's education system, science education and projects related to cultural heritage and media education.

"I am sure that all past and present actions of the Uruguayan government, supported by the National Commission, will build a safe path for future generations towards sustainable development,” declared Irina Bokova.

During the meeting, the deputy minister of Education, Edith Moraes, gave to the Director General a letter that expresses the strong commitment of Uruguay to the Call for Action by Ministers for the inclusive and equitable education for all learners in an environment free from discrimination and violence. This call is the result of a recent international ministerial meeting on gender violence held in Paris at UNESCO Headquarters.

Director-General condemns murder of Mexican journalist Zamira Esther Bautista

Lun, 27/06/2016 - 10:33

“I condemn the murder of Zamira Esther Bautista,” the Director-General said. “In the interest of the rule of law, and to make sure that crime is not allowed to silence the voice of independent media, I call on the authorities to investigate this case and bring its perpetrators to trial.”

Bautista, a former correspondent of local dailies La Verdad and El Mercurio, was a freelance journalist and teacher. She was shot on the morning of 20 June.

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

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

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

 

UNESCO supports Press Council in Serbia to act against online copyrights infringement

Vie, 24/06/2016 - 15:55

24 editors and journalists from the most prominent online media in the country participated in the event voicing their greatest concerns in particular about online copyrights infringements and the lack of incentive to pursue fact-gathering stories because those are frequently immediately republished by other online portals. The republication of texts, images and videos taken from another media, without permission and without quoting the source, has indeed become a common occurrence in Serbia. This practice has translated into an increasing tendency for media outlets to act as complainants against other media to the Press Council in Serbia.

Participants of the consultation suggested solution to the current problems focused on expanding the Serbian Journalists’ Code of Ethics by producing a supplementary handbook which will strictly focus on providing greater details and instructions concerning online journalism and will deliver exhaustive directives on respecting copyright issues, securing preventive actions.

In cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Information, an eight member working group was established, which will analyze the current problems, prepare a comparative analysis of the solutions offered by counterparts in EU member States and will produce a handbook which will serve as a supplement to the existing Journalists’ Code of Ethics. The first meeting of the work group has been arranged for 21st June 2016.

As part of the UNESCO EU-funded Project “Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey”, the Press Council in Serbia also printed new flyers introducing by the amendments to the Statutes and the Rules of Procedure of the body, finalized in January 2016. The flyers are a handy way of introducing the Press Council’s work, jurisdiction and mandate to the general public and are distributed at public events.

UNESCO contributes towards ICT skills development for improved practices in Djibouti

Vie, 24/06/2016 - 15:27

UNESCO supports the University of Djibouti in establishing an OER-based teacher training course for ICT use in Education for its teaching staff based on the ICT CFT. The course is based on the UNESCO Competency Framework for Teachers and will permit lecturers at the university to better integrate ICT in their teaching and learning practices.  During the opening of the workshop, Ms Zeynep Varoglu, from the Knowledge Societies Division of UNESCO, highlighted the innovative nature of the work of the University of Djibouti, as it represents an example of the implementation of the ICT CFT at the higher education level.

The objective of the workshop was to go through the recommendations of the external review undertaken by the African Virtual University (AVU) to finalize the course and make a plan for its roll out in the 2016/2017 academic year. The African Virtual University made a range of general recommendations in rendering the course more accessible in online and offline environments.  It further provided detailed recommendations on each one of the 18 units, in standardizing the format and including more OERs. The workshop participants, representing all faculties in the university, as well as the Digital Information Centre (Centre de Ressources Informatiques), worked in groups to address the relevant recommendations.  One participant stated that he appreciated the comments provided by the African Virtual University, as it will enrich the content and learning experience of the lecturers during the course roll-out.  Participants also appreciated the opportunity to deepen their knowledge in using a learning management system (LMS).

The course, developed by representatives of the different faculties at the University of Djibouti will be conducted in a blended mode and it takes into account the Integrated Strategic Framework on ICT of Djibouti (Schéma Stratégique Intégré des TIC), the importance of making use of OdEL as delivery mode, but also the need to make use of existing digital platforms and resources developed by the University.  The course is planned to be rolled out in November 2016 and will target more than a 100 staff from the university of Djibouti.

This workshop was the 3rd workshop held in the framework of UNESCO’s support to Djibouti, since November 2015 (the 1st workshop held in November 2015 and focused on developing a national strategy for the project; the 2nd Workshop in January 2016 focused on developing the OER based materials).

This project is implemented in the framework of the ‘ICT CFT Harnessing OER’ project which was launched in 2013 and supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. It aims to harness OER for the ICT Competency Framework for Teachers to contribute to national educational goals for building Knowledge Societies. The initiative falls within UNESCO’s mandate to assist educational planners and teacher training course developers to prepare teachers to make effective use of technology solutions.

UNESCO publishes report on safety of Journalists in Kenya, based on the UNESCO Journalists' Safety Indicators

Vie, 24/06/2016 - 14:45

It is crucial that journalists can safely access and produce information both online and offline. Assuring the physical and psychological well-being of journalists has become a pressing issue in Kenya. The study finds that Kenyan journalists face serious challenges in the course of their work with both State and non-State actors contributing to an increase in number of threats, incidents of harassment and intimidation as well as legal and personal attacks in the country.

In spite of these incidents, Kenya has a number of innovative initiatives to address the issue such as the development of the Safety and Protection Protocol for Journalists by Media Council of Kenya which prescribes mechanisms of ensuring safety and protection of media practitioners and promoting of dialogue between media and security institutions in Kenya.

The study was conducted by African Media Initiative (AMI), in consultation with UNESCO. This activity was funded by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Programme on Development of Communication (IPDC) which is a multilateral forum in the UN system that 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. It was carried out within the efforts of UNESCO to “promote an enabling environment for freedom of expression, press freedom and journalistic safety in Kenya.”

The report was developed through a multi-stakeholder engagement and consultation process that included a media stakeholders meeting held on 22 May 2015, which provided a platform for participants to plan the study’s methodology and the responsibility of diverse actors relevant to the media sector in Kenya. A second consultation meeting was also held on 23 February 2016 to review the draft study report and implementation of the recommendations therein. A peer review exercise of the study was also carried out before its publication.

The UNESCO Journalists' Safety Indicators is developed within the context of the endorsement of the UN Plan of Action on Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. It serves the purpose of pinpointing significant matters that show, or impact upon, the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity. It also allows for mapping of key features that can help assess the extent to which journalists are able to carry out their work under safe conditions, and determine whether adequate follow-up is given to crimes committed against them.

To download the publication in PDF format please click here.

Education tops meeting agenda for UNESCO Director-General and President of Paraguay

Vie, 24/06/2016 - 12:08

The Director General also spoke of Paraguay’s important role for the Organization, in light of its first election to the Executive Board.  She congratulated the Government for its commitment to implementing the 2030 Agenda and expressed the full support of UNESCO to Paraguay in its efforts to consolidate progress.

In the bilateral meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Eladio Loizaga, Ms Bokova pointed to the need to outline a cooperation plan with Paraguay in all areas of competence of the Organization, especially lifelong education, tangible and intangible cultural heritage, access to public information, safety of journalists and scientific cooperation. The minister declared that "we are winning lost time -- there is a strong commitment and follow-up. "

On the same day, the Director-General also gave a lecture on "UNESCO's response to the challenges of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development" at the National Congress of Paraguay.

"With the support of Member States, and I thank Paraguay here, UNESCO’s mandate, UNESCO’s competences, UNESCO’s experience, stand at the heart of the new global agenda”, the Director-General declared to the audience of Members of Congress, government officials, the diplomatic corps and representatives of UN agencies.

Accompanied by the President of the Supreme Court, Ms. Alicia Pucheta Correa, the Director-General also met with the Ministers of the Supreme Court and congratulated the Court for its decision to create a mechanism, considered an example for the region, involving the three branches of government in the defense of freedom of expression. She was impressed by the visit to the Museum of Justice, whose Documentation Center and archive for the defense of human rights has been included in the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme since 2009.

In addition, the Director General participated with the Minister of Education and Culture of Paraguay, Mr. Enrique Riera Escudero, in a special meeting with the Paraguayan National Commission, in which they discussed advances in the cooperation between Paraguay and UNESCO. The Director-General commended the country's commitment to ensuring intercultural education for indigenous communities, respecting multilingualism.

"This is essential for quality of learning, it is essential for national cohesion, it is essential to make the best of all the talents of the country," she said. During the meeting the Director-General took part in the launch of the third volume of “Docentes aprendiendo en red” devoted to Paraguay’s women poets and writers.

Director-General condemns killing of journalist Elidio Ramos Zárate in Mexico

Jue, 23/06/2016 - 11:51

“I condemn the killing of Elidio Ramos Zárate,” the Director-General said. “Serving as the eyes and ears of society, journalists must be able to carry out their important work without fearing for their lives. It is therefore important that those responsible for this crime be brought to justice.”

Elidio Ramos Zárate, a reporter for daily newspaper El Sur, was shot in the town Juchitan de Zaragoza.

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…”

 

Promote youth prospects, UNESCO Director urges

Jue, 23/06/2016 - 10:54

This was core message emphasized by Guy Berger, UNESCO Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development, in his remarks at a side event held at the Human Rights Council in Geneva yesterday.

UNESCO Geneva Liaison Office convened the discussion along with the Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations in Geneva, in collaboration with the Elaph newspaper.

Berger said that UNESCO’s integrated strategy to deal with radicalization could be assessed in terms of a three-part formula of “protect, prepare and promote prospects” for the youth.

Though freedom of expression is put under stress by the need to fight hate speech, the core right should be protected through subjecting any restrictions to tests of international standards, he said.  “Restrictions have to meet the conditions of legality, necessity and legitimate purpose as set out in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” stated the Director.

Further, to keep restrictions to the minimum and exceptionally reserved for particularly dangerous speech, account should also be taken the six principles set out in the Rabat Plan of Action on the prohibition of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.

On preparation, Berger said that steps were needed to ensure that young people were well prepared for when they were exposed to hateful content. “This highlights the importance of media and information literacy,” he said.

Giving particular attention to promoting life prospects for young people, the UNESCO Director called for an approach that included offline and online dimensions.

“It is absolutely key to promote the prospects for young people to choose and to shape their own multiple identities. For this, they need full freedom of expression as well as the benefit of social opportunities,” said the Director.

Also speaking on the panel was Ambassador Christian Guillermet Fernandez, Vice Director General for foreign policy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica. He urged a greater role for broad education in addressing the problem of youth radicalization.

Journalist Amir Taheri warned that legal steps to define hate speech could be a slippery slope towards censorship of media that was critical of government. He argued that much propaganda and hate speech came from state-owned media – citing examples of antisemitism and homophobia.

Prof. Priyanker Upadhyaya, Malaviya Centre for Peace Research, Banaras Hindu University, called for multicultural literacy to reduce phobias, racism and hatred to deal with what he called “the dilemma of freedom of expression”.

From Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mona Rishmawi - the Chief of Rule of Law, Equality and Non-Discrimination - said the problem was identifying the tipping point when expression could result in violent conduct.

The discussion was chaired by BBC journalist Imogen Foulkes, and the panel included Finnish ambassador Paivi Kairamo as well as Abdelaziz Almouzaini, Director of UNESCO’s Geneva Liaison Office.

Global MIL Week 2016: UNESCO calls for papers and presentations

Mié, 22/06/2016 - 15:08

This is why UNESCO is launching a call for academic papers and case study/project related presentations for the Global MIL Week 2016 feature event, the Sixth MIL and Intercultural Dialogue Conference and first General Assembly of Global Alliance for Partnerships in Media and Information Literacy (GAPMIL). The aim is to stimulate a truly global dialogue and critical exchange that is taking place in a particularly challenging moment for contemporary democratic societies.

Researchers and practitioners across the world are invited to document their results, theoretical developments and case studies, as well as evidence based and testimonial accounts of MIL breakthroughs. One of the partners of the Global MIL Week initiative is its host the School of Communication and Arts at the University of São Paulo (USP). USP is celebrating its 50th Anniversary.

“It is a privilege to engage in a global intercultural dialogue led by UNESCO and to open a multi-stakeholder perspective on the effective democratization of power, wealth and knowledge” stated Professor Gilson Schwartz, representatives from this school, which is well known across Latin America for its innovations and the transformations of superior education.

A pragmatic approach and closer co-operation

A more pragmatic approach in research is important, one that can produce knowledge that can be used in everyday life, impacting the way MIL policies and strategies are developed and implemented across the world. Despite some success there is the opportunity to strengthen ties among the research community, other stakeholder implementing MIL, policy makers and the international development community. For this reason, the Global MIL week aims to connect scientific and academic sector, those practicing MIL and all other stakeholders in the field.

Topics for papers and presentations

Topics for papers and presentations are, generally, within the fields of MIL and its connection to culture and intercultural/ interreligious dialogue; media development, ICTs, freedom of expression and hate speech, Human Rights and violent extremism, education and youth, sustainable development, research, policy development etc. (detailed conference topics available here). All instructions for submitting papers and presentations are available here. UNESCO invites all stakeholders, such as academic programs, think tanks, private sector, libraries, museums and archives, media, civil society, and others, to reflect and critically advance on media and information literacy initiatives, programmes and policies.

The deadline for submissions is 5 August 2016. Papers and presentations will be selected based on relevance to the themes outlined and after assessment by a diverse scientific committee set up for the conference.

New Paradigms for Intercultural Dialogue

The Global MIL Week 2016 is organized under the theme “Media and Information Literacy: New Paradigms for Intercultural Dialogue”. It is led by UNESCO in cooperation with General Assembly of the 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.

UNESCO promotes universal access to digital information for persons with disabilities at the COSP9 in New York

Mié, 22/06/2016 - 14:37

The lives of persons with disabilities can be transformed through better access to information, technological solutions and communication devices. There are encouraging signs – around 40% of people in the developing world have subscribed to mobile services which include a range of accessibility features including for persons with disabilities. This is important because sustainable and inclusive development can only be achieved when persons with disabilities are empowered and fully integrated in society. Thus, the full empowerment and inclusion of persons with disabilities depends on how digital solutions harness and leverage on the principles of Universal Design for All. This was a point emphasized by Dr Irmgarda Kasinskaite-Buddeberg from the Knowledge Societies Division of UNESCO. She also elaborated on the current programmes that UNESCO has implemented in order to empower persons with disabilities to access information and knowledge by using ICTs. Thus, access to digital information in cyberspace using ICTs by persons with disabilities should be seen as an integral part of the human rights framework in the digital age particularly as concerns freedom of expression and right to information.

Mr Shuaib Chalklen, Chairperson of the African Disability Forum and former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Disability, South Africa spoke primarily about access to information using ICTs in Africa. By citing the rapid growth of mobile phone technology and the rising usage of it in the developing world, he stated that the usage of smart phones in Africa could be even higher if the cost of the device was affordable for all citizens.

Subsequently, Professor Klaus Miesenberger from the Institut Integriert Studieren, Johannes Kepler Universitat in Linz and member of the International Conference on Computers Helping People with Special Needs, ICCHP, Austria explained why education is crucial for people with disabilities and all those who build our information society. Accessibility should be a part of all the curricula, it has to become part of our culture. This was closely aligned to UNESCO’s vision about the need to formulate disability inclusive policies and create accessible training materials, and provide an accessible learning environment in educational institutions.

Mr Facundo Chavez Penillas, Human Rights and Disability Advisor of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) gave a broad overview of how ICTs offer an integrated solution for persons with disabilities. ICTs are an encompassing feature of our daily lives and must not be seen as beneficial only to end users. Rather, according to the speaker, ICTs cover all of our lives and public procurement ruled by accessibility standards can change the course of education and employment at the national level. His emphasis on creating accessibility standards, observing and enforcing them was timely. Accessibility standards, when implemented holistically and comprehensively, can have the transformative effect of empowering children, youths and adults who suffer from one form of disability or another.

Finally, Ms Sara Enright presented an ongoing collaboration between Business Social Responsibility and Qualcomm Wireless Reach, who have partnered in the development of a mobile application that responds to the most pressing needs affecting the BVI (the blind and visually-impaired) community in China. Ms Enright said that The See4Me app and accompanying volunteer based service aims to increase BVI users’ ability access products and services, as well as to better participate in the economy and their communities.

The event raised great awareness about how persons with disabilities can benefit significantly from technological solutions and access digital information. The wide range of panel speakers provided fresh insights as to how inclusive development can be achieved by digitally empowering persons with disabilities, which will be a pivotal step in fulfilling the larger vision and objective of building knowledge societies for all.

Living in shifting media and information landscape

Mié, 22/06/2016 - 11:41

One of the biggest challenges of digital revolution is the transformation of citizens from passive users to active and critical users, content creators, wise disseminators, often even critically informed sources for media and information. Citizens (by this we mean metaphors of citizenship or types of citizenship) often find it hard to distinguish between facts, part-facts and rumors, propaganda and public relations, and sometimes out-right lies or misinformation that is posted on different Internet platforms, such as social media, blogs, websites.

Misinformation and security

It is difficult to know what information is credible and how to recognize false sources. This leads to uninformed citizens that can further make choices and decisions that are, consequently, based on misinformation.

In this context, there is a thin line between an open Internet and freedom of expression, and the misuse of media through censorship, promotion of hate speech, discourse of fear and the spread of political disinformation.   

Security is important. According to UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and information Sector, Frank La Rue, “security means protecting individuals, but you must also protect institutions and democratic systems. You cannot sacrifice any, because if you do, you are actually weakening democracy…”

What do citizens need to know and how is policy responding to it?

On one side, in this environment, the necessity for some forms of regulation exists, but it has to be balanced with knowledge among citizens how to “decode” the information and media content received through the media, technological intermediaries and other information providers, as well as how to wisely engage in cyberspace without harming themselves or others.

The lead plenary of the Forum will explore the increased need for MIL, it will also raise crucial questions on how MIL can be a tool for all stakeholders in the present information and communication environment, and how are governments responding to this need with specific policy solutions.

Among other stakeholders, the first conference day will host representatives of the media, libraries and Internet industries in reflecting and discussing on their roles in the empowerment of users with MIL competencies. Further on, throughout three working days, participants of the Forum will discuss how MIL can be used in interreligious understanding - an issue that can profoundly impact any divided society.

Participants will discuss the significance of media ethics and the role of self-regulatory mechanisms in strengthening trust in media. Different education approaches and experiences will be explored, as well as youth perspectives towards MIL. Of special significance - considering the context we all live in - is the topics on positioning MIL as a tool for countering rising radicalization and the use of hate speech.

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 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 will take place from 27 to 29 June 2016 in Riga, Latvia.

Director-General urges investigation into murder of broadcast journalist Luka Popov in Serbia

Mié, 22/06/2016 - 11:09

“I condemn the murder of Luka Popov,” the Director-General said. “I trust the authorities will be able to bring those responsible to justice. Crime must not be allowed to curtail journalists’ invaluable contribution to informed public debate.”

Luka Popov, who worked for local radio stations in Čoka and Novi Kneževac was killed in his home in the village of Srpski Krstur.

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…”

 

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