The conference, which took place on 23 and 24 January 2017, featured presentations from researchers and civil society organizations from across Europe and North America.
UNESCO representative Rachel Pollack Ichou, Associate Programme Specialist in the Division of Freedom of Expression and Media Development, delivered two presentations: one on UNESCO’s ongoing research on social media and youth radicalization and the other on the recent UNESCO study Countering Online Hate Speech.
This has included an international conference held at UNESCO Headquarters in June 2015 on “Youth and the Internet: Fighting Radicalization and Extremism” and a conference on “Internet and the Radicalization of Youth” held in October and November 2016 in Quebec, Canada.
In order to investigate the alleged role of social media in the process of radicalization leading to violent extremism, a team of researchers commissioned by UNESCO studied the existing literature through a review of more than 4,000 articles published in the last 15 years in English, French and Arabic.
“The existing literature shows no clear causal link between online propaganda and youth radicalization,” stated Ms Pollack Ichou in her presentation. “In reality, the Internet seems to constitute a favorable environment more than a driving force in the radicalization process.”
The study also found a gap in research on the role of women as victims or perpetrators of violent extremism and in research on Africa and the Arab region, which are, however, among the areas most affected by radicalization.
Preliminary recommendations stemming from the study included a call for greater media and information literacy and for a holistic response to youth radicalization based on knowledge and a respect for human rights.
The second UNESCO presentation highlighted UNESCO’s study Countering Online Hate Speech, published in 2015 the UNESCO Series on Internet Freedom. It covers international standards regarding legal limits for hate speech, which must always be necessary, proportionate and specified in law.
The study also maps a variety of social responses, including efforts for monitoring and discussion, mobilizing civil society, and putting pressure on Internet intermediaries to improve reporting and response mechanisms. Ms Pollack Ichou again highlighted the essential role of media and information literacy in building young people’s skills to identify and react to hate speech.
This Prize was established by UNESCO’s Executive Board, in 1997, in honour of Guillermo Cano, a Colombian journalist who died in the exercise of his profession. Its purpose is to reward each year a person, organization or institution that has made a notable contribution to the defense and/or promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world, especially if risks have been involved.
Awarded annually, on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day (3 May), the Prize is marked by a ceremony and the winner is presented with the sum of US$25,000.
World Press Freedom Day 2017 will take place in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 3 May 2017.
The Prize is funded by the Cano Foundation (Colombia) and the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation (Finland).
How to submit your nomination:
Nominations for the Prize should be submitted by filling out the form in English or French and sending it before 15 February 2017 by post or by email to:
Communication and Information Sector
Division of Freedom of Expression and Media Development
Section for Freedom of Expression
7 Place de Fontenoy
Since 1980, the international community has been mobilized to support media development through the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), the only intergovernmental programme in the UN system that aims to strengthen media capacity in developing countries. Since its creation, IPDC has secured US$ 105 million in extra-budgetary funds and supported over 1,700 media development projects in 140 countries.
The overall responsibility for the Programme lies with the Intergovernmental Council of IPDC, which meets every two years to assess the work carried out by the Programme. It consists of representatives from 39 countries elected by the General Conference of UNESCO. The IPDC Bureau of eight Member States meets once a year and identifies projects worth supporting out of some 200 submissions received every year.
Within the context of the new 2030 Development Agenda, the IPDC Council decided, at its 30th session, to proceed with the initiative to commission a new evaluation of the Programme. The evaluation shall take into account how globalization and digitization have changed the communication systems, their functions as well as management practices and markets. Such changes have affected the activities of IPDC as well as UNESCO’s general work regarding media and communication. The main purpose of the evaluation is to assess the niche and impact of IPDC and to generate recommendations for the future.
The meeting will also discuss new projects and initiatives launched by the Programme, such as Defining Internet Universality Indicators, supported by Sweden; Training judicial authorities in Africa on freedom of expression and the safety of journalists through massive Open Online Course (MOOC), supported by Denmark; and several IPDC components of a multisectoral project on the Prevention of violent extremism through youth empowerment, jointly supported by the UN Center for Counter-Terrorism (UNCCT) and Canada.
The meeting will also consider the organization of the second IPDC Talks, an event convened in association with the Information for All Programme (IFAP) and supported by The Netherlands and Lithuania to mark the celebration of the International Day for Universal Access to Information.
Following UNESCO’s adoption of the CONNECTing the Dots Outcome document in 2015 as its new approach to Internet issues as well as the successful development and application of the IPDC Media Development Indicators, UNESCO is pleased to launch a new project: “Defining Internet Universality Indicators”. This project aims to elaborate appropriate Internet indicators which can enrich stakeholders’ capacity to assess Internet development, broaden international consensus and foster online democracy and human rights towards knowledge societies engaged in sustainable development. This study will be founded on the UNESCO concept of Internet Universality as the guiding framework which promotes an Internet based on human Rights, and the principles of Openness, Accessibility and Multi-stakeholder participation (abbreviated as the R.O.A.M principles).
For this new project, UNESCO launches this call for proposals to carry out the key deliverable and related tasks within a one-year time frame from April 2017 to April 2018.
Deliverable: Develop and finalize an elaborated set of Internet Universality Indicators through a global multi-stakeholder consultation online and offline.
The specific objectives are:
1. To develop and finalize an elaborated draft set of Internet Universality indicators and sub-indicators in line with international human rights standards and within the focus of the Internet Universality concept, with realistic and practical applicability to countries at all levels of statistical development.
2. To plan and conduct an inclusive global and regional consultation process with multi-stakeholder groups, which will feed into the drafting and elaboration of Internet Universality indicators, including offline consultations as well as online tools via building and maintaining a dedicated online platform/website with multi-lingual access.
The final deliverable setting out the indicators will take the form of a policy paper in English with maximum 100 standard pages (minimum of 320 words each) excluding annexes and bibliography, as well as a project online platform/website on Internet Universality indicators under UNESCO domain name and server.
A draft of the deliverable will be presented on the project’s online platform/website (to be created under this project for consultation) and the final version will likely be released as a UNESCO publication. If the budget allows it, the publication will be translated into 4-6 UN official languages, which will inform UNESCO’s 195 Member States and other international policy-makers on internet-related policy making.
Each proposal should include: a detailed description of the research methodology, an elaborated plan of a multi-stakeholder consultation, a strategy for the creation of an online platform/website, preliminary elaboration of 5 categories of indicators, a work plan, a timeline, a description of the team including CVs and the requested funding in US$ with a budget breakdown. This budget breakdown should show – if needs be – a minimum and a maximum scale of implementation.
UNESCO, therefore, invites interested researchers, institutions, research consortiums, entities and organizations to submit their proposals, according to the General Terms of Reference by email to internetstudy(at)unesco.org. The deadline for submitting is 28 February 2017, before noon (CET).
To ease the email tracing and facilitate quick processing, kindly use the following script “Proposal for Defining Internet Universality Indicators” as the email subject.
It is important to note that UNESCO has commissioned preliminary research on the Internet indicators which should be considered as a basis to develop this final deliverable. This initial background paper will be provided to interested submitters upon request via the same email address: internetstudy(at)unesco.org
Submissions will be acknowledged by email upon receipt but ONLY selected organizations will receive further notification and correspondences.
Reference documents and links:
“Even though the number of journalists killed in 2016 is slightly lower than in the previous year, the perils and challenges faced by media workers worldwide show no sign of abating,” stated Frank La Rue, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information. “The profession of a journalist is not a safe one, and a press accreditation card or display of media equipment has often served as an extra reason to be targeted.”
The 2016 figure compares to 115 in 2015 as recorded by UNESCO, 98 in 2014 and 90 in 2013. Each killing is condemned by the UNESCO Director General who calls for a judicial investigation to bring the killers to book.
The most lives were lost in the Arab States, where the armed conflicts in the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq and Yemen have claimed the largest share. Media operating in Latin America and the Caribbean saw 28 casualties, including bloggers and freelancers, constituting the region as second deadliest in 2016.
Although impunity statistics are not yet available for the cases of killings in 2016, widespread impunity for acts of violence against the media has long been a cause for concern: barely one out of ten cases of killed journalists has led to a conviction in the past.
“When crimes against journalists, of any kind, remain unpunished, it implies that media can continuously be harassed and attacked,” added Mr La Rue. “Impunity slowly gags journalists and media, where fear of reprisal turns into self-censorship, depriving each and every one of us from vital information.” This climate of impunity demonstrates that publishing and broadcasting stories can pose lethal risks, leaving less room for in-depth reporting on sensitive information or inconvenient truths.
Online hate speech and gender-based harassment were also evident in 2016 as additional dangers next to the physical threats toward the lives of journalists.
UNESCO coordinates the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, the first concerted effort in tackling these issues. Entering its fifth year of implementation, it brings together all stakeholders, including civil society organizations, academia, media houses, intergovernmental bodies as well as government actors. The UN Plan of Action has provided a large impetus to addressing the plight of media worldwide, and actively contributes to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
Tim Dawson, President of the National Union of Journalists in the United Kingdom and Ireland delivered a training, based on his long serving experience as trade unionist, to trainers from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Turkey and Kosovo*. It included various techniques aimed to ensure the recognition of trade unions and their efficiency in bargaining collective agreements and wages. The training was attended by 13 participants from the region.
Despite the existence of some legal guarantees, reports too often highlight that journalists’ labour rights in South East Europe and Turkey are more breached than upheld. The lack of independent journalists’ trade unions that could defend proper contracts and strengthen social protection measures of journalists appears a central part of the problem.
The training class hence covered important areas for improving journalists’ labour rights, among others: (i) trade union recognition agreements; (ii) components of wage claims; (iii) collective bargaining techniques; (iv) annual negotiation on wages; (v) education of media owners on labour rights; (vi) ways to strengthen workers networks within the group of media enterprises; (vii) cooperation with international trade union networks; (viii) ways to encourage journalists to organize themselves and act collectively; (ix) settlement procedures, etc.
Based on the ideas and best practices presented during the workshop by Tim Dawson, participants were requested to repeat this workshop locally for the benefit of their members. The EFJ will organize a follow-up ToT seminar next year.
The UNESCO-EFJ project “Building Trust in media in South East Europe and Turkey” is funded by the European Union. The project supports media freedom and media integrity in the EU enlargement countries by improving the internal governance of media organizations through the implementation of internal rules and good practices that recognize human rights and labour standards.
* Administered by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo in the context of UN Security Council Resolution 1244
"For more than 10 years, I have been organizing successful summer schools on media ethics for journalists students. Considering the demand and importance of the topic for journalists, we developed the idea to use our network of trainers and expertise to record online classes and thereby reach more people than our summer students," explained Ljiljana Zurovac, the Executive Director of the Press Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The online platform currently features 12 classes with trainers in the format of questions and answers. The topics covered are both general and specific and comprise freedom of speech, media ethics and radio journalism, the responsibilities of online news portals, ethical standards of investigative journalism.
The main ambition of the online media ethics school is to become a leading educational portal on media ethics for the South East European region. Such materials should encourage journalists to abide by high ethical standards and prove them that it is possible to build a career in journalism while respecting professional standards.
The EU-funded Project "Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey," provides support to media self-regulation mechanisms with the objective to strengthen media professional standards and media quality.
More information about the online media ethics school is available in a video clip here: https://youtu.be/JzEB_84_Mlk