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Memory of the World training workshop organized in Bishkek

Vie, 26/09/2014 - 12:42

The fifth in a series of workshops organised by the Korean National Commission for UNESCO in cooperation with UNESCO, the event was co-hosted by the National Commission of the Kyrgyz Republic for UNESCO, and the Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea. The Secretary-General of the Kyrgyz National Commission for UNESCO, Elnura Korchueva, welcomed the participants and set the workshop in a national context, describing the nation’s unique history and heritage.

The purpose of this training activity is to encourage countries and institutions that are poorly, or not at all, presented on the MOW Register to submit their nominations and to assist them in this process. Each participant brings to the workshop a draft nomination for an item of documentary heritage from his/her own country.

Participants from Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Iran attended the workshop and fully benefitted from the training. The nominations were developed and revised in group and plenary sessions, and in discussions with mentors who have long experience in preparing and assessing nominations. The international team of mentors comprised Rujaya Abhakorn (Thailand), Joie Springer (Barbados), Jan Bos (Netherlands), Kyung-ho Suh (Korea) and Ray Edmondson (Australia). The workshop programme included a series of presentations by the mentors, explaining the MOW Programme and the nomination criteria.

On the final day, participants visited the National Library of Kyrgyz Republic and the Manuscript Department of the National Academy of Sciences, where some treasures from the collections of both institutions were presented to them.

Within the framework of its Memory of the World Programme, UNESCO supports capacity-building activities, which are crucial for increasing the number of successful nominations, and for creating a network of new contacts to widen relationships and to share experiences among memory institutions.

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.

Conference calls for strong commitment towards a sustainable media environment in Myanmar

Mar, 23/09/2014 - 16:19

The Conference took place after three years of on-going changes in Myanmar’s media sector, with the abolition of censorship, the drafting of new media laws, the establishment of an interim press council and the recent re-emergence of Myanmar’s private daily newspapers as some of the many milestones.

“As we already know, media reform is the most important process in President U Thein Sein’s reform.,” said U Ye Htut, Union Minister for Information, at the opening of the Conference. “To implement the reform process we didn’t have enough experience of the role of the media in a democracy. We want to develop a vibrant democracy in our country, which is not possible without citizen participation. For this we depend on the media,” he added.

The Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova addressed the Conference via a video message, recognizing the “commitment of the Government to place media reform at the heart of the country’s social, political and economic development”, and seeing this Conference “as a further step towards change and an opportunity to explore, with all stakeholders, the challenges the media sector is facing”. She further emphasized “a way forward through inclusion, dialogue and partnership, including empowering women, young people and all marginalized groups with the skills to exercise their rights”.

The event was organized by the Ministry of Information and the Myanmar Media Development Thematic Working Group (MDTWG) in partnership with UNESCO and International Media Support (IMS), with the support of a wide range of development partners and international and national media groups. It covered topics such as media, peace and conflict, media legislation and regulation, regional media reforms, business of media, public service media, media and good governance, journalism training and education, press council and the complaints mechanism, and election reporting.

During the sessions, the Minister of Information, the Press Council and local media brain-stormed on various challenges and developed consensus on precise action points.   Participants emphasized the need for access to information and the passage of laws based on freedom of expression, as well as on policies and programmes which will support wider distribution of newspapers and journals in remote communities, and greater transparency by national and local officials in dealing with the news media.

As the private sector begins to invest more on the media sector, an agenda on how to ensure a fair and competitive business environment was extensively discussed. Capacity development of journalists was identified as among the top priorities in almost all sessions, covering both academic degree and short-term courses. Speakers and participants also proposed parameters in media coverage of the peace process, elections, human rights and other development concerns.

During the conclusion of the Conference, UNESCO’s Head of Office, Sardar Umar Alam, reaffirmed UNESCO’s commitment to continue its leading role in supporting the Government to create a free and safe environment for media and journalists in Myanmar.

>> More information on the Conference

Conference calls for strong commitment towards a sustainable media environment in Myanmar

Mar, 23/09/2014 - 09:18
The 3rd Conference on Media Development in Myanmar was held on 18 and 19 September in Yangon with more than 350 participants, marking another key milestone in Myanmar’s media reform. Under the theme ‘Moving towards a Sustainable Media Environment’, government officials, Myanmar Press Council officials, Myanmar Journalist Association members, ethnic media, regional experts, private and state owned media companies, academia, civil society and international organizations met to stock and emerge with a set of practical recommendations for further development of Myanmar media.

Role of Open Access in the post-2015 development agenda highlighted in a conference at UNESCO

Lun, 22/09/2014 - 16:41

Organized by UNESCO and the Organization of Open Access and Scholarly Publication Association, the Conference gathered more than 150 participants. It recognized the power of new technologies as cross-cutting multipliers of sustainable development and focused, inter alia, on the following issues:

  • current state and practices of the Open Access publication;
  • Open Access publication challenges, role of libraries and other research institution in fostering Openness;
  • Open Data and Open Data publication issues;
  • partnerships and collaborations among stakeholders as an enabling mechanism for effective Open Access publication; and
  • Open Access issues around the world.

Opening the meeting, Getachew Engida, Deputy Director-General of UNESCO, stated, "We meet to explore important questions about the future of Open Access and about harnessing its power for the benefit of all societies. The concept and practice of Open Access has gone from strength to strength, and it carries today a sharp new relevance, when countries are considering new approaches to poverty eradication and sustainable development, where access to knowledge is essential.”

UNESCO's Open Access (OA) programme is designed to foster the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to make peer-reviewed research accessible to all. UNESCO promotes OA with particular emphasis on scientific information (journal articles, conference papers and datasets of various kinds) emanating from publicly funded research. In cooperation with partners, UNESCO works to improve awareness about the benefits of OA among policy makers, researchers and knowledge managers. Through its global network of Field Offices, Institutes and Centers, UNESCO facilitates the development and adoption of OA-enabling policies. In addition, UNESCO engages in global OA debates and cooperates with local, regional and global initiatives in support of OA.

For development, tackle impunity for crimes against journalists

Jue, 18/09/2014 - 10:12

Speaking on a panel organized by the press freedom NGO, ARTICLE 19, Berger referred directly to the draft text of the 16th Goal about promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, justice for all and effective, and accountable and inclusive institutions. He proposed that addressing impunity for the killings of journalists was the key to resolving the following of Goal 16’s sub-goals:

  • 16.1 significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere
  • 16.3 promote the rule of law at the national and international levels, and ensure equal access to justice for all
  • 16.a strengthen relevant national institutions, including through international cooperation, for building capacities at all levels, in particular in developing countries, for preventing violence and combating terrorism and crime

“By explicitly mainstreaming the protection of journalists into these SDGs, a message will be sent out more widely that violence in other social instances will not be tolerated.”

Dealing with the “visible journalistic tip of the iceberg” would also make it easier to achieve the aspirations of sub goal 16.10, which aims “to ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms,” said Berger.

The UNESCO Director highlighted the opportunity of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists set for 2 November. “This Day opens the possibility to link journalism safety and impunity to the broader concerns that are held by judges, prosecutors and lawyers”.

A linkage to the rule of law, of direct relevance to development issues, is the precise purpose of a conference in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg set for November 3, said Berger. “The conference will be followed by a review meeting of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, which UNESCO is mandated to lead”.

The UN Plan, which has operated for two years as a framework for joined-up action amongst all stakeholders, also stresses the inclusion of safety and impunity issues within the wider UN development agenda.

Speaking on the same panel event in Geneva, Russian journalist Gregori Shvedov called for new mechanisms and actors to investigate crimes against journalists. Prima Jesus Quinsayas, a private prosecutor in Phillipines’ Ampatuan massacre almost five years ago, which left 32 journalists murdered, stated that impunity was deeply entrenched in her country.

ARTICLE 19’s legal office, Andrew Smith said that nine of 10 murders of journalists had gone unpunished in the last 10 years. He praised a recent statement by international rapporteurs on freedom of expression, which urges stronger protection for journalists covering conflicts.

The new UN HRC statement on the safety of journalists is likely to be finalized by 26 March.

Advancing excellence in the archives profession in the United Arab Emirates

Mar, 16/09/2014 - 15:46

The host of the meeting, Dr Abddulla El Reyes, Director General of the National Archives of the UAE, introduced the initiative in the context of the numerous challenges archives and archivists around the world are facing today, while addressing the complex issues inherent in the transition to a digital society.

The main objective of the future Centre is to advance the development of archival institutions and to contribute to the preservation of the world’s documentary heritage through research, education and training, public engagement and strategic international collaboration. 

The initiative has been inspired by several UNESCO documents, namely, the UNESCO Charter on the Preservation of the Digital Heritage (2003), the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Archives (2011), and the UNESCO/UBC Vancouver Declaration on Digitization and Preservation (2012).

Experts in the meeting unanimously emphasized the sense of urgency for the archival institutions, both government and private, to be better equipped to keep pace with modern electronic records and their rapidly evolving hardware and software, while addressing public demands for online access. In this regard, the growing need for well-trained archivists was stressed, as well as the need for access to best practices and learning opportunities in many developing nations. The necessity of preserving existing fragile paper, photographic, film, and other printed resources of enduring value, ensuring a long-term accessibility and usability was also raised during the debates.   

Further, experts discussed in detail, the mandate, the possible strategic priorities, the outreach, the governance and cooperation perspectives of the future Centre of Excellence.

The UNESCO representative, Ms Iskra Panevska, spoke of UNESCO’s flagship programme Memory of the World as an international collaborative effort, aimed at safeguarding, protecting and facilitating access to and use of documentary heritage, especially heritage that is unique and endangered. She evoked UNESCO’s standard-setting capacity and action in the implementation of international standards and highlighted the broader implications of violations of such standards on stability, recovery and development. In this context, Ms Panevska, referred to the most recent UNESCO programme of assistance to rebuild Mali’s cultural heritage and to safeguard its documentary heritage. She argued that enabling continuity of documentary heritage will support good governance and transparency, protect rights and contribute to building inclusive Knowledge Societies. In this sense, the proposed Centre of Excellence was deemed to be a very timely and useful initiative.

UNESCO established the Memory of the World Programme  in 1992, in response to a growing concern about the alarming state of the preservation of, and access to documentary heritage in the world.

YouthMobile initiative successful in hosting app development training in South Sudan

Mar, 16/09/2014 - 14:46

The 10-day training took place at the University of Juba in South Sudan, where Ms Martha Chumo, Director of The Dev School, conducted an extensive workshop on mobile app development using the globally renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) App Inventor curriculum.

All 40 participants successfully completed the beginner-level portion of the MIT curriculum, allowing for the creation of basic mobile applications. For the closing ceremony held on 23 August, the participants divided into teams in order to develop and present mobile applications for peace, youth unemployment, literacy and culture.

Dona Apiyo and Ponny Rose Lupai, aged 25 and 28, proudly presented a mobile app that served as a game and an educational tool for children to learn about the flag of South Sudan. The app allowed users to draw the South Sudan flag and learn the meaning behind each of the flag’s colours.

Rana Najmaldin and Poni Wani, both 22 years old, chose to develop a mobile app that effectively communicates information on South Sudan as a nation while promoting the concept of peace among South Sudanese people.

Students started developing their mobile applications on day four of the 10-day training, giving each team approximately one week to develop the application. For many students, the concept of using ICTs and mobile phones for development was a new one.

Maria Chana, a 19 year-old YouthMobile participant, expressed her interest in pursuing a career using mobile app development in the future: “I always wanted to work in IT and this has given me the [motivation] to move forward. I plan to go ahead and teach more people [app development] where I come from. I'm really grateful." - Maria Chana.

Ms Muyou Charity Lady described the training as not only helpful for herself but also for other young women looking to gain the right “opportunities and skills to create new developments in IT, social work and education”.

Ms Araba Victoria Gunga proudly recommended mobile app development training for young people, commenting that: “[mobile app development] is really something different that I have never learned before”.

Final presentations of all the mobile apps developed were made at the closing ceremony, held at the College of Computer Science and Information at the University of Juba.

In addition to the final presentations, the closing ceremony consisted of a series of notable remarks from Mr. David Lukudu (University of Juba), Martha Chumo (The Dev School), Prof. Pauline Elaine Riak (University of Juba), Mr. Basel Manasrah (Zain South Sudan), Mr. Salah Khaled (UNESCO) and Hon. Rebecca Joshua Okwachi (Ministor of Telecommunication and Postal Services).

UNESCO and Zain South Sudan were proud to see 10 total mobile apps developed as a result of this beginner-level training.

The YouthMobile workshop was largely a success because of its partnership with Zain South Sudan, a local mobile telecommunications provider, and the University of Juba.

Zain generously provided 20 Android mobile phones with prepaid data access to the participating students and the University of Juba supported the initiative with the provision of 40 computers.

In the upcoming months, UNESCO and Zain hope to replicate this training workshop in South Sudan and neighboring countries in order to reach the maximum number of young people with app development training.

By 2017, YouthMobile aims to have empowered at least 25,000 young people worldwide with the skills and confidence to develop, promote and sell at least 5,000 mobile apps.

UNESCO is currently organizing similar YouthMobile workshops in Kenya, Nigeria, Jordan and Lebanon.

To find out more on this initiative please follow us on Twitter : JubaYouthMobile.

Openly-licensed photos from the Workshop are available at:

To find out more about the UNESCO YouthMobile Initiative, follow us on Twitter, Flickr, Slideshare, Youtube, Soundcloud or visit our website.

UNESCO is organizing similar YouthMobile workshops in Kenya, Nigeria and Lebanon.


Lydia Gachungi
Tel : +211 911 066002/922066002
Email : l.gachungi(at)

Seeking trainers on Photojournalism in the Age of New Media

Lun, 15/09/2014 - 17:14

UNESCO is currently looking for individual trainers with proven experience in the topic of “Photojournalism in the Age of New Media”. Trainers will provide a training course for 20 young photo journalists from the Arab region. The training is tentatively planned to be held in Amman (Jordan) from 19 to 23 October 2014.

Please submit your application with the following material:

  • an updated CV including sample of work, and most recent trainings provided; 
  • confirmation of availability on the specified dates;
  • a methodology for the training including a sample training method, agenda and training material (not to exceed 1000 words); and
  • a financial offer for all costs including fees, travel, accommodation, etc.

NOTE: the trainer will be responsible for all travel arrangements, including visa, tickets, etc. 

The deadline for receiving proposals is midnight Sunday, 21 September 2014, Paris time.

All proposals should be sent to:

  • Maaly Hazzaz
    UNESCO, Division for Freedom of Expression and Media Development

UNESCO triggers discussion on how Internet companies protect online free expression

Lun, 15/09/2014 - 16:31

These twin conclusions emerged at a UNESCO-hosted session at the Internet Governance Forum in Istanbul, on 5 September 2014, where eight participants discussed the early results of a joint research project by UNESCO, the Open Society Foundation and Internet Society.

Guy Berger, UNESCO’s Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development, said that the research explored how Internet intermediaries foster or restrict freedom of expression across a range of jurisdictions, circumstances, technologies and business models.

He said the issue related to debates about both private and privatized censorship, and highlighted that the research deals with exceptions to what should be a norm of the free flow of information.  

Rebecca MacKinnon, the commissioned lead author of the research, gave a presentation on the major findings.

The case study research covers three categories of intermediaries:

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

The research showed that Internet intermediaries are heavily influenced by the legal and policy environments of States, but they do have leeway over many areas of policy and practice affecting online expression and privacy.

The findings also highlighted the challenge where many state policies, laws and regulations are - to varying degrees - poorly aligned with the duty to promote and protect intermediaries’ respect for freedom of expression.

The research also recommends specific ways that intermediaries and states can improve respect for Internet users’ right to freedom of expression. This is through promoting:

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

Among the respondents on the panel were representatives from Google, the Council of Europe, ICANN, EuroISPA, civil society and academia.

Participants acknowledged that it was timely to tackle questions that went beyond intermediaries’ liability issue. The discussion focused on how to have more transparency reports published and how to go beyond industry dialogue and develop a broader framework.

All comments received at this meeting will be consolidated in the final research to be published by late 2014. This research will feed into the ongoing UNESCO Comprehensive Study on Internet.

UNESCO also invited participants to join UNESCO multistakeholder conference to discuss the first draft of the Study, at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 3 and 4 March 2014.

UNESCO to Host Online Oxford Union Debate on mLearning

Vie, 12/09/2014 - 16:59

As mLearning continues to evolve, the possibilities for mobile learning appear endless. The concept alone of education being freely accessible through a mobile device opens the door to endless possibilities. However, mLearning has been largely debated over the years despite its potential for global education transformation, expanding learning at home, and reaching marginalized populations from both a geographical and social standpoint.

UNESCO aims to rectify this discrepancy with the launch of an Oxford Union debate on the topic of mLearning on 18 September.

The concept of mLearning, or mobile learning, can be described as the use of handheld technologies to facilitate, support, enhance and/or extend the reach of teaching and learning. mLearning materials are virtually accessible from any location and may be used at any time, creating a form of distance learning that allows content to be open-sourced, shared and customizable.

Although applauded for its convenience in accessibility, mLearning has also been criticized for its inconveniences: lengthy reading on small electronic screens; limited battery life on mobile phones, and limited platform availability.

The 9-day online debate intends to extensively cover every single highlight and drawback of mLearning as a global education tool.  

UNESCO’s Oxford Union debate is proud to have Barbara Reynolds (Guyana) as the debate moderator with Steve Vosloo (South Africa) as the Idealist and Osama Manzar (India) as the Realist.

Steve Vosloo plans on drawing from his experience as a mobile learning specialist in developing countries to convince audiences – as well as his opponent – that mLearning is here to stay.

As our Realist, Osama Manzar’s job will be to pick apart Vosloo’s Idealistic vision with the harsh facts and realities of mLearning in today’s world and education systems.

With many opportunities to get involved, this debate on mLearning will allow participants to simply follow along, vote or comment – all on UNESCO’s WSIS Community platform.

The debate will be clearly structured around three key phases of discussion:

1)     The Opening: 18 September 2014

2)     The Rebuttal: 23 September 2014

3)     The Closing: 26 September 2014

Create an account and participate in this exciting debate on mLearning by visiting us at the Oxford Debate on Mobile Learning.

To find out more about the UNESCO YouthMobile Initiative, follow us on Twitter @YouthMobile_ or visit our website:

UNESCO DDG commends African Internet Declaration

Lun, 08/09/2014 - 17:26

The initiative is a “significant milestone in this digital era,” said Mr Engida, making reference also to the 1993 Windhoek Declaration, the 2001 African Charter on Broadcasting and the 2002 Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa.

“We warmly welcome the call for UNESCO to integrate the Declaration into our Priority Africa strategies,” he said, adding that UNESCO would continue to promote the social and cultural rights on the Internet as well as the use of local languages and local content online.

“As the UN’s agency that specialized in education, culture, science, and communication-information, we pledge to play our part in the ongoing development of the Internet in the service of humanity.”

The launch of the African Declaration would also be a valuable contribution to UNESCO’s consultative Internet Study and other related work, said the UNESCO Deputy Director-General.

Mr Engida also spoke at an IGF main session on “Policies Enabling Access, Growth and Development on the Internet”, and held bilateral meetings with a range of actors including Internet founder Vint Cerf and Google, as well as Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s Minister of Communication Technology and Chair of the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD).

UNESCO delivered key messages at 9th Internet Governance Forum

Lun, 08/09/2014 - 14:08

Reaffirming UNESCO’s commitment to the multi-stakeholder model of Internet Governance, Mr Engida highlighted that Internet governance should advance digital inclusion as well as online freedom of expression and privacy.

He also invited stakeholders to contribute research to UNESCO’s Internet-issues study, which covers access to information and knowledge, freedom of expression, privacy, and the ethical dimensions of the information society.

The Study was mandated by Resolution 52 of UNESCO's 37th General Conference, in 2013.  The outcomes will include options to the Member States.

The DDG encouraged IGF participants to attend the multi-stakeholder conference at UNESCO on 3 and 4 March 2015, where a zero draft of the Study will be reviewed.

Mr Engida also chaired the UNESCO Open Forum on 3 September which included a panel of experts giving their answers to selected questions that the Study seeks to answer.

Participants at the Open Forum acknowledged the Study as a pertinent initiative that would also be valuable beyond UNESCO’s purposes, by serving as a knowledge resource for the wider community of Internet stakeholders.

The meeting report of UNESCO Open Forum at IGF 2014 in Istanbul is available at this link.

The Video of UNESCO Open Forum at IGF 2014 in Istanbul is available here.

Another session by UNESCO at IGF on 3 September was also relevant to the Study, through its focus on digital safety for journalism as part of freedom of expression. The session discussed research commissioned by UNESCO with the support of Denmark.

 “Digital safety is a very important brick in the wall of the enabling environment for journalists,” was the strong message at this session.

Co-hosted by UNESCO, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and the Center for Studies on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information, the session heard speakers call for extensive awareness raising on the subject of digital safety.  The research will be available later in 2014.

Documentary Heritage at Risk: An international symposium takes place in Senegal from 4 to 6 September

Jue, 04/09/2014 - 10:55

This inevitably results in the degradation or disappearance of funds and documentary collections, which are  vulnerable and fragile since most of them are recorded on paper. The main objective of this conference is to provide a forum for discussion where participants from Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Mali, Niger, Central African Republic, Togo, France and from Senegal, will share their knowledge and experience in the protection of documentary heritage in times of conflict.  

Participants will also pay tribute posthumously to Dr Ndèye Sokhna Gueye, teacher and researcher at Ifan / Cheikh Anta Diop, President of the Memory of the World Committee of Senegal from 2009 to 2014. Members of the family and the university community will attend as well. The meeting will be inaugurated by the Minister of Culture and Communication, M. Mbagnick Ndiaye.

Currently, there are 15 inscriptions on  the Memory of the World Register from the African continent from the following countries: Angola, Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar, Mauritius, Namibia, Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania. There are 10 new applications for inscription on the MOW Register for the period 2014-2015, submitted by seven African countries.

National Memory of the World Committees have been established in several countries in Africa, namely in the Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa.

UNESCO established the  Memory of the World Programme  in 1992, in response to a growing concern about the alarming state of the preservation of, and access to documentary heritage in the world.

UNESCO Deputy DG calls for new skills for the Internet

Lun, 01/09/2014 - 14:55

“Our use of the Internet is transforming global trade, the workplace and working lives, but which skills do we need to support sustainable development?”

Mr Engida explained that UNESCO sees Media and Information Literacy as covering the range of skills which empower digital citizens to “access, retrieve, understand, evaluate and use, create, as well as share”.

He elaborated how MIL is also a way for Internet users to know their human rights online, such as privacy and free expression, and to be aware of the ethical dimensions of engaging with Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

“Such comprehensive Media and Information Literacy needs to be anchored in the curricula of schools and be part of everybody’s lifelong learning,” he said.

The Deputy Director-General observed that a multi-stakeholder approach sustains an enabling environment for Internet development, including an environment of strengthened Media and Information Literacy. 

He also shared with participants the significance of UNESCO’s Internet-issues study.

UNESCO Deputy Director-General at the inauguration of the National Library of Latvia

Lun, 01/09/2014 - 13:24

The architectural idea of the National Library of Latvia appeared 20 years ago and turned into one of the widely recognized harbingers of the new age in architecture. Designed by the internationally renowned Latvian architect Gunnar Birkerts as a 'castle of light', a metaphor for wisdom, it is described as a world-class building for a world-class library.  It offers a thousand reading places, with shelf space for the library's entire active collection of over 6 million items. The Castle of Light will offer new services in the new building – a multi-media centre, fairy-tale room for children, facilities for training and events, spaces for individual and group work, silent reading rooms and zones of repose opening the view on Daugava River. The external appearance refers to the country Latvia, e.g. architecture of rural farmsteads, complemented with layers of Riga’s historical architectural manifestations. The interior reflects the emerging new age, being a center of digitalized information which is accessible for a global population.

In his inaugural speech today, in Riga, the Deputy Director-General of UNESCO, Mr. Getachew Engida, emphasized the essential role of libraries for promoting the free flow of ideas and for maintaining, increasing and spreading knowledge. He also pointed out that “as repositories of books and other printed material, they are key to promote reading and writing”. In this particular context, the UNESCO representative, praised the significant contribution of the National Library of Latvia to promote learning, reading and access to knowledge and education in the country by developing a national level solution for management, preservation and access of the digitized cultural heritage.

Furthermore, Mr. Engida expressed the firm belief that “the new National Library building is one of the most significant projects of the 21st century in Latvia. I am confident that this ambitious project gives the National Library of Latvia (NLL) an opportunity to become a modern information and cultural center of international importance”.

UNESCO highlights importance of multi-stakeholder model, digital inclusion and human rights-respecting Internet at the 9th Internet Governance Forum in Istanbul

Lun, 01/09/2014 - 12:21

Preceding a lineup of UNESCO events on Internet issues, UNESCO’s Deputy Director General Mr. Getachew Engida, will address the High Level Leaders Meeting and opening ceremony of the 9th annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Istanbul on 1 and 2 September.

Emphasising UNESCO’s commitment to the IGF and the multi-stakeholder model of Internet Governance, Mr. Engida will invite broad participation in the ongoing UNESCO Internet study and related 2015 conference. He will also focus on the need for digital inclusion, and on online freedom of expression and privacy as part of a human rights-respecting Internet. Furthermore,  UNESCO will host an Open Forum on the Internet Study, to explain its significance and seek responses to the questions developed as a research tool. This Study covers the issues of (i) Access to knowledge and information, (ii) Freedom of Expression, (iii) Privacy and (iv) Ethics and also explore possible options for future actions as related to global Internet governance. 

UNESCO will also take advantage of the occasion to launch the key outcomes of two new research project:

  • Online safety, which explores the safety of journalists and other media actors using digital media, and suggests guidelines and policy recommendations.
  • How Internet intermediaries - including search engines, social media and Internet Service Providers – address freedom of expression issues across a range of jurisdictions, circumstances, technologies and business models.

The program and background documents for these UNESCO events are available at the links below:

The IGF website supports remote participation in these meetings.

Mekong media institutes exchange ideas for region’s first journalist training network

Jue, 28/08/2014 - 11:50

With the support of the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and UNESCO, the Fojo Media Institute organized a planning conference in Bangkok, Thailand on 13 and 14 August 2014, attended by representatives of media institutes from the five Mekong countries, with the objective of exploring the feasibility of establishing a sustainable capacity-building network for mid-career journalism training in the region.

The conference saw a lively discussion among the 15 participants, which included representatives of the Myanmar Journalism Institute, Viet Nam Journalist Association Training Centre, Cambodia Communication Institute, Lao Institute of Mass Media and Communication, and the Southeast Asian Press Alliance, among other institutions. During the sessions, participants exchanged ideas and shared insightful views on the challenges they faced, such as the lack of qualified journalism trainers and resources, and the absence of a regional platform for exchange in the region.

By the end of the conference, the media institutes agreed to jointly develop a roadmap outlining the way forward in order to establish a regional professional journalist training network and the concrete steps that had to be taken. This proposal would be submitted to potential donors when seeking funding for the project.

The media sector in the region has seen improvement over the years but much more can be done, and the establishment of this capacity-building network could be key to accelerating the process. By leveraging the strengths and capacities of the media institutes involved, the network will allow for better cross-border coordination among media institutes and a more efficient allocation of resources to boost journalist professionalism, and ultimately contribute to media development in the region.

Improving gender equality in Asia-Pacific media: A new study by UNESCO, UN Women and IFJ

Jue, 28/08/2014 - 11:34

In order to accurately inform the debate on gender equality in the media and formulate concrete actions that relevant stakeholders in the region can take to improve the situation, and as a follow-up to the Global Forum on Media and Gender that took place in Bangkok in 2013, UNESCO and UN Women have partnered with the International Federation of Journalists Asia-Pacific (IFJ) to conduct a Research Study on Media and Gender in Asia-Pacific.

Building on IFJ’s earlier research in this area, the study will look at a sample of countries in South Asia (India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan), South East Asia (Malaysia, Cambodia) and the Pacific (Vanuatu). The study is guided by UNESCO’s Gender Sensitive Indicators for the Media and will use a combination of country-based surveys, media content analysis and case studies to gather data in areas such as:

  • the situation of women in the media;
  • the number of women in senior, decision-making positions and the issues affecting this representation;
  • the role that unions, associations and women´s networks could and do play and expectations of their actions; and
  • best practice case studies of campaigns, media workplaces as well as coverage and representation of women.

Based on the findings, the study will assess strategies to improve the situation of women in media and identify key indicators for women journalists’ safety at work.

The recommendations arising from this study will be presented to regional and global fora related to the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA) +20 review process and the post-2015 development framework, ultimately aiming to inform relevant global, regional and national policies and programmes. A first draft of the report will be tabled at the Asian and Pacific Conference on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Bangkok in November 2014, and the final report is expected to be presented at the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women in March 2015.

Media in the post-2015 development agenda

Jue, 28/08/2014 - 09:50

The motivation is in a declaration called the Bali Road Map, adopted by more than 300 participants on Thursday, 28 August 2014 at a conference titled “Global Media Forum: The Role of Media in Realizing the Future We Want For All”, with the hashtag #media4future.

Coming from more than 40 different countries, the participants included 50 speakers who discussed issues ranging from investigative journalism, ethics, gender equality, and media and information literacy.

The event also included 75 young people from 22 countries across the Asia and Pacific, who took part in an earlier training programme about media and civic participation and then operated a youth newsroom during the proceedings.

UNESCO and Indonesia’s Ministry of Information and Communication Technology were co-hosts of the Global Media Forum. Collaborating bodies were the Indonesian National Commission for UNESCO, Indonesian Press Council and the UN Information Centre.

Closing the conference, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova described freedom of expression as “a force for innovation, for poverty eradication, for the rule of law, for good governance”, and as essential to sustainable development.

She cited the decision by UNESCO Member States at the 2013 UNESCO General Conference that “freedom of expression and universal access to knowledge and its preservation -- including, among others, through free, pluralistic and independent media, both offline and online -- [are] indispensable elements for flourishing democracies and to foster citizen participation [and must be] reflected in the post-2015 development agenda”.

The Bali Road Map calls on UNESCO to take forward the call for free expression and independent media to be part of the SDGs, with the Organization’s Member States, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the UN’s Open Working Group, and to other international and regional organisations.

The Road Map also encourages media outlets, media professionals and social media users to raise awareness about how free expression relates to development, and to generate information about development issues.

It urges governments “to respect freedom of expression, including press freedom and the right to seek and receive information, as fundamental rights as well as enablers of the post-2015 development agenda goals”.

Improving the quality of journalism education at Yangon University

Mié, 27/08/2014 - 17:19

As a first step, and in order to strengthen the training capacity of NMC’s faculty members, three journalism education workshops were conducted between October 2013 and March 2014 for NMC’s department heads and journalism department faculty members. During the workshops, participants were trained on the features of the enhanced BA in Journalism curriculum. Participants produced draft syllabi for a broad range of journalism-related courses, both theoretical and practical, with the assistance of visiting scholars and experts.

The workshops were then followed by summer internships for NMC’s journalism teachers with Mizzima Media Group and Yangon Media Group, which helped to familiarize them with the daily operations of a newsroom. Five books, including UNESCO’s Freedom of Expression Toolkit and Reporting and Writing News – A Basic Handbook, were also translated into Burmese and used as course materials for the upcoming academic year.

The development of new independent media in Myanmar will require professionals with a sound journalism education. In this regard, NMC’s multi-faceted efforts aim at ensuring that aspiring journalists in Myanmar start off with a solid foundation, and are able to contribute to strengthening the role of media in a democratic society.

The International Programme for the Development of Communication (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 to enable media capacity building and to secure a healthy environment for the growth of free and pluralistic media.