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UNESCO organizes Information Ethics Panel at WSIS +10 High Level Forum

News - Tue, 17/06/2014 - 11:06

Information networks, the content they transmit, the actors they connect and the diversity of their uses creates a rich, dynamic global information ecosystem. This has created new modes of social existence as well as relations of power and influence that are shaping the contemporary social, economic, political and cultural reality. Accordingly, the C10 Action Line session explored opportunities and challenges as well as potential policy responses to these developments, using a format that combined expert panel presentations with interactive exchanges between panelists and the audience.

Three areas were identified where greater attention is needed if human rights and development goals are to be realized:

  • The philosophy, process and roles that support the design and use of information architectures,
  • Supporting multi-dimensional responses to the complexity of information ecosystems, and
  • Supporting greater engagement and involvement of all users through the provision of media and information literacy programmes that enhance their capacity to effectively use the virtual spaces.

Participants and experts highlighted the important role of multi-stakeholder approaches in the co-managing of information ecosystems, reducing undesirable effects and ensuring that the potential benefits of these development are realized and available to all persons. As Dr Rafael Capurro, of the Capurro Fieks Foundation explained, “we need to broaden the discourse, we need to have other viewpoints…and we must also think more about vulnerability and human dignity in the digital world”.

Cloud computing and big data were identified as additional drivers of societal transformation whose impacts were not yet fully understood, consequently there was a need for greater awareness of information ethics among users as well as information professionals about emerging technologies. Formal and non-formal educational programmes, public debates and town hall consultations were identified as effective public awareness raising strategies.

The meeting report will inform the preparation of activities organized at next year’s 2015 WSIS Forum and the post-2015 workplan for the Action Line. Hopefully these efforts will contribute to what Dr S. Romi Mukherjee of Sciences-Po, calls “a new enlightenment to accompany the digital revolution”.

In his concluding remarks, the session Chair Mr Paul Hector, Programme Specialist in UNESCO’s Knowledge Societies Division, thanked participants for the rich, vibrant and constructive exchange of viewpoints, which in his view “clearly demonstrated that information ethics was now intimately weaved into daily life… our challenge was through active, informed engagement of all stakeholders, based on human rights principles to collectively envision and shape the futures we desire”.

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L’UNESCO organise un atelier de formation et de consultation sur le développement des médias à Madagascar

Actualités - Fri, 13/06/2014 - 14:48

Ces deux évènements constituent le coup d’envoi de l’évaluation du paysage médiatique malgache qui sera réalisée, sous la supervision de l’UNESCO, par le Centre de Recherche en Communication (CERCOM) de l’Université d’Antananarivo, qui est un centre de référence de formation en journalisme en Afrique.  L’étude constituera une aide à la réflexion sur l’évolution des médias à Madagascar, dans un contexte de transition après d’importants changements politiques dans le pays depuis la fin 2013. Les résultats de l’évaluation et les recommandations qui en seront issues seront adoptées de manière participative au cours d’Etats Généraux des medias à Madagascar, qui seront placés sous le patronage des autorités nationales. Des études du même type ont été récemment finalisées en Egypte, en Tunisie et au Népal par l’initiative de l’UNESCO.

L’atelier de formation a réuni 20 chercheur-e-s et étudiant-e-s pour les familiariser sur une évaluation basée sur les IDM de l'UNESCO et assurer la qualité de la méthodologie de l’étude. La formation n’a pas seulement produit un plan d’action pour la recherche mais a aussi permis une meilleure connaissance des éléments essentiels à prendre en compte pour une évaluation IDM et une analyse en profondeur des cinq catégories d’IDM.  Dans l'évaluation finale de la formation, l'un des participants a souligné avoir apprécié "l'encouragement à l'interaction, le partage des documents de travail, le partage interpersonnel avec les autres participants et collègues (de l'UNESCO et du PNUD notamment) ainsi que l'encadrement solide". Un autre a indiqué avoir pu grâce à cet atelier "[s'] approprier les indicateurs, ce qui [lui] permettra, ainsi qu'à l'équipe, de mieux les conjuguer avec leur propre méthodologie."

La réunion de consultation a eu pour but une clarification du rôle du comité consultatif dans le processus de recherche et une présentation des IDM.  Le Comite consultatif a pour fonction de créer un pont entre le processus d'évaluation et les parties prenantes nationales, contribuant ainsi à garantir l'appropriation nationale du processus d'évaluation. Il est composé de représentants du PNUD, du Centre d’Information des Nations Unies (CINU), de la presse écrite, des médias audiovisuels, des institutions académiques et de la société civile.

UNESCO organizing a training workshop and consultation on media development in Madagascar

News - Fri, 13/06/2014 - 11:55

These two events are the starting point of a comprehensive evaluation of the media landscape in Madagascar.  The research will be conducted under the supervision of UNESCO by the Centre for Communication Research (CERCOM) of the University of Antananarivo, a potential centre of reference in journalism education in Africa. The study will inform an in-depth review of the media sector in Madagascar, in a context of transition after major political changes in the country since the end of 2013.  The results of the assessment and recommendations arising from this study will be adopted in a participatory manner during a General Assembly of the media in Madagascar which is planned for later this year under the auspices of the national authorities. Studies of the same type have recently been completed by UNESCO in Egypt, Tunisia and Nepal.

The workshop was attended by 20 student and researchers with the goal to familiarize them with the UNESCO methodology based on the Media Development Indicators and to empower them to do carry out a quality assessment.  The training has not only produced a research action plan but also allowed for a better understanding of the key elements to consider when using the Media Development Indicators. It also involved a detailed analysis of the five categories of MDIs.

During the final evaluation of the training, one participant noted how he appreciated "the encouragement to interact and share working documents among colleagues and representatives from UNESCO and UNDP, as well as the clear guidance provided".  Another participant who participated in the workshop indicated that he can now use the indicators, which will permit him and the team to better use the methodology.

The consultation meeting was designed to clarify the role of the Advisory Committee in the research process and also presented the media development indicators. The Advisory Committee will create a bridge between the assessment and national stakeholders and help to ensure national ownership of the evaluation process. The Advisory Committee is composed of representatives of UNDP, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), the print and broadcasting media, academic institutions and civil society.

Apprendre en Innovant

Actualités - Fri, 13/06/2014 - 11:48

Savoir coder est une émancipation. Il ne s’agit plus seulement de former des ingénieurs mais aussi bien de donner à tous les citoyens les moyens de créer, de travailler, de gérer un grand nombre d’informations, de porter un regard critique sur la technologie et de s’amuser. Dans cette optique, "savoir coder" c'est davantage une nouvelle façon d'apprendre plus que le seul enseignement de la technique du code.

Avec sa nouvelle initiative « YouthMobile », l'UNESCO veut que le plus grand nombre de jeunes filles et de garçons aient la possibilité, à travers le code, de mettre la technologie au service des problématiques locales ou globales liées au développement durable.

L’UNESCO et ses partenaires s’efforcent de fournir aux jeunes un niveau élevé de compétences et la confiance nécessaires au développement, à la promotion et à la vente d’applications mobiles.

De nombreux volontaires à travers le monde déploient déjà des formations mais ces programmes ne sont souvent pas faciles à répliquer, à traduire ou à adapter par des parents ou professeurs non techniciens.

Intel® Coding for Kids. un pack open source de cours et logiciels reprenant les meilleures méthodes internationales, peut répondre aux critères de l'initiative YouthMobile de l’UNESCO. Des partenaires pédagogiques et associatifs pourront librement adapter et construire leur propre programme, dans le cadre d'un déploiement international.

Dans ce type d'approche, le code est utilisé comme un moyen de création artistique, de compréhension de problèmes sociaux, scientifiques et environnementaux. Sur la forme, la pédagogie proposée est de type pair à pair. Côté technique, le code est introduit très progressivement et à chaque étape produit un savoir-faire utilisable tel quel.

En outre, la table ronde organisée par l'UNESCO et Intel Software mettra l'accent sur d'autres approches novatrices adoptées récemment en France, comme Simplon.co et l'Ecole42 et essayera d'évaluer la faisabilité d'un déploiement plus large et durable d'initiatives de ce type, notamment dans les pays émergents.

Le festival mondial Futur en Seine se déroulera du 12 au 22 juin 2014, au cœur de Paris et dans toute l’Île-de-France. Pour plus d'informations : http://www.futur-en-seine.fr/fens2014

Learn by Coding

News - Fri, 13/06/2014 - 11:40

Learning how to code is emancipation. It is no longer only about training engineers, but rather to give all citizens the means to create, work, manage a lot of information, take a critical look at technology and having fun in doing so. In this context, “coding” must be seen as a new way to learn more than the mere teaching the “coding techniques”.

With its new "YouthMobile" initiative, UNESCO wants the largest number of girls and boys have the opportunity, through the code, to put technology at the service of local and global issues related to sustainable development. UNESCO and its partners strive to provide young people with the high level skills and confidence necessary for the development, promotion and sale of mobile applications.

Many volunteers around the world are already deploying “coding” trainings but these programmes are often not easy to replicate, translate, or to be adapted by parents or teachers, not technicians.

Intel ® Coding for Kids. an open source package of trainings and software incorporating international best practices in this field, can meet the criteria of UNESCO's YouthMobile initiative. Educational and/or non-profit partner associations can freely adapt and build their own programmes, within the framework of an international deployment.

In this approach, the code is used as a means of artistic creation, understanding of social, scientific and environmental problems. The proposed pedagogy model is based on peer-to-peer. Technically, the code is introduced very gradually and at each step the learner acquires ready-to-use expertise.

In addition, the round table organized by UNESCO and Intel Software will focus on other innovative approaches recently adopted in France, such as Simplon.co and Ecole42 and will try to assess the feasibility of larger deployments and sustainability of similar initiatives, particularly in emerging countries.

The Futur en Seine festival will take place from 12 to 22 June 2014, in the heart of Paris and across the Île-de-France. For more information: http://www.futur-en-seine.fr/fens2014

Legal Leaks event in Sarajevo trains media professionals in data journalism

News - Fri, 13/06/2014 - 10:38

To enhance journalists’ skills to access information and also to help journalists analyse and present the data they have obtained, a Legal Leaks training was organized in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina on 10 and 11 June 2014. Organized by UNESCO in cooperation with Access Info Europe, the Press Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina and South East European Network for Professionalization of Media SEENPM, the event included around 50 participating journalists from around the country.

The journalists were first trained by Helen Darbishire from Access Info Europe to use freedom of information (FOI) laws, which have been in force since 2000 in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Darbishire was involved in drafting the law as part of the team of local and international experts set up in 1999 by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). At the training, she discussed with journalists the fact that although Bosnia and Herzegovina does not have a constitutional provision on access to information, it is a signatory to international treaties. Moreover, human rights bodies such as the European Court of Human Rights have recognised that the right to information held by public bodies is linked to the right to freedom of expression.

In her presentation, Maja Brancovic, representative of Transparency International Bosnia and Herzegovina, underlined “the need for harmonizing the state and entity laws, and [of solving] all the other problems that occur during the implementation of the FOI legislation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

There is an ongoing debate in Bosnia and Herzegovina on how to strengthen the legal framework for the right of access to information, which currently scores 102 out of 150 points on the Global Right to Information Rating.

The session on data journalism was led by Slobodanka Dekic from the Media Centre Sarajevo and Aladin Abdagic from the Centre for Investigative Reporting. They presented their experiences using the right of access to information to build databases that help them write stories and do visualizations with datasets on topics such as budget spending.

“Using graphics will help your readers understand very quickly the story you want to tell,” said Abdagic. “People don’t have time to read 7 pages of investigation anymore.”

On the second day, the Press Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina trained participants on professional and ethical standards for journalism in the information era. It was emphasized that data should be treated with care and responsibility and that the public interest should be assessed before publication.

A further topic for debate was the role of whistleblowers and the responsibility of journalists to protect those who expose illegal activity. Bosnia and Herzegovina has a draft whistleblower law which only protects those who reveal information about their own organization but not about other organizations. There is a Whistleblower Association which works to expose criminality and to encourage investigations from the police and prosecutors. This organization also works to protect whistleblowers and is calling for a stronger law. In the debate, concerns were raised about the possible liabilities for journalists who handle leaked information. The Access Info team noted that international standards are in development, including jurisprudence from the European Court of Human Rights.

The event took place in the framework of the EU-UNESCO project: “Promoting Media Accountability in South East Europe and Turkey”, which started in January 2013. The training was the third in a series of local events taking place in the region.

Atelier de renforcement des capacités du Comité national malien Mémoire du Monde

Actualités - Fri, 13/06/2014 - 09:39

Lors de la cérémonie d’ouverture qui s’est déroulée à la Bibliothèque nationale, Me Mountaga Tall a noté que l’information est devenue une denrée stratégique de nos jours pour les pays, pour les grandes entreprises et disposer, en temps record, d’informations pertinentes est un atout. «C’est pourquoi la sauvegarde et l’accès aux éléments les plus menacés et les plus importants de notre patrimoine documentaire procède d’une volonté professionnelle, j’allais dire, politique de la République du Mali de mettre à la disposition de nos compatriotes de l’intérieur comme de l’extérieur et de tous les amis du Mali de par le monde des informations fiables sur notre pays », a expliqué le ministre de l’Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche scientifique.

Pour Mamadou Demba Sissoko, le Président du Comité national Mémoire du monde et Directeur national des bibliothèques et de la documentation, ‘cet atelier est le début d’une série d’activités qui permettront de dynamiser sa structure. L’objectif étant que le Mali puisse faire enregistrer des documents et prétendre, pourquoi pas, au prix Jikji’.

L’atelier a regroupé des participants venus des plusieurs institutions, agences et associations du Mali qui se sont familiarisés avec, entre autres : la notion de patrimoine documentaire et Mémoire du Monde; le fondement du dispositif opérationnel et le registre national Mémoire du Monde, le prix Jikji et les critères retenus pour la proposition d’éléments pour l’inscription au registre Mémoire du Monde.

Les participants ont formulé de nombreuses recommandations à l’adresse à la fois du gouvernement, de l’UNESCO, des institutions en charge du patrimoine documentaire et du comité national Mémoire du Monde. Ils recommandent, entre autres, de renforcer les capacités techniques et humaines de la direction nationale des bibliothèques et de la documentation et de la direction nationale des archives en matière de conservation préventive : restauration, reliure de document.

Les participants ont réclamé également l’élaboration d’un plan national de sécurisation des documents, surtout en période de conflit ou de catastrophes naturelles. Au Comité national, il est demandé de procéder le plus rapidement possible au recensement des éléments du patrimoine documentaire malien susceptibles d’être inscrits au registre national Mémoire du Monde, au plus tard au cours de ce mois de juin.

L’UNESCO a lancé le programme Mémoire du monde afin d’éviter l’amnésie collective et de promouvoir la conservation des collections d’archives et de bibliothèques partout dans le monde et d’en assurer la plus large diffusion. Créé pour protéger le patrimoine documentaire, le programme Mémoire du monde aide les réseaux d’experts à échanger des informations et trouver des ressources pour la conservation et la diffusion des biens documentaires.

A Capacity-building Workshop to Strengthen the Malian National Memory of the World Committee

News - Fri, 13/06/2014 - 09:31

At the opening ceremony held at the National Library, Mr. Tall Mountaga noted that information has become a strategic commodity these days to large companies, to countries and having the right information at the right moment is a great advantage. "This is why the preservation of and access to the most threatened and most important elements of our documentary heritage is guided by a professional will, I would say also by the political will of Mali to provide our fellow citizens in the country as well as outside of Mali reliable information on our country", said the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

Demba Mamadou Sissoko, the President of the Memory of the World Committee and Director of National Libraries and Documentation noted that “this workshop is the beginning of a series of activities that will boost the MOW  National Committee”. The objective is for Mali to  increase the number of  registered documents and one day perhaps to pretend also for the Jikji Prize’.

The workshop brought together participants from several institutions, agencies and associations in Mali who got familiar with, among others: the notion of documentary heritage and Memory of the World Programme; the basics of an operational system and the National Memory of the World Register, the Jikji Prize and the selection criteria for inclusion in the Memory of the World register.

Participants made several recommendations to the government, to UNESCO, and  to the institutions in charge of documentary heritage and the Memory of the World National Committee. They recommended, among others, the need to  strengthen the technical and human resource capacities at the national libraries management level, at the management level as concerns documentation and national archives, particularly  in the field of preventive conservation, restoration and  binding of documents.

Participants also called for the development of a national plan for safeguarding documents of considerable value, especially in times of conflict or natural disasters. The National Committee was requested to proceed as quickly as possible with the identification of documentary heritage which Mali would like  to enroll in the National Memory of the World register, and finish this task in June 2014, at the latest.

UNESCO launched the Memory of the World Programme 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.

UNESCO supports Open MOOCs in Africa

News - Fri, 13/06/2014 - 09:21

Defined as any type of educational materials in the public domain, or released with an open license allowing free use, adaptation, and distribution, Open Educational Resources (OERs) present Ministries of Education and educational institutions with a strategic opportunity to increase the quality of educational materials and using ICT to increase access to education especially for disadvantaged groups.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are characterized as free-of-cost, openly-accessible, online courses offered mostly by globally prestigious, traditional universities attracting ‘massive’ numbers of students. Like OERs, MOOCs also offer students, particularly those from developing countries with unprecedented easy access to high-quality, higher education.

OpenupEd is the world’s first MOOC Initiative that offers learners several unique innovations:

  • Courses are to be made immediately/progressively available as OERs with at least CC BY SA licenses
  • The university partners will offer full recognition, and additional credit for fees;
  • Some courses are to offer cohort-independence

Coordinated by the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU) with an obvious focus on European Member States, OpenupEd is being led by Professor Fred Mulder, UNESCO OER Chair.

With support from the European Commission, UNESCO is Globalizing OpenupEd in Africa working with the Africa Council for Distance Education (ACDE), and in Asia working with the Asian Association for Open Universities (AAOU).

The UNESCO Africa OpenupEd Workshop was co-chaired by Prof Mulder and Professor Tolly Mbwette, President of the ACDE and Vice-Chancellor of the Open University of Tanzania (OUT).

Over 30 very high-level delegates including 8 Vice Chancellors and Deputies, 2 of the ACDE Conference Keynote Speakers, and 25 senior officials representing over 20 institutions attended the Workshop. Background information on the OpenupEd Initiative was provided by:

Presentations on proposed African OER MOOCs were presented by:

Africa’s Journey to Open Education

Mr Abel Caine, UNESCO Programme Specialist for OERs was very pleased with the Workshop, “Demonstrating the immeasurable wealth of intellectual and professional expertise in the room, the delegates raised a very large number of questions and comments on the relevance and adaptation of OERs, MOOCs, and the OpenupEd OER-MOOC Initiative. We now have a hugely refined Project Plan that is directly aligned to existing education priorities and education goals.”

The Workshop was live-streamed on Zimbabwe Technomag website, and concluded with a clear resolution for UNESCO and the ACDE Secretariat to present a viable Implementation Plan at the next ACDE Executive Board Meeting in July, 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya.

The medium term goal is to launch the Africa OpenupEd Initiative with at least 3 African universities offering fully open-licensed MOOCs by the seminal World Education Forum in Incheon, South Korea in May 2015.

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