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UNESCO’s Director-General opens 8th IFAP Council

News - Mon, 19/05/2014 - 10:11

In her opening remarks, the Director-General commended the outgoing Bureau for ”the end of a successful term marked by positive examples of IFAP’s work over the last two years, in building knowledge societies at the global, regional and local levels”, drawing attention to a number of important international conferences and projects implemented in Africa, Asia, Europe as well Latin America and the Caribbean. Recognizing that “the priorities addressed by IFAP are some of most urgent and rapidly evolving areas of public policy,” Ms Bokova challenged the Council “to strengthen the sustainability of national IFAP bodies and effectively leverage IFAP’s potential for contributing to the Post-2015 Development Agenda”.

The Council is responsible for guiding the planning and the implementation of IFAP and will use the 2-day session to review its achievements and discuss the strategic orientations for the Programme during the 2014-2018 period. Particular attention will be given to further improving IFAP's working modalities, financial situation and visibility, as well positioning IFAP’s actions within the context of the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the WSIS + 10 process. As a technical advisory body to the Director-General, the Council will dedicate a portion of its session to discussing the comprehensive study on Internet-related issues within UNESCO’s fields of competence, called for by Member States at the 37th session of the General Conference.

During the session, the Council will also elect eight of its Members to the Bureau for a term of two years. The Bureau is the operational body of the Council and its Chairperson, along with Bureau members, is expected to play a key role in the Working Groups constituted to address IFAP's strategic priority areas, provide support to the National IFAP Committees in their respective regions, and promote visibility and resource mobilization for the Programme.

The intergovernmental Information for All Programme was established in 2001. It provides a platform for international policy discussions, cooperation and the development of guidelines for action in the area of access to information and knowledge. The Programme supports Member States to develop and implement national information policy and strategy frameworks in the areas of information accessibility, information for development, information ethics, information literacy, information preservation and multilingualism.

UNESCO trains journalists in digital security in Rabat

News - Fri, 16/05/2014 - 15:36

Digital data protection has become a basic requirement for journalists who need to better protect sensitive information from falling into unwanted hands. This is especially relevant to investigative journalists who need to protect the identity of their sources or their raw data.

The four-day training included introduction to international human rights norms and conventions, practical writing workshops, and digital security training modules. UNESCO’s Ming-Kuok Lim was the trainer for the basic digital security and data protection training session. Other trainers were from OHCHR Doha-Centre, ISIC, Doha Centre for Media Freedom and Centre for Democracy, Media and Human Rights.

An informal interaction with the participants at the beginning of the session revealed that only two out of 30 participants had taken some kind of safety training in the past, while none have heard of or used readily available digital data protection tools such as VPN, TOR, and data encryption software.

“The lack of digital security skills of the participants today generally mirrors that of other journalists, according to surveys conducted in other regions,” said Lim. “More and more journalists realize the importance of digital security training but many do not have the opportunity to participate in such trainings,” he continued. Many remain apprehensive about new digital security tools and have the impression that they are “too technical or difficult to learn”.

However, simple-to-use, free and open-source digital protection software can greatly increase the security of digital communication and protect valuable data from being illegally accessed at virtually no-cost to the users.

The practical aspects of the training is grounded in international standards on safety of journalists including the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity spearheaded by UNESCO, the UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/68/163 and the Human Rights Council Resolution A/HRC/21/12. These international standards all underline the importance of ensuring the safety of journalists working in both online and offline context.

Young reporters cover UNESCO´s World Press Freedom Day International Conference

News - Fri, 16/05/2014 - 15:20

This was the third year in which a Youth Newsroom was set up during the global celebration of World Press Freedom Day, and it was the biggest one yet! Thirty-three young journalism students and recent graduates from fourteen countries participated, taking photos, writing articles, producing audiovisual material and podcasts in English, French and Arabic, focusing on this year´s WPFD theme “Media Freedom for a Better Future: Shaping the post-2015 Development Agenda”.

“We are working as reporters for everybody, for the same conference, and for our partners back home, to tell them about the conference… I like the newsroom, because of the new friendship built with my colleagues, who are part of the same team… and I like the idea of keeping in touch,” said Mazen, from Palestine.

For Dimitri (France), the most interesting thing was interviewing, and being among really important people and journalists. “It was like being a child at Christmas time. It was awesome, it was really awesome,” he said.

The École Supérieure de Journalisme de Paris was the host school of this year´s WPFD Youth Newsroom, which was organized in partnership with the World Editors Forum/World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), the Doha Centre for Media Freedom, the American University of Sharjah and the University of Oregon.

The organization of the 2014 WPFD Youth Newsroom was made possible thanks to funding from European Union, under the Networks of Mediterranean Youth Project (NET-MED Youth) which, among other objectives, promotes young men and women’s freedom of expression and representation in media in 10 countries of the eastern and western Basins of the Mediterranean Sea. The project seeks to facilitate the involvement of young men and women in media production, reinforce capacities and facilitate South-South and North-South interaction and exchange among young journalists.  

“I like the fact that I can meet journalists from all around the world… and to work all together and talk about the liberty and security of journalists… it is my first experience in an international meeting, and I really enjoyed it,” declared Djamila, from Algeria. Emily, from Australia, enjoyed the practical component of the UNESCO Youth Newsroom, working to real deadlines and functioning in a sort of real-time newsroom. “I liked meeting people from around the world, who share the same passion of journalism as me; and I´m learning different skills from them,” she added.

The concept of the WPFD Youth Newsroom is aligned with the priority that UNESCO places in mainstreaming youth into media work, considering their emergence as mass communicators, both on-line and off -line, as relevant stakeholders in freedom of expression and its uses. Their participation in the commemoration of World Press Freedom Day was particularly relevant in light of this year’s theme, given the critical role of youth in the post-2015 development agenda and considering how media can help catalyze it, for example by underpinning their contribution to decision-making and democratic consolidation (as reflected in UNESCO’s Operational Strategy on Youth 2014-2021).

Check out the 2014 WPFD Youth Newsroom homepage to access the material produced by the young participating reporters!  

Watch a video about the 2014 Newsroom produced by the Doha Centre for Media Freedom´s Junior Reporters (who were part of the newsroom themselves).

Asia-Pacific Memory of the World Register enriched with sixteen new collections

News - Fri, 16/05/2014 - 14:56

The MOWCAP General Meeting was co-hosted by the State Archive Administration of China (SAAC), the Guangdong Province and the Guangzhou municipal government, with the support from the UNESCO offices in Bangkok and Beijing. For the first time, the MOWCAP biennial event was also attended by representatives from Bangladesh, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and Samoa.  

"This is our biggest General Meeting to date," said the outgoing Chairperson of the Bureau Ray Edmonson, “with a record number of inscriptions which doubles the Asia-Pacific Register.”

In the opening remarks, the Director-General of the SAAC Yang Dongquan said that "delegates from countries and regions throughout Asia-Pacific as well as UNESCO are gathered here together to share experience and exchange views, which will definitely promote the progress of regional work of the MOW and documentary heritage protection.”

The MOWCAP General Meeting was also followed by a capacity building Symposium. The sixteen new inscriptions added to the MOWCAP regional register were selected among twenty one nominations proposed by national committees, organizations or individuals from fifteen countries.

The new inscriptions are: Queensland South Sea Islander Indentured Labour records 1863-1908 (Australia); the Reamker by Tukrut (Cambodia); the Double Stellar Hemisphere (China), The Proclamation ‘E Tuatua Akakite’ 1891 (Cook Islands), Polynesian Immigrants Records 1896-1914 (Fiji), ‘The Soul of the Reef’ documentary film (Iran), Vendidad (Iran), Al-Masaalik Wa Al-Mamaalik (Iran), Neo Lao Hak Xath Film Collection 1953-1980 (Lao PDR), Loamanfaanu (Maldives), Sutra Great Deity Tara (Mongolia), Western Pacific Archives (News Zealand), Archives of German-Samoa Colonial Administration (Samoa), Asian Film Archives Collection Cathay-Keris Malay Classics (Singapore), Imperial records of Nguyen  Dynasty 1802-1945 (Viet Nam); and with one item from the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Collections of Documents and Images of Karbala, provisionally registered waiting for administrative information.

The delegates elected the new MOWCAP Bureau composed by Li Minhua as Chair (Deputy Director-General of the State Archive Administration of China), and as vice-chairs Fatima Fahimnia (Iran), Dianne Macaskill (New Zealand), Kim Kwibae (Republic of Korea), Vu Thi Minh Huong (Viet Nam). Ms. Helen Swinnerton was reconfirmed as MOWCAP Secretary-General, with Rosa Maria Gonzalez as ex-officio member from the UNESCO Secretariat. Special advisors are: Prof. Simon Chu, Sarah Choy, Dr. Ray Edmonson, and Richard Engelhardt, while Dr. Rajaya Abhakorn (Thailand) was reconfirmed as MOWCAP Goodwill Patron.

The Memory of the World is the documented, collective memory of the peoples of the world – their documentary heritage – which in turn represents a large proportion of the world’s cultural heritage. It charts the evolution of thought, discovery and achievement of human society. It is the legacy of the past to the world community of the present and the future. The Memory of the World Programme, established by UNESCO in 1992, recognizes documentary heritage of international, regional and national significance, maintains registers of it, and awards a logo to identify it. It facilitates preservation, and access without discrimination. It campaigns to raise awareness of the documentary heritage, to alert governments, the general public, business and commerce to preservation needs, and to raise funds. The Memory of the World Programme maintains a global perspective embracing all countries and peoples, whose collective efforts will be needed to ensure that the Memory is retained undistorted and undiminished.

WSIS outcomes: Assessing progress on implementation and follow-up

News - Wed, 14/05/2014 - 09:29

The meeting is also discussing the progress made in the implementation of and follow-up to the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) outcomes at regional and international levels. It was opened by Andrew Reynolds, Chair of CSTD and Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD. This was followed by a series of addresses by Hamadoun Toure, Secretary-General of ITU; Rolf-Dieter Heuer, Director General of CERN; Getachew Engida, Deputy Director-General of UNESCO. The session concluded with a video address by Amina J. Mohammed, Special Advisor of the UN Secretary-General on post-2015 Development Planning.

In his address to the Commission, the Deputy Director-General of UNESCO Mr Engida stated: “Our goals are clear – to eradicate poverty, to craft inclusive, knowledge societies, where every woman and man is empowered to create knowledge from information and contribute fully to society. Science, technology and innovation are essential for achieving this vision.”

Mr Engida also stressed the importance of STI for the creation of knowledge, economic growth and for the sustainability of development. As UNESCO’s focus is on capacity building, policy and content development, the Deputy Director-General furthermore highlighted that alone, technology is not enough - it must be married with skills and opportunities for all. “We cannot just invest in science and technology - we need to invest in ecosystems,” he stated.

This UNESCO vision of a holistic and integrated approach of technologies towards inclusive Knowledge Societies has been built on UNESCO’s initial contribution to the World Summit on the Information Society outcomes. 


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