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Internet Governance Forum: The willingness to go further

News - Tue, 20/05/2014 - 10:30

UNESCO is hosting from 19-21 May the IGF Open Consultations and Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) meeting.

In his welcoming remarks, the Deputy Director-General highlighted how UNESCO has been a longstanding supporter of the Internet Governance Forum and been involved in the process since the foundation of IGF in Athens in 2006:

“In the past eight IGFs, UNESCO organized and co-organized more than 50 workshops and Open Fora on promoting freedom of expression and privacy on Internet, multilingualism in cyberspace, local content, digital preservation, etc.”

UNESCO valued IGF’s 2014 meetings as an opportunity to explain its major research study on Internet topics, and invite participants to contribute to the study.

The Deputy Director-General stressed that the study “is intended help guide the future decision-making by our 195 Member States about the intersection of the Internet and our programmes.

“It is therefore not a study just for academic purposes but one that will contribute to effective policy about UNESCO's approach and activities concerning the Net.”  

The purpose of the second round of IGF open consultations and MAG meetings is to continue preparations for the IGF 2014 annual meeting. The Honorary Chair of the IGF 2014 Open Consultation and MAG meetings, Dr Ahmet Erding Cavusoglu briefed participants on the state of preparations by the host Country.

This meeting is finalizing the main/focus sessions that will be held during IGF 2014 and is finishing the process of evaluating workshop proposals. The NETMundial process and outcomes, and how the IGF could move forward the results and enhance its own outcomes, is part of the discussion.

Live transmission of the meeting can be accessed through the following links:

FLOOR - mms://stream.unesco.org/live/room_9_floor.wmv

EN -  mms://stream.unesco.org/live/room_9_en.wmv

FR -  mms://stream.unesco.org/live/room_9_fr.wmv

Remote Participation

To register and join the meeting remotely, please follow the links below. Once registered,you will receive a confirmation email with instructions for joining the meeting.

Background on the UNESCO Internet Study:

UNESCO is elaborating a study on Internet-related issues, which will cover access to information and knowledge, freedom of expression, privacy and ethical dimensions of the information society, and explore possible options for future actions. A multi-stakeholder consultation process includes governments, the private sector, civil society, international organizations and the technical community.

The concept paper for the study has been shaped by a first round of consultations. The guiding framework of the study is the draft concept of “Internet Universality”, which summarizes the Internet’s core principles relevant to UNESCO’s mandate and fields of competence, namely that the Internet should be: human rights-based, open, accessible to all, and nurtured by multi-stakeholder participation.

More information: www.unesco.org/new/internetstudy

Comments to: Internetstudy(at)unesco.org

Twitter hashtag: #netstudy

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. 

Sauti FM holds capacity building training for its staff in Kenya

News - Wed, 07/05/2014 - 09:49

The training on the role of correspondents to feed local news and collect testimonies aimed at empowering participants with knowledge and skills on how to gather different news items and testimonies, which are of concern to the audience. With this training, participants will now be able to properly source for news stories and testimonies for broadcast at the radio station. Training on the use of Internet to report on subject areas such agriculture, health and education equipped participants with enhanced knowledge and skills to effectively conduct research for the development of news stories by also capitalizing on the use of new media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube among others.

The training on entrepreneurship and income generation empowered participants to effectively be able to cover these issues during on-air programmes, whereas the training on financial planning and management enabled participants to discuss, explain and apply ethical principles, standards of practice and rules of conduct for the financial planning at the radio station.

Speaking at the workshop, Mr Fredrick Mariwa, Sauti FM Station Manager, stated that the trainings were key in deepening and improving knowledge and skills of Sauti FM staff members. He further thanked UNESCO for its continued support and help in building the capacities of community radio stations in Kenya.

Another participant, Mr Peter Kochiel, said, “This training has come at the right time for Sauti FM staff and we are glad that the most important issues such as financial planning, use of Internet to report on agriculture, health and women empowerment, entrepreneurship and income generation among others were prioritized.” “This training will be very instrumental in the running of day-to-day work as we have now been equipped with knowledge and skills to run our radio station,” he added.

Discussions, practical exercises and lectures were used as a mode of delivery for the aforementioned trainings to enhance and encourage participation, thus enabling participants to properly grasp issues raised during the training.

This workshop was carried out as part UNESCO’s continued efforts to strengthen and build capacities of community radios in Kenya under the ongoing SIDA funded project “Empowering Community radios with ICTs.” 

Enhancing access to education through ICT in Kenya

News - Tue, 06/05/2014 - 10:50

The workshop aimed at populating a knowledge deepening course for primary education teachers in Kenya with national and international OERs and thus builds capacity of participants to enable them to adapt and customise Open Education Resources (OER) and thus support deployment of the UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers within the Kenyan context. Furthermore the workshop capacitated participants in instructional design principles, including ideal structure of a blended course delivered as professional development opportunity. Mr Andrew Moore, the facilitator of the workshop stated that “there is need for OER ICT CFT to complement the Kenya Governments One laptop per Child project as this will enhance its integration to the country’s education programme.”

The training attracted participation of Kenyan ICT CFT OER courseware developers from the Ministry of Education Science and Technology, Teachers Service Commission, Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education in Africa, Kenya Education Management Institute, Kenya Institute of Special Education, Kenya Technical Teachers College, Strathmore University, and Inoorero University. Many, if not all of the participants found the workshop to be of great value and of great need for themselves or their respective institutions. Participants were ready to take on the challenge posed during the workshop and were eager to move on to integrating the concepts they had been taught into practical activities.

This workshop comes as a follow up of the workshop held from 18 to 22 November 2013 that took stock of existing ICT teacher training initiatives in Kenya and proposed the UNESCO project to focus on offering additional professional development opportunities to those teachers and school managers who had completed the initial ICT integration training. The UNESCO project will enable the Teacher Service Commission to offer ‘follow-up’ training at a slightly higher level using a different mode of delivery in order to contain costs for both the project coordinators and participants.

This activity is a direct follow-up to the 2012 World Congress on Open Educational Resources which released the Paris Declaration on OERs calling on Governments to openly license all educational materials produced with public funds. Supported by a generous grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (USA), UNESCO is working with the Governments of Kenya, Oman, Bahrain, and Indonesia to implement dynamic and relevant policies to guide and recognize teachers and learners to find, adapt, use, develop, and share open educational resources.

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