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UNESCO and SciELO launch a new publication on 15 years of Open Access

News - Tue, 27/01/2015 - 11:10

The title is published to provide a best case practice model that can be replicated in other parts of the world.  UNESCO and SciELO stand committed to support interested countries or a group of Member States to initiate the SciELO model of Open Access journal publication.

Highlighting the significance of the publication, Dr. Indrajit Banerjee, Director of the Division of Knowledge Societies, Communication and Information Sector, UNESCO noted “SciELO was launched four years before the Budapest Declaration, and six years before the Berlin Declaration on Open Access and pioneered the concept of Open Access and brought research to the easy reach of the common people. From 10 journals at a public workshop in São Paulo on its inception year to the current level of 1000 journals and 500,000 freely downloadable articles is a remarkable feat and an example of Open Access approach par-excellence!

Similarly, noting the significance of the publication, Mr Abel Packer, Director of SciELO stated that “the pioneering spirit and scope of SciELO is to improve the quality, visibility, usage and impact of journals that are available Openly. SciELO integrates the functions of indexing, journal performance evaluation, online open access publication and dissemination following international standards of the highest quality.” SciELO is implemented through a network of national collections of journals that extends through 16 countries, most of Latin American and Caribbean plus Portugal, South Africa and Spain.

Following the mandate given to UNESCO in 2009, UNESCO has been working in the field of Open Access to strengthen the organization's clearing-house mandate. The 187th session of the Executive Board approved UNESCO's  strategy for  the  promotion of Open Access to scientific information and research,  which was also adopted by the General Conference at its 36th session. Implicit in the strategy was to disseminate key approaches to Open Access that are not only pioneering but also are path-breaking that set a replicable example to the whole world.  The current publication is published within the framework of the same mandate. 

SciELO (The Scientific Electronic Library Online) is an electronic library of Open Access Journals. It is an integral part of a project being developed by FAPESP - Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo and created in partnership with BIREME - the Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information. Since 2002, the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) also supports SciELO.

Talks at the Guildhall to celebrate the UNESCO Memory of the World Register

News - Mon, 26/01/2015 - 15:05

The talks, staged by the Council’s Heritage Services in the Bath Guildhall on 14, 21 and 28 January 2015, present the perfect opportunity to learn more about some of the most significant written documents in the history of the world, which are held right here in the UK.

Mr Ben Stevens, Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said on that occasion: “These documents were of great importance in the past and are also of great importance to us today – helping us to better understand the world in which we live.”

The first talk about the Mappa Mundi took place on Wednesday 14 January. It was delivered by Sarah Arrowsmith, the Education Officer at Hereford Cathedral where it is displayed.  This is the only complete example of a large mediaeval world map intended for public display.  It gives us a window onto the world as it was known in the middle ages.  It is drawn on vellum (calf skin) and holds historical, anthropological, ethnographical, theological, biblical and classical images and information.  It presents a view of a world very different from ours. It wasn't intended to help find places. It relied as much on pictures as on words; many of its viewers couldn't read. It was to be treated reverentially. The world is depicted as round and flat. It's populated with such diverse creatures as Adam and Eve, Noah and his beasts, Emperor Caesar Augustus, a man riding a very unrealistic crocodile, and an imaginary being called a Sciapod who shelters himself from the burning sun with one huge foot. Mythological beasts jostle for space. The 12 winds are named and represented by dragons and grotesque squatting figures. Jerusalem is the center of the world. Countries and oceans are squeezed and stretched to fit into the map's circle. The Mappa Mundi is a work of history, zoology, anthropology and especially theology. It reveals how 13th-century scholars interpreted the world in spiritual terms. The map covers all time, from creation to doomsday. Mappa Mundi is on prominent display at the gorgeous cathedral in Hereford, England

On Wednesday 21 January, the Magna Carta was the subject for Seif El Rashidi, the Magna Carta 800 Manager at Salisbury Cathedral.  2015 will be the 800th anniversary of its signing.  Only four copies of the original Magna Carta exist, and one is held by Salisbury Cathedral.  Considered by some to be the most significant document in our history, it set out for the first time the English principles of liberty, law and democracy and had a worldwide influence which endures to this day.  The charter imposed constraints on royal authority in the areas of taxation, feudal rights and justice, thereby limiting unfair and arbitrary behaviour by the king towards his subjects. The Magna Carta was signed in June 1215 between the barons of Medieval England and King John. 'Magna Carta' is Latin and means "Great Charter". The Magna Carta was one of the most important documents of Medieval England. It is regarded as “an icon for freedom and democracy throughout the world”.           

The final talk – to be given by Roman Baths Manager Stephen Clews about the Roman Curse Tablets from Bath – will be on Wednesday 28 January 2015.  They were included on the UK Register earlier this year. The Tablets are prayers requesting the assistance of the goddess Sulis Minerva in righting wrongs and ask for sometimes blood curdling punishment for the perpetrators of crimes. Some were written backwards to increase their potency. They provide a very different insight into the Roman world from that which comes down to us from other surviving documents.

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 vision is that the world's documentary heritage belongs to all, should be fully preserved and protected for all and, with due recognition of cultural mores and practicalities, should be permanently accessible to all without hindrance. The Programme is thus intended to protect documentary heritage, and to help networks of experts to exchange information and raise resources for the preservation of, and the access to, documentary and archival collections of valuable records.

L’UNESCO forme les radios congolaises à la production des émissions locales

Actualités - Mon, 26/01/2015 - 12:13

Après un rappel des notions et techniques de base pour la production des émissions thématiques dans  les domaines de la santé, de l’agriculture, de l’environnement et de l’éducation, les formateurs et les participants ont analysé les résultats des enquêtes préalablement menées auprès de ces radios. Ces enquêtes avaient principalement porté sur les sujets suivants : développer le respect pour les petits exploitants agricoles ;  donner aux agriculteurs, au personnel médical, aux enseignants ainsi qu’aux autres parties prenantes l’opportunité de parler et de se faire entendre ; fournir les informations les plus utiles quand elles sont nécessaires ; et diffuser les émissions sur les sujets de préoccupation locale d’une façon constante et divertissante.

Les participants ont par la suite appris comment rendre les informations clés disponibles à l’aide des moyens autres que la diffusion radio pour maximiser leur impact sur le public, par exemple au moyen des lettres, des  tribunes téléphoniques et des SMS. Ils ont aussi appris comment faire la promotion des émissions dans les domaines de préoccupation principale pour leur auditeurs. Enfin, dans le but de  rendre leur émissions  divertissantes, les participants ont fait des exercices de simulation qui les ont aidé à organiser des tribunes téléphoniques et des jeux questionnaires, à utiliser les éléments dramatiques comme le suspense et la narration, à recourir à l’humour de façon appropriée et régulière, et à inclure de la musique locale pour animer leur programmes.

Ces ateliers se sont tenus simultanément dans les sites des quatre radios suivantes : à Kasumbalesa pour la Radio Déogracias, à Kenge pour la Radio Kimvuka na Lutondo,  à Kimpese pour la Radio Bangu, et à Moanda pour la radio communautaire de Moanda.

Congolese community radios trained in the production of local programmes

News - Mon, 26/01/2015 - 11:48

After a review of basic concepts and techniques related to the production of thematic programmes in the area of health, agriculture, environment and education, trainers and participants analyzed the results of surveys that had been conducted prior to the workshop among the participating radios. The surveys had focused on the following main subjects: developing respect for small farmers; providing farmers, health personnel, teachers and other stakeholders in the project with the opportunity to speak and be heard; offering the most useful information when it is required; and broadcasting programmes on the topics of local concern in a constant and entertaining way.

During the workshops participants also learnt how to disseminate key information by other means than broadcasting, such as letters, phone-in programmes and SMS, and how to better promote programmes of main interest for their audiences. In order to make radio programmes entertaining, participants did simulation exercises, which helped them organize in-phone programmes and quizzes, use dramatic elements like suspense and story-telling, use humor appropriately and regularly, and include local music to animate their programmes.

The workshops were held simultaneously in the premises of the following four radio stations: in Kasumbalesa for Radio Déogracias, in Kenge for Radio Kimvuka na Lutondo, in Kimpese for Radio Bangu, and in Moanda for the Moanda community radio.

UNESCO launches a new publication in its Internet freedom series

News - Mon, 19/01/2015 - 16:02

The case study research, collaboratively delivered by 16 international researchers led by Ms Rebecca MacKinnon and Mr Allon Bar, as well as 14 members of International Advisory Committee, covers of 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. It is a resource which enables the assessment of Internet intermediaries’ decisions on freedom of expression, by ensuring that any limitations are consistent with international standards. 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.

UNESCO has succeeded in raising awareness and promoting good practice through past research in the UNESCO Series on Internet Freedom: Freedom of connection, freedom of expression: the changing legal and regulatory ecology shaping the Internet (2011) and Global survey on Internet Privacy and Freedom of Expression (2012).

This rich material in this, the third in UNESCO Series on Internet Freedom, will be of great value to all stakeholders. These are industry actors, UNESCO Member States, technical community, Intergovernmental organizations, private sector, civil society, and others both national and international.

This research is linked to UNESCO draft conceptual framework of “Internet universality” which draws from UNESCO decisions on the Internet, and recognises that four core principles should inform cyber actors. These principles are that the Internet should be human rights-based, open, accessible for all and governed by multi-stakeholder participation.

The research also helps to inform UNESCO’s implementation of a comprehensive and consultative multi-stakeholder Internet study as mandated by the Organization’s 37th General Conference Resolution 52. The study, due in 2015, covers UNESCO’s key competence areas of access to information and knowledge, freedom of expression, privacy, and ethical dimensions of the information society, and contains possible options for future actions.

The research has been presented at a number of international events including the 9th Internet Governance Forum and the 4th UN Forum on Business and Human rights. The publication will initially be launched at UNESCO’s forthcoming Internet conference “Connecting the Dots: Options for Future Action” (3-4 March 2015).

IPDC Chair supports UNESCO event “Journalism after Charlie”

News - Thu, 15/01/2015 - 15:30

A special guest at the “Journalism after Charlie” event on 14 January at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, Ms Shala underlined to the more than 400 participants why IPDC supported journalists’ safety.

She noted that while there are different reasons why journalists become targets of killers, there was also “something in common between the murdered Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, investigative journalists and political correspondents shot dead in Mexico, Philippines, Pakistan and Syria”.

“In all cases, these journalists and others have been killed because of the public role they play.  They have been killed by people who believe it is legitimate to stop words and images with violence. In all cases, the effect is the same. The murdered journalists cannot bear witness, and society no longer has the choice of knowing what they would have said.”

The Chair’s remarks mirrored those of speakers such as UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, the cartoonist Plantu, as well as journalists from several countries and religious leaders.

The Chair added that she herself worked on a daily basis with journalists in conflict regions and countries in transition. “These are the ones who dare denounce corruption, crime, human rights abuses. They are the ones who are threatened, arrested and even killed.”

She pointed out that IPDC monitors all these cases and draws attention to the fact that killings of journalists are not just against individuals, but also an assault on everyone’s right to free expression, and on society’s right to know.

“The IPDC’s monitoring shows that there is a fundamental issue that Governments should deal with - the issue of impunity. Dealing with impunity calls for legal and institutional reform. It calls for will and courage on the part of Member States to protect journalists and bring to justice the drug barons, the corrupted politicians, the fundamentalists.”

She concluded: “The recent events underline the importance of what we do, and they encourage us to redouble our efforts. I pledge that IPDC will continue to strive for a world in which everyone is safe to speak and where justice is made.”

Other special guests included Christophe Deloire of Reporters sans frontières, Jesper Hojberg of International Media Support, and Dominique Pradalié of the Syndicat national des journalists (SNJ). The event was supported financially by the delegations of Austria, France and Sweden, and was done in partnership with broadcast station France Culture.

Enhancing ICT and e-literacy skills of Kenyan librarians

News - Wed, 14/01/2015 - 16:29

The training attracted participation of 30 librarians from 29 public libraries that currently provide public access to computers and Internet in Kenya. It aimed at enhancing public librarians’ information and communications technologies (ICT) and e-literacy skills, in order to make better use of ICT for new public library services to meet community needs.

The training also aimed at helping support delivery of the Millennium Development Goals by enabling public librarians to use ICT in new services that meet community needs in development areas such as agriculture, education, health, culture, social inclusion and e-literacy.

During the training Ms Ramune Petuchovaite, Manager of the EIFL Public Library Innovation Programme (EIFL-PLIP) stated that “ICT’s role in accelerating development is now widely recognized in Africa and that governments are speeding up the roll-out of ICT infrastructure and equipment to aid this developments. With these developments, it is important that public libraries be included in national ICT policies and strategies.”

“To date, only 29 out of 60 libraries are adequately equipped with ICT infrastructure in Kenya. There is, therefore, an undoubted need for both library staff and our clients to upgrade their ICT skills to be able to better utilize the resources that we currently have in place,” said Mr Richard Atuti, Director of the Kenya National Library Service.

This training adapted courses and training methods currently being tested in Ghana and Uganda by EIFL to fit the Kenyan context and supported a broader Kenya National Library Service initiative of engaging partners in transforming libraries across the country into ICT hubs.

This capacity building initiative falls within the framework of UNESCO, supporting adoption of ICT in public libraries and also enabling the creation of new services for users in Kenya.

Kenya National Library Service is a statutory body established to develop, equip, manage and maintain national and public library services, to promote information literacy and reading, and to enhance stakeholder participation in development of libraries in Kenya, while EIFL Public Library Innovation Programme (EIFL-PLIP) advances community development by enabling public libraries to implement innovative ideas that use technology to improve people’s lives and livelihoods.

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