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Following UNESCO’s adoption of the CONNECTing the Dots Outcome document in 2015 as its new approach to Internet issues as well as the successful development and application of the IPDC Media Development Indicators, UNESCO is pleased to launch a new project: “Defining Internet Universality Indicators”. This project aims to elaborate appropriate Internet indicators which can enrich stakeholders’ capacity to assess Internet development, broaden international consensus and foster online democracy and human rights towards knowledge societies engaged in sustainable development. This study will be founded on the UNESCO concept of Internet Universality as the guiding framework which promotes an Internet based on human Rights, and the principles of Openness, Accessibility and Multi-stakeholder participation (abbreviated as the R.O.A.M principles).
For this new project, UNESCO launches this call for proposals to carry out the key deliverable and related tasks within a one-year time frame from April 2017 to April 2018.
Deliverable: Develop and finalize an elaborated set of Internet Universality Indicators through a global multi-stakeholder consultation online and offline.
The specific objectives are:
1. To develop and finalize an elaborated draft set of Internet Universality indicators and sub-indicators in line with international human rights standards and within the focus of the Internet Universality concept, with realistic and practical applicability to countries at all levels of statistical development.
2. To plan and conduct an inclusive global and regional consultation process with multi-stakeholder groups, which will feed into the drafting and elaboration of Internet Universality indicators, including offline consultations as well as online tools via building and maintaining a dedicated online platform/website with multi-lingual access.
The final deliverable setting out the indicators will take the form of a policy paper in English with maximum 100 standard pages (minimum of 320 words each) excluding annexes and bibliography, as well as a project online platform/website on Internet Universality indicators under UNESCO domain name and server.
A draft of the deliverable will be presented on the project’s online platform/website (to be created under this project for consultation) and the final version will likely be released as a UNESCO publication. If the budget allows it, the publication will be translated into 4-6 UN official languages, which will inform UNESCO’s 195 Member States and other international policy-makers on internet-related policy making.
Each proposal should include: a detailed description of the research methodology, an elaborated plan of a multi-stakeholder consultation, a strategy for the creation of an online platform/website, preliminary elaboration of 5 categories of indicators, a work plan, a timeline, a description of the team including CVs and the requested funding in US$ with a budget breakdown. This budget breakdown should show – if needs be – a minimum and a maximum scale of implementation.
UNESCO, therefore, invites interested researchers, institutions, research consortiums, entities and organizations to submit their proposals, according to the General Terms of Reference by email to internetstudy(at)unesco.org. The deadline for submitting is 28 February 2017, before noon (CET).
To ease the email tracing and facilitate quick processing, kindly use the following script “Proposal for Defining Internet Universality Indicators” as the email subject.
It is important to note that UNESCO has commissioned preliminary research on the Internet indicators which should be considered as a basis to develop this final deliverable. This initial background paper will be provided to interested submitters upon request via the same email address: internetstudy(at)unesco.org
Submissions will be acknowledged by email upon receipt but ONLY selected organizations will receive further notification and correspondences.
Reference documents and links:
“Even though the number of journalists killed in 2016 is slightly lower than in the previous year, the perils and challenges faced by media workers worldwide show no sign of abating,” stated Frank La Rue, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information. “The profession of a journalist is not a safe one, and a press accreditation card or display of media equipment has often served as an extra reason to be targeted.”
The 2016 figure compares to 115 in 2015 as recorded by UNESCO, 98 in 2014 and 90 in 2013. Each killing is condemned by the UNESCO Director General who calls for a judicial investigation to bring the killers to book.
The most lives were lost in the Arab States, where the armed conflicts in the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq and Yemen have claimed the largest share. Media operating in Latin America and the Caribbean saw 28 casualties, including bloggers and freelancers, constituting the region as second deadliest in 2016.
Although impunity statistics are not yet available for the cases of killings in 2016, widespread impunity for acts of violence against the media has long been a cause for concern: barely one out of ten cases of killed journalists has led to a conviction in the past.
“When crimes against journalists, of any kind, remain unpunished, it implies that media can continuously be harassed and attacked,” added Mr La Rue. “Impunity slowly gags journalists and media, where fear of reprisal turns into self-censorship, depriving each and every one of us from vital information.” This climate of impunity demonstrates that publishing and broadcasting stories can pose lethal risks, leaving less room for in-depth reporting on sensitive information or inconvenient truths.
Online hate speech and gender-based harassment were also evident in 2016 as additional dangers next to the physical threats toward the lives of journalists.
UNESCO coordinates the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, the first concerted effort in tackling these issues. Entering its fifth year of implementation, it brings together all stakeholders, including civil society organizations, academia, media houses, intergovernmental bodies as well as government actors. The UN Plan of Action has provided a large impetus to addressing the plight of media worldwide, and actively contributes to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
Tim Dawson, President of the National Union of Journalists in the United Kingdom and Ireland delivered a training, based on his long serving experience as trade unionist, to trainers from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Turkey and Kosovo*. It included various techniques aimed to ensure the recognition of trade unions and their efficiency in bargaining collective agreements and wages. The training was attended by 13 participants from the region.
Despite the existence of some legal guarantees, reports too often highlight that journalists’ labour rights in South East Europe and Turkey are more breached than upheld. The lack of independent journalists’ trade unions that could defend proper contracts and strengthen social protection measures of journalists appears a central part of the problem.
The training class hence covered important areas for improving journalists’ labour rights, among others: (i) trade union recognition agreements; (ii) components of wage claims; (iii) collective bargaining techniques; (iv) annual negotiation on wages; (v) education of media owners on labour rights; (vi) ways to strengthen workers networks within the group of media enterprises; (vii) cooperation with international trade union networks; (viii) ways to encourage journalists to organize themselves and act collectively; (ix) settlement procedures, etc.
Based on the ideas and best practices presented during the workshop by Tim Dawson, participants were requested to repeat this workshop locally for the benefit of their members. The EFJ will organize a follow-up ToT seminar next year.
The UNESCO-EFJ project “Building Trust in media in South East Europe and Turkey” is funded by the European Union. The project supports media freedom and media integrity in the EU enlargement countries by improving the internal governance of media organizations through the implementation of internal rules and good practices that recognize human rights and labour standards.
* Administered by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo in the context of UN Security Council Resolution 1244
"For more than 10 years, I have been organizing successful summer schools on media ethics for journalists students. Considering the demand and importance of the topic for journalists, we developed the idea to use our network of trainers and expertise to record online classes and thereby reach more people than our summer students," explained Ljiljana Zurovac, the Executive Director of the Press Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The online platform currently features 12 classes with trainers in the format of questions and answers. The topics covered are both general and specific and comprise freedom of speech, media ethics and radio journalism, the responsibilities of online news portals, ethical standards of investigative journalism.
The main ambition of the online media ethics school is to become a leading educational portal on media ethics for the South East European region. Such materials should encourage journalists to abide by high ethical standards and prove them that it is possible to build a career in journalism while respecting professional standards.
The EU-funded Project "Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey," provides support to media self-regulation mechanisms with the objective to strengthen media professional standards and media quality.
More information about the online media ethics school is available in a video clip here: https://youtu.be/JzEB_84_Mlk
Svetlana Smirnova, the widow of journalist Alexander Efremov who was killed in Chechnya, along with the couple’s daughter and grand-daughter attended the event, as did family members of other killed journalists.
As a sign of respect for his work, a statue of Efremov has been erected in his home town by his community. President of the Russian Union of Journalists, Vsevolod Bogdanov, showed a miniature of the memorial (see photo), and highlighted the personal and societal loss when a journalist is murdered.
Secretary of the Russian Union of Journalists Ali Akhmedovich Kamalov, who is also chair of the Journalists Union of Dagestan, appealed for support for funds for a 16-metre-high column to serve as a public monument in Makhachkala for 19 journalists who had lost their lives within his region since 1992.
While there had been no killings in the region in the past three years, he said, it was important to keep alive the memory of those who had lost their lives in the service of informing the public.
UNESCO Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development, Guy Berger, underlined the contribution of journalists to society, the importance of celebrating their work and the need for justice in cases of killings.
He noted that 19 deaths had been recorded by UNESCO since 2006 in the Russian Federation, and that 11 had been judicially resolved according to information supplied by the Russian authorities to the Director-General’s report to the Organization’s International Programme for the Development of Communication.
From the International Federation of Journalists, Oliver Money-Kyrie said that no union had done as much as the Russian Union of Journalists to deal with the issue of journalists as victims of violence. “You are an inspiration to journalists everywhere,” he stated.
The event was accompanied by a seminar on threats and opportunities for regional media in the digital age, organized by the Russian Union of Journalists, the European Federation of Journalists and the European Union.
Speaking during the seminar, Berger drew attention to the potential of UNESCO’s Media Development Indicators, Media Viability Indicators, and the Media and Information Literacy country readiness matrix. “Research using these indicators can identify the strengths and weaknesses of regional media, which provides an evidence-base for actions to address the digital opportunities and threats,” he said.
Berger later delivered a lecture about UNESCO’s work at the faculty of journalism at Lomonosov Moscow State University.
The week marked the last day of service as Executive Director of the Russian Union of Journalists by Nadezda Azhgikhina, and her achievements in the position since 2003 were hailed by Ricardo Gutierrez, General Secretary of the European Federation of Journalists. She will continue to work in the field of journalism development.