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Building Peace in the Minds of Men and Women
Updated: 46 min 33 sec ago

My Killers Are Still Free: The story of a campaign

Fri, 25/11/2016 - 16:47

The campaign also highlighted the key findings of the biennial Report of the UNESCO Director-General on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity, which was presented on 17 November to the 39 Member States of the Intergovernmental Council of the Organization’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).

Through a series of representative cases of attacks against journalists, My Killers Are Still Free brought into the spotlight the statistics of a decade of violence against journalists, media workers and social media producers.

UNESCO has documented 827 journalists killed since 2006, when the IPDC mandated the Director-General to begin requesting information from Member States on the judicial investigations carried out into killings of journalists.

The campaign also presented powerful and heartfelt testimonials of close relatives, co-workers, and lawyers of killed journalists across the world, to reflect upon the distress caused by impunity at a personal level and the damage to society as a whole.

“The proper conclusions of investigations into acts of impunity are important in order to reestablish the governance and the rule of law. […] If we continue to allow these outstanding investigations and abuses to go unaddressed, people will lose faith in the institutions of the State and a country will not be able to achieve its security and development goals,” said Sonali Simarasinghe, widow of murdered Sri Lankan journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge, in one of the testimonials featured in the campaign.

UNESCO’s efforts joined with those of many other actors calling to end impunity for crimes against journalists, with the Twitter hashtag #EndImpunity reaching 140 million potential impressions in one week.

My Killers Are Still Free was widely shared in social media by UN agencies, media development organizations and media leaders from around the world, reaching approximately 300K users in Facebook, 650K impressions in Twitter and 70K impressions in Instagram

The International Day to End Impunity and the My Killers Are Still campaign together received coverage from at least 250 newspapers around the world.

The Organization’s message cautioning on the danger of impunity to the right to know was reinforced by an Op-Ed by Frank La Rue, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, which was published by over 40 media outlets.

In total, 32 events were organized worldwide by UNESCO and partners for this third edition of IDEI, through which UNESCO sought to keep the memory alive of killed media workers and to reinforce the call to resolve the crimes against them.

Albana Shala re-elected Chair of IPDC

Tue, 22/11/2016 - 15:18

Ms Shala (The Netherlands), who became the first woman Chair of the Programme at the 29th Council session, was praised by Council members for her success in chairing the IPDC since 2014.

With over 15 years of experience in the independent media development field, Ms. Shala is an expert in areas including media training and development, media and communication strategies and advocacy for media freedoms, gender equality and journalists’ safety. She is currently Programme Coordinator at Free Press Unlimited, a Dutch NGO supporting independent media in more than 40 countries.

The IPDC Council also elected Ecuador, Mongolia and Zambia, as Vice-Chairpersons of the Programme as well as Denmark, Oman, and Poland as Bureau members. Niger was further elected for the position of Rapporteur.

The Council of the IPDC meets once every two years to reflect on the latest trends in the media development field and decide on future action. The next Council session will be held on 15-16 November 2018.

The power of gender-transformative media development projects

Mon, 21/11/2016 - 15:27

As recalled by Ms Gülser Corat, UNESCO Director of the Division for Gender Equality, gender equality is one of UNESCO's two global priorities, with a commitment to promote equality between women and men across the Organization's mandate. It is recognized both as an important end in itself and as an essential means for the achievement of sustainable development in all its dimensions.

Ms Annette Young, France 24 journalist and presenter, explained that, due to their transformational nature, media tend to create and strengthen gender stereotypes. Mainly managed by men, women are poorly represented in the world of television and news in general. “A BBC report published in October 2016, illustrates how empowering women in the media is essential to overcome gender inequalities in society at large”, she said.

Other guests included Ms Misako Ito, UNESCO Advisor for Communication and Information in the Bangkok Office, and Mr Elvis Michel Kenmoe, UNESCO CI Officer in Gabon Office, who presented examples of successful gender transformative projects from their respective regions.

The discussion was welcomed by IPDC Council Member States who reflected on possible ways to place more emphasis on gender-transformative projects and to position gender equality and women’s empowerment at the center of IPDC’s media development agenda.

30th session of IPDC Council to open tomorrow

Wed, 16/11/2016 - 11:53

The 30th Council session will see representatives from its 39 UNESCO Member States come together to discuss the overall direction of the Programme, its priories and assess its achievements during the past biennium.

Among the diverse topics included in the agenda, the Council is expected to debate gender-transformative approaches to media development, the impact of the Programme’s monitoring and reporting mechanism on the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity and the overall Programme’s contribution to the 2030 development agenda.

The UNESCO Director-General Report on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity will also be formally presented to Council members. The report offers an overview of the killings of journalists condemned by the Director-General in 2014-2015 and an analysis of a decade of killings of journalists, media workers and social media producers between 2006 and 2015.

The Council of the IPDC meets once every two years to reflect on the latest trends in the media development field and decide on future action. The 29th Council meeting was held on 20 and 21 November 2014.

Scholars should help make the internet more human-centred

Wed, 26/10/2016 - 19:16

Mr La Rue, who spoke via a video message, argued: “UNESCO has been promoting the idea of a universal internet which respects people’s human rights, is open, affords everyone accessibility and is subject to a governance system based on multistakeholder participation.”

Agreeing with La Rue, Canadian ambassador to UNESCO, Elaine Ayotte, echoed the notion of a multistakeholder internet as key to the democratic potential of the internet.

In this regard, she applauded the support UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) provides to media projects promoting freedom of expression and safety on the internet.

The Orbicom conference is an annual gathering which started in Paris in 2012 under the aegis of UNESCO, bringing together UNESCO Chairs and associate members in communication to reflect on how the Orbicom network could contribute towards UNESCO’s work in the area of communication and information. It has since been held in Rabat (Morocco), Bordeaux (France), and Mexico (Mexico).

The philosophy underpinning these meetings, observed Orbicom President, Bertrand Cabedoche, is to ‘act as a think tank to respond both to UNESCO’s need for scholarly reflection to inform its work and the research objectives of individual Chairholders.’

Attracting over 100 participants, the colloquium, which will run for three days, is being hosted by the UNESCO Chair for Information and Communication Sciences, Guislaine Azémard, who is based at the University of Paris 8.

 

Click here for more information on the colloquium.

 

IPDC Talks celebrate the first-ever International Day for Universal Access to Information

Fri, 30/09/2016 - 15:49
UNESCO marked the first International Day for Universal Access to Information with a prior event organized by the Organisation’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC). Held on 26 September, two days before #AccessToInfoDay, the IPDCTalks was a day-long event themed “Powering sustainable development with public access to information”.

President of Ghana John Dramani Mahama addresses UNESCO on #AccessToInfoDay

Mon, 26/09/2016 - 20:01

In the keynote closing address, Ghana’s president HE John Dramani Mahama, said that open societies offered more sustainable progress to sustainable development than open ones.

“Information empowers people and as much info as possible on the SDGs should be made available to citizens,” he added.

The President urged media to go beyond political coverage to include issues such as gender equality and climate change.

Heralding Ghana’s media free and pluralistic landscape, he quipped: “In Ghana, we have 27 million presidents who know how to do my job and they say so on radio.”

The President expressed the wish to complete the process of passing Ghana’s freedom of information bill, so that the public had a legal basis to demand information. After his speech, a bilateral meeting was held with UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova (see below).

Earlier the UNESCO Director-General opened the IPDCtalks saying that “access to information is a fundamental  human  right, it is  part  of  what makes us human, it is a foundation for good governance”. She called for the information revolution to be a development revolution.

Remarks were also made by Frank la Rue Assistant Director General for Communication and Information at UNESCO. “Access to information is no longer only the basis of democracy but is also now seen as the basis of sustainable development,” he affirmed.

During the day, many speakers gave vivid descriptions of the challenges that ordinary people faced in the areas of the SDGs, bringing to light the role of awareness-raising about the UN’s new development agenda.

Organizer of the event was the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), in association with the Information for All Programme (IFAP). Support came from the delegations of the Netherlands and Lithuania.

In an innovative format, each speaker appeared on a spot-lit stage individually, telling stories about their work. Their experience ranged from promoting information about menstruation to education policy makers, through to the role of videogames in supporting literacy for Syrian children unable to attend school.

In the process, they covered SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11 and 13, dealing with poverty, hunger, health, water, innovation, cities, climate change, growth and jobs. The speeches will be posted on online for further dissemination.

The Day’s proceedings included the launch of exhibitions by Sweden and Finland, marking the 250 years since their shared history gave the world the first freedom of information act.

UNESCO’s 195 Member States approved 28 September as International Day for Universal Access to Information in December last year. The step came in response to calls from African civil society and media groups.

Nigeria, Morocco and Angola initiated the resolution which won support from the other Member States for proclaiming the new day on the international calendar.

In a bilateral meeting held in the context of the #AccessToInfoDay, the Director-General of UNESCO and the President of Ghana discussed issues of migration of stability and violent extremism in the Sahel Bert. The Director General informed about her recent visit to Sahel, while the President of Ghana underlined the impact of climate change in the region, with the lowering of rainfalls causing migration towards the south, and fights between warlords and farmers. Both emphasized the need to strengthen capacities of governments to implement the Sustainable Development Agenda, both a development issue and an imperative for peace.

Interest in IPDC media project support surges

Wed, 07/09/2016 - 12:11

Over 180 applicants have submitted proposals, representing an increase of over 90 on last year’s submissions which stood at only 88 project proposals.

The requested support for these proposals is estimated at over US$6,651,000, in contrast to last year’s US$3,000,000. The average cost of each project proposal is US$37,000, although IPDC currently can contribute only between US$10,000 and US$35,000 of the total project cost of projects approved for support.

The IPDC encourages applicants to seek counterpart funding as a way of broadening the sustainability base and building strategic partnerships for effective project implementation.

Of all the proposals submitted, over 70 are from Africa, reinforcing UNESCO’s Global Priority Africa. A key feature of several of the projects submitted is a focus on Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. These range from how to build capacity for effective climate change journalism in Oman and Sudan, countering ethnocentric and religious extremism in Ethiopia and Myanmar, to enhancing the sustainability of community broadcasting in Uganda and Zambia.

Several other proposals call for greater protection of the safety of journalists, such as in Afghanistan, Yemen, Vietnam, and other countries in transition.

The IPDC Bureau, which approves grants to such proposals, will sit in March 2017.

IPDC Chair, Albana Shala, has pointed to this surge in media project support interest as a unique feature of the IPDC in responding to bottom-up media development solutions which complement the Programme’s normative work on media development and safety of journalists.

The IPDC is the cradle of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, and the origination of the UNESCO Media Development Indicators which promote free, pluralistic and independent media.

Ms Shala said the increased applications show confidence and interest in IPDC as a delivery mechanism for media development, and urged UNESCO’s Member States to increase their contributions to the Programme as a response to this opportunity to make impact on the role of media in advancing the 2030 Development Agenda.

UNESCO publishes report on safety of Journalists in Nepal

Fri, 02/09/2016 - 16:49

The study finds that there is significant decrease in reported cases of violence and threats against journalists in recent years, and stakeholders widely consider that the security situation of journalists in terms of physical safety has improved.

However, one journalist killing took place in 2015, and many cases of threats against journalists go unreported. Journalists perceive that they are prone to be victimised by both State and non-State actors, and the prolonged political transition has further complicated their security situation.

Impunity has been very serious concern of the stakeholders, as prompt, independent and efficient investigations of crimes against journalists have not been ensured. The faith of journalists in State agencies including the criminal and civil justice system is diminishing.

Moreover, journalists are in highly vulnerable condition. Nearly half of the journalists do not have any appointment letter or contract from their employers, and the journalism profession in Nepal is characterized by low wages, irregular payments, poor working conditions, as well as declining credibility among the public. Women journalists, already a small minority within the profession, are in an even more vulnerable position than their male colleagues, faced with problems like exclusion and harassment.

Though journalists’ safety is becoming an agenda of national interest, a common understanding of the stakeholders on the issue, as well as a national strategy to identify targets and role-players responsible for journalist safety issues, are still lacking.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has the legal authority to protect human rights, including instances of freedom expression violations. It can conduct investigations and recommend action. However, the role of NHRC is yet to be effective for the promotion of journalists’ safety, the Study finds.

Various local stakeholders have already been collaborating on safety issues in various respects. Especially through UNESCO, the UN system within Nepal has been playing a significant role to monitor and share information about journalists’ safety issues, though there is room for improvement. For instance, the project ‘Increasing the Safety for Journalists’ supported by the United Nations Peace Fund (UNPF) has contributed significantly.

A number of international organisations such as International Media Support are also working in Nepal to promote safety issues in the country. The organisations have been supporting local efforts to promote safety.

The study was conducted by SODEC-Nepal, in consultation with UNESCO. This activity was funded by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Programme on Development of Communication (IPDC) which is a multilateral forum which promotes a healthy environment for the growth of free and pluralistic media in developing countries.  

The report was developed through a multi-stakeholder engagement and consultation process that included a media stakeholders meeting held on 20 February 2015, and a second consultation meeting on 9 June 2015. A peer review exercise of the study was also carried out before its publication.

The UNESCO’s Journalists' Safety Indicators are developed within the context of the endorsement of the UN Plan of Action on Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. The research instrument pinpoints significant matters that impact upon the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity, providing a baseline of knowledge against which progress can be assessed.  

To download the publication in PDF format please click here.

UNESCO publishes report on safety of Journalists in Nepal

Fri, 02/09/2016 - 11:00

The study finds that there is significant decrease in reported cases of violence and threats against journalists in recent years, and stakeholders widely consider that the security situation of journalists in terms of physical safety has improved.

However, one journalist killing took place in 2015, and many cases of threats against journalists go unreported. Journalists perceive that they are prone to be victimised by both State and non-State actors, and the prolonged political transition has further complicated their security situation.

Impunity has been very serious concern of the stakeholders, as prompt, independent and efficient investigations of crimes against journalists have not been ensured. The faith of journalists in State agencies including the criminal and civil justice system is diminishing.

Moreover, journalists are in highly vulnerable condition. Nearly half of the journalists do not have any appointment letter or contract from their employers, and the journalism profession in Nepal is characterized by low wages, irregular payments, poor working conditions, as well as declining credibility among the public. Women journalists, already a small minority within the profession, are in an even more vulnerable position than their male colleagues, faced with problems like exclusion and harassment.

Though journalists’ safety is becoming an agenda of national interest, a common understanding of the stakeholders on the issue, as well as a national strategy to identify targets and role-players responsible for journalist safety issues, are still lacking.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has the legal authority to protect human rights, including instances of freedom expression violations. It can conduct investigations and recommend action. However, the role of NHRC is yet to be effective for the promotion of journalists’ safety, the Study finds.

Various local stakeholders have already been collaborating on safety issues in various respects. Especially through UNESCO, the UN system within Nepal has been playing a significant role to monitor and share information about journalists’ safety issues, though there is room for improvement. For instance, the project ‘Increasing the Safety for Journalists’ supported by the United Nations Peace Fund (UNPF) has contributed significantly.

A number of international organisations such as International Media Support are also working in Nepal to promote safety issues in the country. The organisations have been supporting local efforts to promote safety.

The study was conducted by SODEC-Nepal, in consultation with UNESCO. This activity was funded by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Programme on Development of Communication (IPDC) which is a multilateral forum which promotes a healthy environment for the growth of free and pluralistic media in developing countries.  

The report was developed through a multi-stakeholder engagement and consultation process that included a media stakeholders meeting held on 20 February 2015, and a second consultation meeting on 9 June 2015. A peer review exercise of the study was also carried out before its publication.

The UNESCO’s Journalists' Safety Indicators are developed within the context of the endorsement of the UN Plan of Action on Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. The research instrument pinpoints significant matters that impact upon the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity, providing a baseline of knowledge against which progress can be assessed.  

To download the publication in PDF format please click here.