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Building Peace in the Minds of Men and Women
Updated: 29 min 47 sec ago

Ancient Asian philosophy to feature in review of ASEAN journalism education

Mon, 14/12/2015 - 15:55

An upcoming meeting in Bangkok will address this need by bringing together communication scholars, media practitioners and philosophers from throughout Asia for a two-day discussion on revising the curriculum for journalism education in the region.

The meeting, which will be held on 14-15 December at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University, will draw from UNESCO’s Model Curricula for Journalism Education, while also examining how Asia’s age-old philosophical teachings can be integrated into course materials. The meeting falls under the wider project, “Mindful communication for ASEAN Integration”, approved and funded by the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).

The aim of this initiative is to develop course materials and train the trainers to implement a newly reviewed curriculum for journalism education in ASEAN.

The project is unique in that it aims to achieve this by incorporating Asian philosophical teachings of Buddhism, Hinduism and Confucianism which promote harmony, protection of the environment, respect for cultural diversity and economic models that focus on self-sufficiency.

These teachings are both timeless and timely in the context of developing communication theories in the context of the AEC. Media will play an important role in facilitating and promoting regional integration and journalists need to shift their focus to a more regional perspective, with less emphasis on conflicts. New approaches must also be taken to reporting on economic, environmental and developmental issues to ensure that ASEAN’s needs, regional priorities and its historical experiences into account.

The two-day meeting will bring together communication scholars, media practitioners and philosophers from Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Republic of Korea, Lao PDR, Cambodia, Malaysia and Singapore to present papers and share ideas with the aim to develop a new journalism education curriculum tailored in ASEAN. A core team of scholars will draw on the seminar’s outcomes to develop a web-based curriculum and resource materials to be used in trainings of journalism teachers from Southeast Asia starting in early 2016.

The IPDC is the only multilateral forum in the UN system designed to mobilize the international community to discuss and promote media development in developing countries. The programme not only provides support for media projects but also seeks an accord to secure a healthy environment for the growth of free and pluralistic media in developing countries.

Go beyond COP21, UNESCO urges Russian journalists

Fri, 04/12/2015 - 14:52

This was the key message that Fackson Banda, a programme specialist in the Secretariat of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), delivered to a group of 15 Russian journalists and representatives of a Franco-Russian think tank Destination Est.

“Climate change journalism is investigative journalism, but with an explicit focus on climate change mitigation and adaptation,” Banda told the journalists who are in France at the invitation of Destination Est to report on the COP21 proceedings which got underway on 30 November and are widely expected to culminate in a form of agreement that will limit greenhouse gas emissions to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Banda highlighted UNESCO’s support to media over the years, including its hosting of the International Conference on Broadcast Media and Climate Change in 2009 as well as its publication of Climate Change in Africa: A Guidebook for Journalists in 2013.

“Another important milestone in UNESCO’s effort to help media report on climate change from a multidisciplinary perspective,” explained Banda, “can be seen in how UNESCO, through the IPDC, has supported hundreds of projects in developing countries where news media need greater capacity to authoritatively and comprehensively report on this multifaceted global phenomenon.”

Cooperation with Destination Est represents one of several strategic partnerships in which UNESCO is attempting to support a broad-based journalistic response to COP21 outcomes. Other forms of cooperation have included UNESCO’s support for the French Agency for Media Cooperation (CFI), which has brought a cohort of African and Asian journalists to report on COP21, following training sessions based on UNESCO’s guidebook above.

Some of these journalists, along with others from Internews, are expected to participate in a media breakfast on 7 December at the UNESCO Headquarters as part of a joint event with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Journalists will be introduced to the key findings of the latest IPCC Assessment Report (AR5), among other things.

Training on UNESCO’s Media Development Indicators (MDI) in Thailand: Call for Applications

Thu, 03/12/2015 - 15:33

UNESCO’s MDIs embrace five major categories: a) legal and regulatory framework; b) plurality and diversity of media; c) media as a platform for democratic discourse; d) professional capacity building; and e) infrastructural capacity. They are available in different languages, including Thai (see MDI publication)

The objectives of the training are to:

  • enhance the capacities of policy-makers, media professionals and representatives of civil society organizations in international standards and good practices in the field of media development and media policies;
  • present UNESCO’s MDIs to researchers, journalism school teachers and media development partners in order to encourage research in this field based on a comprehensive, internationally recognized framework for assessing the media landscape in Thailand;
  • use the MDIs as a reference for exploring how international standards and good practices can be incorporated into media policy formulation in Thailand.

Interested candidates are invited to send their application form together with a CV by 15 December 2015 to: c.mairesse(at)unesco.org

Further details are included in the concept note and application form below.

This project is organised with the support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

>> Please click here for more information on the training.

Academia and students discuss outcomes of UNESCO study on media development in Jordan

Mon, 30/11/2015 - 17:37

The UNESCO “Support to Media in Jordan” project team has recently initiated a dialogue with universities in Jordan to engage academia and students in on the outcomes of the assessment which was done using UNESCO’s Media Development Indicators (MDIs).

The MDIs are an internationally recognised research tool endorsed by the Member States of UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).

The dialogue with Jordanian universities on the MDI study aims to explore the use of the study as a reference resource in media faculties.

Besides the engagement with the Middle East University (MEU), the research team of the study and the project team earlier visited Yarmouk University in the city of Irbid.

During each of the 2-hour sessions, students, professors and the MDI research team exchanged ideas on the way forward in light of the recent developments in the media sector in Jordan.

Students and professors at Yarmouk University were eager to know the researchers’ opinion on the implications on media freedom in times of regional turmoil, while the discussion at MEU focused more on recent regulations concerning news websites.

With its media department established in 1980, Yarmouk University was the first university to offer an undergraduate programme journalism in Jordan, and it remains the only public university teaching journalism (at BA and MA level). MEU’s media department was launched in 2005 and MEU was the first Jordanian university to offer journalism at post-graduate level.

The MDI study for Jordan was published in September 2015 as part of the first phase of the EU-funded “Support to Media in Jordan” project. The full report and more information on the project can be accessed here: www.stmjo.com/en.

Promoting cross-cultural dialogue among Myanmar ethnic media groups

Thu, 26/11/2015 - 15:50

Online media draw on extensive news-gathering operations using sources from a variety of media such as Facebook, blogs and Twitter, and is becoming a powerful tool for promoting freedom of expression in the digital era, especially in the countries in transition.

The IPDC project “Online media for peace” was initiated with the aim of establishing an online media that can serve as a platform for sharing and exchanging news and information among Myanmar ethnic media groups.

The activities of the project included not only creating an online media platform but also editorial trainings for 32 ethnic media professionals in Myanmar, including reporters, journalists and editors, in Yangon in December 2014, and in Mandalay in January 2015.

In order to examine the expected results and the impacts of the project, an informal evaluation has been conducted by UNESCO’s Office in Bangkok in October 2015, using a variety of methods for data collection such as online survey with editorial training participants, interviews with key stakeholders and desk research.

The evaluation found that the project resulted in the achievement of several expected results. In particular, most of survey respondents stated that editorial trainings were very useful and relevant for them in engaging with the online media platforms. Mr Nai Kasauh Mon, the Director of production at BNI, stressed in his interview: “We heard very positive feedback from participants after two editorial trainings, and this experience allowed us to communicate more effectively than ever fostering our strong network.”

Two websites in English and Burmese were also created by BNI, along with a Facebook page. At present, the Facebook page has more than 20,000 subscribers and websites are also well-run under the management of BNI. One survey respondent mentioned: “I felt that I contribute to the intercultural dialogue when I discuss ethnic conflict issues like Shanni and Kachin, Rohingya and Arakan on the website. I wish I could have more interactions with other ethnic media groups in the future.”

However, the evaluation also highlighted ongoing challenges like low engagement of training participants on the websites, despite their high satisfaction on the trainings and the challenging media environments in the country as a whole in order for the ethnic media to actively contribute to online exchange.

Based on the findings, three main recommendations were made. Firstly, strengthening a connection between trainings and the websites by setting a clear criteria for selecting training participants. Secondly, having an in-house translator at BNI in order to facilitate translation and enhance quality journalism content online. Lastly, promoting the active use of social media for a greater interactive exchange of information and news among ethnic media groups, as well as international audiences.

The IPDC is the only multilateral forum in the UN system designed to mobilize the international community to discuss and promote media development in developing countries. The Programme not only provides support for media projects but also seeks an accord to secure a healthy environment for the growth of free and pluralistic media in developing countries.

Supporting safety of journalists in Pakistan

Thu, 29/10/2015 - 16:26

The discussants examined the issues raised in the draft of a new study covering journalists' safety and the problem of impunity in the country. The research is based on specialized indicators developed through UNESCO's Intergovernmental Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).

Mapping the UN Plan of Action on the safety of journalists, the draft study looks at the role of international organizations, state institutions, civil society, academia and media organizations.

These different groups were present in the deliberations and came from different regions of Pakistan as part of the validation and finalisation of the research.

Prominent speakers included Neil Buhne, UN Resident coordinator; Murtaza Khan, brother of murdered journalist Wali Babar Khan; Khashish ur Rahman from the Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights; Cesar Guedes who is country Director for UNODC; and journalist Hamid Mir who survived an assassination attempt.

The draft report, compiled under contract with NGO Irada, will be completed by the end of November, based on the feedback at the workshop. It will provide a baseline against which changes in the efforts to protect journalists can be measured over the next two years.

Other events will be held in Pakistan to promote an end to impunity, including a candlelit vigil in Islamabad by Media Matters and Bytesforall, with the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists. The Rural Media Network Project will host a seminar in with the Press Club in Sadiqabad.

Supporting safety of journalists in Pakistan

Thu, 29/10/2015 - 16:26

The discussants examined the issues raised in the draft of a new study covering journalists' safety and the problem of impunity in the country. The research is based on specialized indicators developed through UNESCO's Intergovernmental Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).

Mapping the UN Plan of Action on the safety of journalists, the draft study looks at the role of international organizations, state institutions, civil society, academia and media organizations.

These different groups were present in the deliberations and came from different regions of Pakistan as part of the validation and finalisation of the research.

Prominent speakers included Neil Buhne, UN Resident coordinator; Murtaza Khan, brother of murdered journalist Wali Babar Khan; Khashish ur Rahman from the Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights; Cesar Guedes who is country Director for UNODC; and journalist Hamid Mir who survived an assassination attempt.

The draft report, compiled under contract with NGO Irada, will be completed by the end of November, based on the feedback at the workshop. It will provide a baseline against which changes in the efforts to protect journalists can be measured over the next two years.

Other events will be held in Pakistan to promote an end to impunity, including a candlelit vigil in Islamabad by Media Matters and Bytesforall, with the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists. The Rural Media Network Project will host a seminar in with the Press Club in Sadiqabad.