UNESCO hosts international conference in support of Tunisian and Egyptian broadcast media
Following the tremendous social and political changes that have swept across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, UNESCO has teamed up with France Télévisions and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to host an international conference in support of broadcast media in Tunisia and Egypt.
Scheduled for 31 May at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, the conference has a two-pronged objective: to raise awareness of the actual and potential needs of broadcast media in the two countries and to elaborate a strategy for assistance, and to discuss ways of fostering editorially independent public service broadcasting.
Speaking about the conference, Jānis Kārkliņ, UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, noted: "Clearly, the Arab Spring has brought in its wake a realisation that the MENA region needs all the cooperation and support it can get to develop and nurture a free, independent and pluralistic media system. UNESCO, working with its partners, is in a position to make a substantial contribution in this regard."
"For example," added Kārkliņ, "we have already undertaken initial assessments of the changing media landscapes in the two countries, to understand how each one of them measures up to the internationally recognized Media Development Indicators that UNESCO developed several years ago."
The international conference is set to bring together regional broadcasting unions, international intergovernmental organisations and national development agencies, professional organizations, regulatory bodies as well as national media institutions.
The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, is expected to officially open the conference. She will highlight the urgent need for the international community to mobilise resources in support of Tunisia and Egypt as a way of nurturing the budding democratic aspirations of the two countries.
Other speakers will include the President of France Télévisions, Rémy Pflimlin; the Vice-President of the European Parliament, Rodi Kratsa; the President of the European Broadcasting Union, Jean-Paul Philippot; and the Director-General of the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU), Slaheddine Maaoui.
Also scheduled to speak are high-level representatives of the Tunisian Television Corporation, Tunisian Radio and Egyptian Radio and Television Union.
The conference presents an opportune moment for UNESCO and its partners to promote the development of free, independent and pluralistic media in the MENA region.
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