21.03.2012 - UNESCO

Upcoming IPDC Council session to focus on safety of journalists, and gender and media

Uva Community Radio, Sri Lanka - © UNESCO

The Intergovernmental Council of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) will meet for its 28th session on 22 and 23 March 2012 at UNESCO Headquarters.

The agenda of the meeting includes the examination of a report on IPDC’s activities during the last biennium, the presentation of the biennial report of the Director-General on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity, and the presentation for endorsement of a UN-wide Plan of Action on this issue. In addition, the IPDC Council is organizing a thematic debate on “Gender and Media: Getting the Balance Right”, which will include a presentation of the newly elaborated UNESCO Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media. Finally, the award ceremony of the UNESCO-IPDC Prize for Rural Communication will take place at the end of the first day of the meeting.

The report by UNESCO’s Director-General on “The Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity” will be discussed on 22 March (11.30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Paris time). In the last two years, the Director-General condemned the killings of 127 journalists – 65 of which occurred in 2010 and 62 in 2011. The UN Plan of Action, aimed at ensuring the safety of journalists, contains measures such as the establishment of coordinated inter-agency mechanisms and assistance to countries in developing legislation favourable to freedom of expression and information, and in implementing existing international rules and principles. The discussion will involve a panel composed of three members of institutions specialized in freedom of expression: Article 19, the Doha Center for Media Freedom and the International Press Institute (IPI).

The thematic debate on “Gender and Media: Getting the Balance Right”, which will take place on 23 March (10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Paris time), will bring together stakeholders and Member States to discuss how to mainstream gender in media, based on the draft UNESCO Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media. This set of indicators, developed by UNESCO in cooperation with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), aims at measuring both equality between men and women working in the media; and gender equality in news reporting. The debate will be streamed live.

The ceremony of the UNESCO-IPDC Prize for Rural Communication (22 March, 5 p.m.) will honour the winners of this year’s edition: the Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists and the Kenyan Arid Lands Information Network. The UNESCO-IPDC Prize for Rural Communication is intended to recognize a meritorious and innovative activity in improving communication in rural communities, chiefly in the developing countries. By rural communication, UNESCO means not only information on rural issues, but communication processes that contribute to the development of rural communities, empowering people and giving them a voice to participate in their own development.

The Council session also involves a presentation of the evaluations carried out on selected IPDC projects, a discussion on the UNESCO/IPDC Media Development Indicators and the official launch of the new IPDC projects database, which contains comprehensive information on the objectives and implementation of all approved IPDC projects.

During the meeting, eight new members of the IPDC Bureau will be elected by the Intergovernmental Council which comprises 39 Member States elected by UNESCO’s General Conference.

Unique in the United Nations system, the IPDC Programme was created in 1980 with the aim of expanding opportunities for free and independent media in developing countries. In three decades, IPDC has channeled almost US$ 100 million to some 1500 media development projects in more than 140 countries.

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