24.04.2012 - UNESCO

World Press Freedom Day in Palestine: Strengthening Legal and Ethical Standards in a New Media Landscape

Media professionals in Gaza receive protective vests and helmets distributed by UNESCO - © UNESCO

A one-day seminar to commemorate World Press Day will be held at the Birzeit University´s Law Institute in the West Bank on 2 May, and a second one will take place at the premises of Birzeit University´s Media Development Center in Gaza on 10 May. These local commemorations of World Press Freedom Day will focus on the theme “Legal and Ethical Framework for Journalism in Palestine: Challenges in a New Media Environment”. They are being organized by the Media Development Centre at Birzeit University with the support of UNESCO and Canal France International.

Palestinian journalists work in a volatile context characterized by especially difficult circumstances. On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day (WPFD), key actors in the media field will be brought together to raise awareness about the obstacles to freedom of expression in Palestine. They will discuss how to strengthen the legal and regulatory framework to ensure the respect of the rights of journalists and bloggers, guaranteeing their judiciary protection and taking into consideration emerging issues in an increasingly interconnected and fast evolving media landscape. Also at the core of the debate will be the promotion of ethical journalistic standards, and self-regulation mechanisms created and followed voluntarily by media professionals.

Journalists and bloggers; media outlets owners, editors and managers; representatives of professional associations; academics and students; civil society practitioners; officials from local and international public institutions are expected to join the discussions in the West Bank and Gaza.

Key media stakeholders have contributed to the development of the agenda of the celebration of World Press Freedom Day in Palestine, including WAFA news agency, Ma’an news agency, Palestine TV, I’lam Media Center in Nazareth, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate in Ramallah and the Government Media Center.

Speakers at the event in the West Bank will include renowned international and local media experts like Toby Mendel, Executive Director of the Centre for Law and Democracy (Canada); Aref Hijjawi, former Head of Programmes at Al Jazeera (Qatar); Raed Othman, Director of Ma’an News Agency (Palestine); Waleed Shurafa, Head of the Media Department at Birzeit University (Palestine), and Ghasan Al-Khataib, Director of the Government Media Centre (Palestine).

The concept note prepared by Birzeit University's Media Development Center for WPFD in Palestine is available here, and the agenda for the event in the West Bank can be accessed here. More information about the seminar in Gaza will be made available soon.  

UNESCO is supporting the WPFD celebrations in the West Bank and Gaza within the framework of a broader agreement with Canal France International focused on supporting media in countries in transition or affected by conflict.




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