IN FOCUS ARTICLES - 2012
Onwards and upwards: Communication and information in 2013
A number of national, regional and international events related to communication and information have been planned for 2013 both by UNESCO Headquarters and field offices.
UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize 2013
UNESCO invites Member States, as well as regional and international organizations and professional and non-governmental organizations working in the field of journalism and freedom of expression, to nominate candidates for next year’s UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. Named in honour of Guillermo Cano Isaza, an assassinated Colombian journalist, the Prize is intended to honour a person, organization or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to the defence and/or promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world, especially when this has been achieved in the face of danger. Next year’s Prize will be awarded on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, on 3 May 2013.
Shaping a gender-equal world through the media
UNESCO’s commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment is pursued through gender-specific programming and gender mainstreaming with action in all of its fields of competence. UNESCO’s Communication and Information Sector has engaged globally in a wide range of gender-specific initiatives. The two perspectives, equality between women and men working in the media, and equality in news reporting on women and men, are of equal importance.
The Syrian Hour: UNESCO supports radio programme for Syrian refugees in North Jordan
The first live episode of the bi-weekly radio programme, Al-Sa'a Al-Suriyya - The Syrian hour, was broadcasted on Yarmouk FM 105.7, on Wednesday 14 November 2012. The programme is part of a project that aims at providing an information and communication platform for Syrian refugees in the northern part of Jordan, including Irbid and surrounding areas, for the dissemination of information on relief services available to them, their rights and duties, in addition to various types of counseling. A high number of Syrian refugees who fled to Jordan still lack awareness about their protection rights and support services available to their attention such as food-assistance, education, health, or psychosocial support.
The safety of journalists: Why should you care?
More than 600 journalists and media workers have been killed in the last ten years. In other words, on average every week a journalist loses his or her life for bringing news and information to the public. To end violence against journalists and to combat impunity, the United Nations Chief Executives Board approved the first ever UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, in April 2012, in a process spearheaded by UNESCO. In order to advance the plan and produce concrete strategies, a second UN Inter-Agency Meeting was convened by UNESCO in Vienna, Austria, on 22 and 23 November 2012.
Tunisia, the road to democracy
The Tunisian Revolution, which culminated in the overthrow of the Ben Ali government on 14 January 2011, demonstrated the strength of the Tunisian people’s aspirations to enforce their rights. Today the country faces the challenge of democratic transition. The first elections post-revolution, held on 23 October 2011, helped to elect representatives of the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) charged with drafting the new Tunisian Constitution. The construction of democracy, good governance and inclusive development is just beginning in this country that initiated the Arab Spring.
Karagwe celebrates five years of IPDC-supported community radio
FADECO community radio is celebrating its fifth anniversary since it started operating in 2007. Located in Kayanga town, in the Karagwe district of the United Republic of Tanzania, the radio was created after receiving basic equipment and training from UNESCO's Intergovernmental Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC). During its five years of operations, FADECO community radio has contributed to the development of the Karagwe region by offering a channel for community dialogue on development. In the area of agriculture, for example, it was the information broadcast on FADECO radio about higher coffee prices in neighboring Rwanda and Burundi that prompted Tanzanian coffee farmers to demand higher prices for their coffee.
Coming soon: The Treasures that Record our History
A new publication compiling documentary heritage items that are inscribed on the Memory of the World Register will be issued soon by UNESCO and HarperCollins. Documentary treasures from 1700 BC to the present day will be accompanied by background information about their worldwide significance and illustrated by high quality photographic materials. The book will be launched at the international conference on digitization and preservation (Vancouver, 26-28 September 2012). Documentary heritage in archives, libraries and museums constitutes a major part of the memory of peoples, and reflects the diversity of languages and cultures. UNESCO, through its Memory of the World Programme, promotes the preservation of this heritage for future generations and encourages universal access to it.
Memory of the World: Documenting against collective amnesia
We cannot construct our future, if we are unaware of our past. This conviction is the driving force of UNESCO’s International Conference on Preservation and Digitization, which will seek to develop strategies for preserving our heritage, now increasingly documented online, from 26 to 28 September 2012 in Vancouver (Canada). As digital technology has become the primary means of knowledge creation and transmission, the vulnerability of documentary heritage in digital form is a major source of concern. All it takes is a few clicks to summon before one’s eyes an infinite number of testaments to humanity’s past, such as documents, sound recordings, films, videos, and photos.
Media and Information Literacy for Knowledge Societies
From 24 to 28 June 2012 130 participants from 40 countries representing all continents gathered for the International Conference on Media and Information Literacy (MIL) for Knowledge Societies in Moscow, Russian Federation. The Conference objectives were to raise public awareness, identify key challenges, outline policies and strategies, and propose possible responses to crucial MIL issues. One of the major outcomes of the Conference was the Moscow Declaration on Media and Information Literacy, calling governments, information and media professionals, educators and researchers, public and private organizations, and other stakeholders to take into consideration the twelve recommendations concerning the Media and Information Literacy concept and strategic framework.
Open Educational Resources Congress passes historic declaration
This June, Ministers of Education, senior policy makers, expert practitioners, researchers and relevant stakeholders from around the world gathered for the 2012 World Open Educational Resources (OER) Congress at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris to pass the 2012 Paris OER Declaration. The Declaration marks a historic moment in the growing movement for Open Educational Resources and calls on governments worldwide to openly license publicly funded educational materials for public use. The conference showcased innovative policies and initiatives that demonstrate the potential of OER to improve communities.
Reporting science of climate change in South Africa
South Africa's Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and the Applied Centre for Climate and Earth Systems Science (ACCESS) hosted the first in a series of workshops for scientists and journalists. The event aimed to inform the general public on science-related news that have an impact on their and the planet’s future. The workshop, titled “Reporting the science of climate change” took place in Pretoria, South Africa, from 4 to 5 June 2012. It focused on climate change science, as well as on key risks to Southern Africa, national and regional response strategies, and particularly on how best to communicate complex information to the general public.
UNESCO gives voices to minorities in Mongolia
Launching a second channel of the Mongolian Public Broadcaster (MNB) targeting minorities, enhancing the capacity of printing facilities for publications in minority languages, and supporting the establishment of ten community radio stations in remote areas are some of the major achievements related to communication and information that have been presented during an experience-sharing workshop recently held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
MOWCAP 5 celebrates in the land of smiles
Gathering in Thailand, the “land of smiles”, delegates to the Asia Pacific Regional Committee of UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme (MOWCAP) celebrated the addition of four new inscriptions to the Asia Pacific Register at a ceremony in Bangkok on 16 May. They included the first documentary heritage from Papua New Guinea and Tibet, a precious collection of woodblocks of Buddhist sutras in Vietnam, and “letters to home” from the Chinese diaspora which spread across the region in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Empowering the unheard through press freedom in South Asia
World Press Freedom Day 2012 was celebrated in India with a conference on the theme, Rural Voices: Unheard to Empowered, jointly organized by UNESCO, the Institute of Rural Research and Development (IRRAD) and Sesame Workshop India Trust. Held in Gurgaon, at the IRRAD complex, the event brought together over 150 participants from media organizations, professional bodies, development agencies, the government, academia, and civil society organizations.
Improving human rights reporting in Timor-Leste
The year 2012 is an important milestone in the transition of Timor-Leste towards democracy. The country has just gone through presidential elections, the new parliament will be elected in June, and the United Nations Integrated Mission, deployed in Timor-Leste after its independence, is coming to an end. As media are indispensable elements for the consolidation of democracy, UNESCO helps build capacities of Timorese journalists and equip them with skills necessary to report on human rights issues.
Tunisia: UNESCO supports associative radio in Gafsa
Located in an apartment with hazardous lighting in an unfinished building, the Voix des Mines (Voice of the Mines) radio in Gafsa (350 kilometres south of Tunis) is a new experience in Tunisia. It is one of the few associative radio stations in the country, a type of media that is still struggling to emerge between public and private media. Gafsa’s Voix des Mines radio started on the Internet in February 2011 with a group of half a dozen citizen journalists, only a few weeks after the revolution that brought down the former regime of President Ben Ali. The radio is now enjoying a new boom with the support of UNESCO and the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC).