IN FOCUS ARTICLES - 2015

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South Sudan media stakeholders appeal for decriminalization of defamation in media laws

A two-day conference held in Juba to mark International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (2 November), has recommended decriminalization of defamation as is contained in the South Sudan 2013 Media Authority Act. It also appealed to the government to speed up investigation of the seven journalists killed in South Sudan, with a view to end impunity on crimes against journalists and eliminate the country’s rating on global impunity index. The conference was organized by the South Sudan media sector thematic working group on Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, which is convened by UNESCO and co-chaired by the Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS) and the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO).

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Empowering people in South East Europe to make use of their Press Council

Democracy requires a well-informed and pluralistic public sphere. This is connected to media striving for truth, unbiased and high‐quality reporting. The level of participation and engagement of citizens in the society is shaped by the ability of the media to awaken and maintain their interest in a variety of issues. Civil society also has a large role to play in holding the media accountable. But how can civil society perform this role? One way is through being able to distinguish low-quality media outlets, and another is by lodging complaints to a media self-regulation mechanism, such a press council, when professional standards of journalism have been potentially breached.

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9th UNESCO Youth Forum: Building your own mobile apps for sustainable development

The UNESCO YouthMobile Initiative organized a series of presentations within the 2015 Youth Forum to highlight the potential of youth resolving issues of sustainable development through the development of locally, relevant mobile apps. The presentations highlighted the winner App concept of the OceanApp competition, youth-friendly mobile app development frameworks, and successful examples of youth training programmes from the Arab States and Africa, including the new “Searching for Martha” Project for empowering young African women.

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Supporting safety of journalists in Pakistan

Fifty participants joined a UNESCO workshop in Islamabad on Thursday in the build-up to the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists to be marked on 2 November. 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).

 

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Launch of the Media Development Indicators study for Jordan

More than 100 people from the media sector, the international community, the government and civil society came together on 8 September to launch UNESCO’s Report on Media Development in Jordan, based on the UNESCO/IPDC Media Development Indicators. "It is one of our best studies, if not the best," said Guy Berger, UNESCO Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development, during the event that took place at ‘Shams’ in old Amman. "We are pleased to present it to Jordanian stakeholders as a contribution to further develop the media as a key vehicle towards becoming a knowledge society.”

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Promoting gender equality through community media among refugees in Ethiopia

Ethiopia is one of the countries in Africa with the highest number of refugees. More than 630,000 refugees from Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan are accommodated in 23 refugee camps spread across the country. The Government maintains an open-door-policy and continues to allow humanitarian access and protection to those seeking refuge on its territory. The majority seeking refuge are women and children. Due to this demographic, within the refugee camps, gender based violence and women’s inequality remain preoccupations.

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UNESCO assessment of media councils in South East Europe

Media self-regulation involves the media being accountable for their work by voluntarily managing and monitoring their own professional standards. A system like this can help to build public trust in the media, which is particularly needed in the region of South East Europe. It can also empower journalists to be more resilient to informal economic and political pressures. Strengthening the capacities of media councils is part of a broad UNESCO strategy to promote media freedom and accountability in South East Europe.

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UNESCO empowers global youth to develop mobile applications for sustainable development

At a time when the world is looking for new ways to build peace and sustainable development, encouraging innovation and creativity of youth is vital for effectively addressing these challenges. UNESCO’s YouthMobile Initiative aims to empower youth with the high-level skills and confidence to create mobile apps that are locally-relevant and contribute to the reduction of chronic youth unemployment. The Organization launched a series of projects in a number of countries worldwide through its Field Office network. Among the projects are situation analysis reports (with a view to identifying and supporting locally driven relevant initiatives), training workshops and app competitions.

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WSIS Forum 2015: Harnessing ICT for sustainable development

This year’s WSIS Forum took place from 25 to 29 May in Geneva (Switzerland) under the theme “Innovating Together: Enabling ICTs for Sustainable Development”. It was organized by ITU, UNESCO, UNDP and UNCTAD. As 2015 is a turning point year when Members States will adopt a new Sustainable Development Agenda, all the sessions of the Forum contributed to establishing a link between ICT and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). As 2015 is a turning point year when Members States will adopt a new Sustainable Development Agenda, all the sessions of the Forum contributed to establishing a link between ICTs and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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UNESCO Celebrates Girls in ICT Day in East Africa through the uptake of Women in African History: An E-Learning Tool

In support of Girls in ICT day, UNESCO is rolling out its 2014 Gem-Tech award winning Open Educational Resource “Women in African History: An E-Learning Tool” across East Africa in partnership with Camara Education. Celebrated on the 4th Thursday in April of every year, International Girls in ICT Day is an initiative spearheaded by the ITU, UNESCO’s partner in the implementation of follow up to the World Summit on the Information Society.  The International Day aims to create a global environment that empowers and encourages girls and young women to consider careers in the growing field of information and communication technologies (ICTs).

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71 new media development projects to be financed by IPDC worldwide

UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register includes different testimonies of the Holocaust in which some six million Jews and millions of others died during the Nazi regime. Pages of Testimony Collection, Archives of the International Tracing Service, Diaries of Anne Frank, and Warsaw Ghetto Archives are the Memory of the World collections related to Holocaust. Special attention was given to media development projects submitted by Ebola-affected countries, such as Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

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Strengthening digital safety for journalists

Journalists fearing digital threats can now find a path between feeling either apathetic or immobilised, thanks to a new study by UNESCO titled Building digital safety for journalism: a survey of selected issues. The new report analyses and explains 12 key digital threats to journalism, ranging from hacking of journalistic communications, through to Denial-of-Service attacks on media websites. It takes an inclusive approach that is relevant to any actor who is in danger of being targeted for doing journalism. Indeed, many points made are also of direct relevance to human rights defenders in general and to people who are sources for journalists.

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South Sudan accelerates ICT in all sectors

The first South Sudan Information Communication Technology for Development Conference (ICT4D) was held in Juba, South Sudan culminating with key recommendations to accelerate the integration of ICTs in all the sectors of South Sudan. The three day conference from 25 – 27 February, 2015 brought together over 200 participants, including experts from other countries, all drawn from ICT organizations, academic institutions, senior government officials, IGOs, NGOs, private sector, civil society, diplomatic community, media practitioners, as well as bilateral and multilateral donors.