09.08.2016 - Communication and Information Sector

UNESCO supports the development of pluralistic and independent media in Latin America

Frank La Rue, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, UNESCO. © ANTV

UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information Frank La Rue attended an International Meeting of Parliamentarians held in Bogota, Colombia, last week. The meeting was co-organized by UNESCO’s Office in Quito in cooperation with local, regional and international partners under the theme: "Building an enabling environment for the development of pluralistic and independent media in Latin America".

Beatriz Quiñones, Colombian National Television Authority (ANTV). © ANTV

The International Meeting of Parliamentarians, which took place on 2 August, gathered parliamentarians (congressmen, congresswomen, senators) from the following countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, México, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. The event provided participants with an opportunity to discuss the key challenges to protect and promote freedom of expression in the region from a regulatory and legislative perspective.

After listening to the challenges being faced in the different countries of the region, Frank La Rue discussed how UNESCO could support its Member States to address these challenges.

Mr La Rue also indicated how important is the principle of diversity and plurality in media for achieving all Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). "The implementation of 2030 agenda, particularly SDG 16, is an incredible opportunity to address key challenges that were discussed with parliamentarians coming from several Latin American countries," he said.

"As UNESCO is already providing its support to the Judiciary Systems of Latin America, we are open to discuss a similar initiative with the Legislative Branches, always with the main goal of fostering the protection and promotion of freedom of expression, freedom of information and press freedom in the region," stated Frank La Rue.

International Meeting of Parliamentarians, Bogota, Colombia, August 2016. © ANTV

Co-organizers of the meeting in Bogota included the Colombian Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications, the Colombian National Television Authority (ANTV), DW Akademie, the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA), the Inter-American Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, and OBSERVACOM (Latin American Observatory for Regulation, Media and Convergence).

David Luna, Colombian Minister of Information Technologies and Communications. © ANTV

The mission to Colombia of UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information involved several meetings with authorities to discuss how UNESCO can intensify its support towards the Peace Agreements that are about to be signed. In the framework of his mission, Frank La Rue met the Minister of Information Technologies and Communications David Luna, the Presidency High Advisor for Communications' Issues Camilo Granada, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Culture, Public Television, and the Center of Memory and History.

Mr La Rue also met several representatives of Colombian civil society organizations dealing with Freedom of Expression issues to discuss the 30th anniversary of the assassination of Guillermo Cano. Among others, were present Guillermo Cano Foundation, Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP), and Gabriel García Márquez Foundation (FNPI). And they all requested that UNESCO organizes the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists on 2 November in Bogota, in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the killing of Guillermo Cano.

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