IN FOCUS ARTICLES - 2014

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From safety of journalists to online privacy

What is the international community doing to fight crimes against journalists and impunity? What is the status of the judicial inquiries of journalists killed between 2006 and 2013? Are free, independent and pluralistic media a priority in the post-2015 development agenda? What is experience telling us about media development in the world? How can journalism excellence be promoted so that journalists can disseminate quality knowledge for peace, development and democracy around the world? And how can all this be properly and rigorously assessed?

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Roman curse tablets: UNESCO recognises Bath’s messages to the Goddess

130 ancient tablets bearing messages from the Roman occupants of Bath seeking revenge from a goddess, which are the only artefacts from Roman Britain, have been added to the United Kingdom Memory of the World Register of outstanding documentary heritage, which aims to raise awareness of some of the world’s exceptional archival collections. The Roman curse tablets represent personal and private prayers of individuals inscribed on small sheets of lead or pewter and cast into the hot springs at Bath, UK. The tablets are believed to range in date from the 2nd to the late 4th century AD.

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Taking stock of the state of the media in Swaziland

Freedom of expression was at the heart of discussions at a UNESCO-supported round table on assessing the media landscape in Swaziland, which took place in Mbabane on 30 October. The round table, organized by the Swaziland Chapter of the Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA), with funds from UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), marked the start of a comprehensive assessment of the country’s media landscape.

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UNESCO wins the 2014 GEM-TECH Award

Since the launch of “Women in African History: An E-Learning Tool” in November 2013, Amanuella Alemayehu Mengiste, secondary school student in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, has been using and sharing multimedia content highlighting African women’s contribution to development with her friends on their mobile phones and computers, downloading digital comic strips, and reciting songs and stories from audio modules; “the more stories you hear about women who are doing stuff on their own and following their dreams and doing what they want to do – I think it’s inspirational.  Whenever someone says ‘oh no you can’t do this,’ you can point to that woman and say ‘well she did it, so why can’t I?’”

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YouthMobile for sustainable development in South Sudan

The first UNESCO YouthMobile Workshop launched successfully on Tuesday 12 August 2014 with 43 students learning the basics of mobile apps programming for sustainable development. Organized by UNESCO in partnership with Zain South Sudan, the Workshop is being facilitated by the Dev School of Kenya and hosted at the College of Computer Science and Information at the University of Juba. The training workshop aims at empowering youth with the high-level skills and confidence to develop and promote locally relevant mobile applications, contributing to self-generated and viable employment opportunities in the growing ICT industry both nationally and globally.

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Legal Leaks: One month of training in South East Europe

During the month of June 2014, UNESCO organized in cooperation with Access Info Europe and SEENPM, five legal Leaks training in Pristina, Tirana, Sarajevo, Podgorica and Belgrade. Around 150 journalists and students in journalism from South East Europe were trained to make full use of access to information laws in their daily work. With a great deal of enthusiasm the participants shared their challenges when searching public information and worked on case studies to understand the reality of access to information. In addition, the participants were trained on data journalism, on the protection of sources and on the ethical dilemmas of access to information in the digital age.

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Radio Salus: The ‘voice of the voiceless’ supports democracy building in Rwanda

Ten years after its creation, Radio Salus, a UNESCO-initiated radio station at the National University of Rwanda, serves as a powerful tool for social and human development. In 2005, Radio Salus became one of the first five private radios licensed in Rwanda since the genocide in 1994. It was established through a partnership between UNESCO and the National University of Rwanda, through a project funded by the European Commission and the Government of Japan. Given the role played by private radio in deepening divides within Rwandan society during the genocide, the medium has had stigma attached to it in the country. Radio Salus has helped to restore the public’s confidence in radio as a tool for development and dialogue.

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Paris Declaration calls for renewed emphasis on Media and Information Literacy in the Digital Age

Participants adopted the Paris Declaration on MIL in the Digital Era during the first European Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Forum, which was held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris from 27-28 May 2014. The Declaration reaffirms the importance of MIL and calls for a renewed emphasis on MIL in today’s digital environment as well as cooperation among key actors and multi-stakeholder groups to advance MIL for all. The Paris Declaration urges decision and policy makers to reflect deeper on MIL in the digital age, recognising that MIL competencies and technological competencies are complementary. Therefore, one cannot supplant the other. Technology related competencies should be delivered in the context of MIL.

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How news ombudsmen build trust in the media: Lessons learned from Albania

Across the world, the ongoing economic crisis has had a tremendous impact on media, worsening journalists’ job security, negatively impacting media quality, and hurting the public’s confidence in the media as a watchdog of democracy. The recent UNESCO report World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development reveals that “to varying degrees, the commitment to professional ethics has either stagnated or weakened, due to particular responses to severe competition, the blurring boundaries between editorial and business interests, and the entry of citizen journalists into news production and dissemination.”

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Focus on Netexplo 2014: the emerging trends in the use of digital technology

The 7th edition of the Netexplo Forum was held at UNESCO on 26 and 28 March 2014. Over the two days, the event has gathered more than 1600 business, media and political decision-makers. This year’s edition was characterized by the virtual participation of young people expressing their views on the Netexplo innovations awards (Digital Young Leaders), and a third day completely online hosted on DailyMotion with a series of roundtables on the themes of the forum. The Forum also attracted more than 12,000 online visitors from 60 countries worldwide for more than 27,000 connections, the best performance since its beginning in 2008.

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The Syrian Hour: Enhancing freedom of expression through radio

The third season of the UNESCO radio programme “Sa’a Suriya” (“The Syrian Hour”) began this Monday, 24 February 2014. The programme is part of the UNESCO project “Sa’a Suriya: Enhancing access to information and freedom of expression for Syrian refugees in Jordan through radio programs”.

© AFF Basel, CH / AFS Amsterdam, NL


Spotlight on Memory of the World heritage: The Holocaust

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.