» New IPDC Bureau elected at 28th session of IPDC Council
28.03.2012 - UNESCO

New IPDC Bureau elected at 28th session of IPDC Council

28th session of IPDC Council - © UNESCO

The Council of UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), which met last week in Paris for its 28th biennial session (22 to 23 March), has chosen eight new members for its implementation body, the IPDC Bureau.

The IPDC Council, which is composed of 39 Member States voted for by the UNESCO General Conference, also elected Mr Jyrki Pulkkinen (Finland) as the new Chairman to the Programme for a mandate of two years.

Mr Pulkkinen is Senior Adviser at the Department for Development Policy of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. He previously worked as CEO of the Global e-Schools and Community Initiative (GeSCI).

For the new Bureau, the Council also designated Mr Mikhail Gusman as Rapporteur (Russian Federation).

Besides the Chairperson and Rapporteur, the Bureau now includes Peru, Tanzania and Thailand who were elected to the positions of Vice-chairpersons. The other members voted to the Bureau are Albania, Algeria and the United States of America. 

They will select and approve projects for funding in 2013 and 2014, act as a jury for the UNESCO-IPDC Prize for Rural Communication, and prepare recommendations for the 2014 IPDC Council meeting. A searchable database of IPDC projects was put online to coincide with last week’s council meeting.

Among the other events marking the 28th session, the IPDC Council adopted the “Decision on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity”, in which it renewed its request to the Director-General to prepare a biennial report on this matter. According to the Decision, the report should include updated information on the killings of journalists condemned by UNESCO as well as the responses provided on a voluntary basis by concerned Member States on the status of the judicial inquiries into the killings.  At the request of the Member States, this information will also be put online on the IPDC website.

The Decision further commends “the progress of the work of the UN agencies and other stakeholders involved in the preparation of the draft UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity”. This draft plan aims to establish a coordinated and action-oriented strategy within the UN system to help create a safe environment for media professionals.

It was presented on 20 March to the United Nations Systems' High-level Committee on Programmes (HLCP), which in turn decided to submit it to the UN Systems Chief Executives Board for endorsement at their next meeting in April 2012. The Decision also requests the Director-General to prepare a UNESCO Work Plan on safety and impunity issues, and to present it to the Executive Board at its 191st Session.

The third Report by the Director-General on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity was presented at this Council session. It provides an overview of the 127 killings journalists condemned by the Director-General in the last two years, 65 of which occurred in 2010 and 62 in 2011. The report notes that in most cases, these journalists were reporting on local conflicts, corruption and other illegal activities, such as organized crime groups.

The Council also heard from invited experts on how to mainstream gender in media, and endorsed UNESCO’s initiative to develop Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media as an instrument to help achieve this.

Also at the Council, the UNESCO-IPDC Prize for Rural Communication was awarded to the Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists and the Kenyan Arid Lands Information Network for their innovative activities that contributed to improving communication in rural communities.

IPDC is the key multilateral forum in the UN system designed to promote media development in developing countries and help secure an empowering environment for free, independent and pluralistic media. In three decades IPDC has channeled almost $100 million to some 1,500 media development projects in more than 140 countries.

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