19.04.2018 - UNESCO Office in Doha

UNESCO highlights importance of media in elections at workshop for human rights commissions in the Arab region

copyright: UNESCO

UNESCO participated in a regional workshop on "Monitoring the role of the media during elections" organized by the Arab Network for National Human Rights Institutions (ANNHRI) and the Oman Human Rights Commission in cooperation with UNDP from 16-18 April in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman.

45 journalits, media experts and representatives from 13 national human rights commissions in the Arab region took part in the training, held under the patronage of Nasser bin Sulaiman al Sibani, deputy chairman of the Public Authority for Radio and Television.

The seminar came in a bid to introduce international laws and legislation related to human rights during election.

Benzerrouki Fafa Sid Lakhdar, chairperson of the Algerian National Human Rights Council and newly elected President of the ANNHRIs opened the meeting together with Sheikh Abdullah Bin Shuwain Al Hosani, Chairman of Oman Human Right Commission.

The workshop, led by Dr. Abdullah Al-Kindi from Sultan Qaboos University, focused on the integrity of elections, public access to information for the media and for voters, international legislation related to human rights during elections, legal frameworks regulating media during elections and the importance of fair, safe and professional media coverage during elections.

Luis Martinez, Regional Electoral Advisor for UNDP in the Arab region presented on the importance of elections, the role of human rights commissions during elections and in regards to the media and highlighted UNDP's latest publication Arabic lexicon on electoral terminology.

Marion Desmurger from UNESCO GCC and Yemen Office, highlighted the important role journalists play during elections from informing the public, guaranteeing accountability and transparency, facilitating debate and countering hate speech. She also stressed the need for uninterrupted communications and free flow of information to ensure access to information during elections.

UNESCO provides support to media, Member States and electoral assistance providers on strengthening election media coverage. Within this framework, UNESCO organized in cooperation with the Global Network Initiative, a coalition of stakeholders working to protect freedom of expression and privacy on the Internet, an international colloquim on "Improving the communications and information ecosystems to protect the integrity of elections" in March 2018 to discuss the impact of social media and internet providers on political communication. 

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