09.09.2011 - UNESCO

UNESCO workshops to focus on journalism education at Pan African Conference in Cape Town

UNESCO is contributing to the organization of the three-day Pan African Conference on Access to Information (17-19 September 2011, Cape Town, South Africa) and supporting three workshops in the framework of the Highway Africa Conference. UNESCO workshops will focus on Open Educational Resources in Journalism Education, Criteria of Excellence in Journalism Education and Science Journalism. Jānis Kārkliņš, UNESCO´s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, will take part in the joint opening of the events on 17 September 2011.

UNESCO works closely with a variety of stakeholders to promote an enabling environment for freedom of expression and freedom of information. An important focus of these activities is to enable media institutions and media training centres to prepare media professionals with the highest ethical and professional standards.

The Science Journalism Colloquium (17-19 September) will focus on the three broad criteria for quality journalism training. More specifically, it will contribute towards UNESCO’s goal to improve science literacy among media professionals by incorporating it into journalism curricula. The event is part of a wider initiative aimed at enhancing science literacy, facilitating journalists’ easier access to science information and knowledge, and increasing the quantity and quality of media reporting on science and technology.

The second UNESCO workshop, on Open Educational Resources (OER) Platform, will take place on 18 September to focus specifically on the criteria of journalism curriculum and institutional capacity to use OER in journalism training institutions. Open educational resources are any type of educational materials in the public domain or released under an open-content license that allows for free use, re-use and sharing. In 2007 UNESCO developed the Model Curricula for Journalism Education, which has been adapted by more than 65 journalism schools worldwide. Now the Organization is developing its OER Platform, which will make the Model Curricula available as an open educational resource and share its adaptations by journalism schools. The workshop will demonstrate the Platform with shared adaptations from two Namibian journalism schools.

Immediately after the 2nd UNESCO workshop, a working meeting, Towards Excellence in Journalism Education, will bring together Potential Centres of Excellence and Reference in Journalism Training in Africa to take stock of the progress made in three broad criteria areas of curriculum and institutional capacity, professional and public service, external links and recognition, and development plan, strategy and potential. Participants will discuss the criteria in the light of on-going projects and experiences of the centres. These projects include the UNESCO/DW-Akademie project on Pedagogical Methodologies in Journalism Education, Gender in Journalism Education, and Supporting Science Journalism in Africa.

On the eve of the meetings, on 16 September 2011, the book, entitled Media in Africa - Twenty years after the Windhoek Declaration on Press Freedom, published by the Media Institute of Southern Africa, will be launched at Media 24. With a foreword by Jānis Kārkliņš, the book gathers contributions by different experts, who assess the evolution and current situation of press freedom in the region, two decades after the Windhoek Declaration was agreed upon. This key document, which was adopted at a meeting convened by UNESCO, gave way to the UN General Assembly’s proclamation of 3 May as World Press Freedom Day, and contributed to substantial changes sweeping the media sector in Africa and around the world.

The Pan African Conference on Access to Information and Highway Africa Conference offer an ideal opportunity to discuss the role of professional capacity building and supporting institutions that underpins freedom of expression, pluralism and development as an important element of media development.

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