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Rethinking literacy skills in a digital world

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 09/08/2017 - 12:21
literacy-day-2017-opening.jpg © UNESCO 08 September 2017

“To be truly empowering, new technologies must stand on two pillars,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova as she opened the International Conference on International Literacy Day at Paris Headquarters, which focuses this year on Literacy in a digital world. “First, they must be inclusive, bridging gaps, not deepening them. Second, they must be underpinned by respect for human rights and dignity. All this gives rise to new questions about the meaning of literacy today.”

The Day has brought together more than 200 stakeholders and decision-makers from around the world to discuss and examine how digital technology can help close the literacy gap and evolve and monitor the necessary literacy skills needed in today’s societies. This is particularly important considering that 750 million illiterate people around the world, 63% of whom are women, still lack basic reading and writing skills.

“Traditionally, literacy has been considered a set of reading, writing and counting skills. The digital world calls for new, higher-level, competences on top of these,” said Ms Bokova. 

Special guest, Her Royal Highness Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands and UNESCO Special Envoy on Literacy for Development, emphasized how literacy in today’s world is at heart of social participation and engagement. “There is no inclusiveness if we leave behind 750 million people who lack the basic literacy skills to participate in today’s digital world,” she said. “There is no social cohesion if we allow young people to develop feelings of exclusion and lack of self-confidence.”

H.E. Ms Sarah Anyang Agbor, Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology from the African Union Commission, emphasized the aspect of inclusion for sustainable development. “When we consider the digital means, we should also consider non-digital means that also enhance our living,” she said. “Therefore we must ensure inclusion and proper interventions in using ICT in building sustainable societies for all.”

The opening was followed by a session on ‘Rethinking literacy in a digital world’ to explore the understanding of the broad skills needed in the 21st century. As the concept of literacy evolves, so does the skills demands from basic reading and writing skills to the ability to understand, engage and critically use e-services that are today replacing basic off-line services. 

Promising programmes that advance literacy through an inclusive approach to technology were highlighted at the event. The 2017 UNESCO International Literacy Prizes winners from Canada Colombia, Jordan, Pakistan and South Africa, presented their programmes to illustrate how digital technologies can help promote literacy and create opportunities for lifelong learning.  

Another topic discussed during the day was about risks and responses in a digital world. It focused on the need of inclusion of people in the information societies where the increasing digitization is deepening the digital divide and risks to marginalize illiterate people further. Representatives from the private sector, governments and educational organizations shared their views on the existing risks such as privacy and security, and how to minimize the divide through a more inclusive approach to technology.

The use of technologies to better asses and monitor literacy with digital tools, real time data and analytics, was also highlighted. Presenters from the OECD, UNESCO Institute for Statistics and the Kenya Institute of Curriculum examined the potential of digital technology to better monitor literacy learning and literacy levels.

At the end of the Day, the five laureates were officially awarded at the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes awards ceremony by the Director-General.

The two awards of the UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize dedicated to mother-tongue literacy education and training, sponsored by the Republic of Korea, were given to:

  • Centre for the Study of Learning & Performance (CSLP) at Concordia University (Canada), for the Using Educational Technology to Develop Essential Educational Competencies in Sub-Saharan Africa project, which develops and distributes its material internationally free of charge.
  • We Love Reading (Jordan), a programme with a virtual community that offers online read-aloud trainings for parents,  mobilizes volunteers to read aloud in community spaces to children and provides age-appropriate material through a digital library.

The three awards of the UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy, supported by the Government of the People’s Republic of China and rewarding work that benefits rural populations and out-of-school youth, particularly girls and women, were given to:

  • AdulTICoProgram of the Secretariat of Information and Communications Technologies of the city of Armenia (Colombia), for teaching digital competencies to seniors.
  • The Citizens Foundation (Pakistan) for its Aagahi Literacy Programme for Women and Out-of-School Girls, which conducts digital educational needs assessments and provides teaching services to support the education of younger girls and older women.
  • FunDza (South Africa) for its readers and writers project to develop a culture of reading and writing for pleasure through an online platform that provides reading courses and writing competitions as well as connecting readers and writers.

International Literacy Day is celebrated annually worldwide and brings together governments, multi- and bilateral organizations, NGOs, private sectors, communities, teachers, learners and experts in the field. It is an occasion to mark achievements and reflect on ways to counter remaining challenges for the promotion of literacy as an integral part of lifelong learning within and beyond the 2030 Education Agenda.

Categories: News

Rethinking literacy skills in a digital world

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 09/08/2017 - 12:21
literacy-day-2017-opening.jpg © UNESCO 08 September 2017

“To be truly empowering, new technologies must stand on two pillars,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova as she opened the International Conference on International Literacy Day at Paris Headquarters, which focuses this year on Literacy in a digital world. “First, they must be inclusive, bridging gaps, not deepening them. Second, they must be underpinned by respect for human rights and dignity. All this gives rise to new questions about the meaning of literacy today.”

The Day has brought together more than 200 stakeholders and decision-makers from around the world to discuss and examine how digital technology can help close the literacy gap and evolve and monitor the necessary literacy skills needed in today’s societies. This is particularly important considering that 750 million illiterate people around the world, 63% of whom are women, still lack basic reading and writing skills.

“Traditionally, literacy has been considered a set of reading, writing and counting skills. The digital world calls for new, higher-level, competences on top of these,” said Ms Bokova. 

Special guest, Her Royal Highness Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands and UNESCO Special Envoy on Literacy for Development, emphasized how literacy in today’s world is at heart of social participation and engagement. “There is no inclusiveness if we leave behind 750 million people who lack the basic literacy skills to participate in today’s digital world,” she said. “There is no social cohesion if we allow young people to develop feelings of exclusion and lack of self-confidence.”

H.E. Ms Sarah Anyang Agbor, Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology from the African Union Commission, emphasized the aspect of inclusion for sustainable development. “When we consider the digital means, we should also consider non-digital means that also enhance our living,” she said. “Therefore we must ensure inclusion and proper interventions in using ICT in building sustainable societies for all.”

The opening was followed by a session on ‘Rethinking literacy in a digital world’ to explore the understanding of the broad skills needed in the 21st century. As the concept of literacy evolves, so does the skills demands from basic reading and writing skills to the ability to understand, engage and critically use e-services that are today replacing basic off-line services. 

Promising programmes that advance literacy through an inclusive approach to technology were highlighted at the event. The 2017 UNESCO International Literacy Prizes winners from Canada Colombia, Jordan, Pakistan and South Africa, presented their programmes to illustrate how digital technologies can help promote literacy and create opportunities for lifelong learning.  

Another topic discussed during the day was about risks and responses in a digital world. It focused on the need of inclusion of people in the information societies where the increasing digitization is deepening the digital divide and risks to marginalize illiterate people further. Representatives from the private sector, governments and educational organizations shared their views on the existing risks such as privacy and security, and how to minimize the divide through a more inclusive approach to technology.

The use of technologies to better asses and monitor literacy with digital tools, real time data and analytics, was also highlighted. Presenters from the OECD, UNESCO Institute for Statistics and the Kenya Institute of Curriculum examined the potential of digital technology to better monitor literacy learning and literacy levels.

At the end of the Day, the five laureates were officially awarded at the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes awards ceremony by the Director-General.

The two awards of the UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize dedicated to mother-tongue literacy education and training, sponsored by the Republic of Korea, were given to:

  • Centre for the Study of Learning & Performance (CSLP) at Concordia University (Canada), for the Using Educational Technology to Develop Essential Educational Competencies in Sub-Saharan Africa project, which develops and distributes its material internationally free of charge.
  • We Love Reading (Jordan), a programme with a virtual community that offers online read-aloud trainings for parents,  mobilizes volunteers to read aloud in community spaces to children and provides age-appropriate material through a digital library.

The three awards of the UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy, supported by the Government of the People’s Republic of China and rewarding work that benefits rural populations and out-of-school youth, particularly girls and women, were given to:

  • AdulTICoProgram of the Secretariat of Information and Communications Technologies of the city of Armenia (Colombia), for teaching digital competencies to seniors.
  • The Citizens Foundation (Pakistan) for its Aagahi Literacy Programme for Women and Out-of-School Girls, which conducts digital educational needs assessments and provides teaching services to support the education of younger girls and older women.
  • FunDza (South Africa) for its readers and writers project to develop a culture of reading and writing for pleasure through an online platform that provides reading courses and writing competitions as well as connecting readers and writers.

International Literacy Day is celebrated annually worldwide and brings together governments, multi- and bilateral organizations, NGOs, private sectors, communities, teachers, learners and experts in the field. It is an occasion to mark achievements and reflect on ways to counter remaining challenges for the promotion of literacy as an integral part of lifelong learning within and beyond the 2030 Education Agenda.

Categories: News

Director-General pays tribute to Pierre Bergé, activist for cultural freedom and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 09/08/2017 - 11:41
pierre-berge.jpg © UNESCO

UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, paid tribute to Pierre Bergé, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, who passed away in Paris on 8 September 2017.

"Pierre Bergé was at the forefront of UNESCO’s fight to support cultural freedom and free thought. He helped to shape French literary and artistic life for half a century, from Bernard Buffet to Yves Saint Laurent. A mentor, and a generous sponsor, he was a committed activist against gender discrimination, and a leading figure in the fight against AIDS, whose work was decisive for UNESCO's action in this field. His commitment to the protection of intangible heritage was also decisive in support of several conferences and cultural projects, including in France and across Africa. His passing is an immense loss for UNESCO and I extend my sincere condolences to all his relatives."

The French businessman and humanist Pierre Bergé was appointed UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador on 8 September, 1992, 25 years ago to the day. Pierre Bergé is a co-founder of the Yves Saint Laurent haute couture house. He was a generous sponsor who financed and supported many cultural projects. Engaged in the fight against HIV/AIDS, he chaired the association "Together against AIDS". He was passionate about Berber art and eager to promote it, opening in 2011 the Berber Museum at Majorelle Garden (Morocco).

 

Categories: News

Director-General pays tribute to Pierre Bergé, activist for cultural freedom and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador

Unesco Most Programme - Fri, 09/08/2017 - 11:41
pierre-berge.jpg © UNESCO

UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, paid tribute to Pierre Bergé, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, who passed away in Paris on 8 September 2017.

"Pierre Bergé was at the forefront of UNESCO’s fight to support cultural freedom and free thought. He helped to shape French literary and artistic life for half a century, from Bernard Buffet to Yves Saint Laurent. A mentor, and a generous sponsor, he was a committed activist against gender discrimination, and a leading figure in the fight against AIDS, whose work was decisive for UNESCO's action in this field. His commitment to the protection of intangible heritage was also decisive in support of several conferences and cultural projects, including in France and across Africa. His passing is an immense loss for UNESCO and I extend my sincere condolences to all his relatives."

The French businessman and humanist Pierre Bergé was appointed UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador on 8 September, 1992, 25 years ago to the day. Pierre Bergé is a co-founder of the Yves Saint Laurent haute couture house. He was a generous sponsor who financed and supported many cultural projects. Engaged in the fight against HIV/AIDS, he chaired the association "Together against AIDS". He was passionate about Berber art and eager to promote it, opening in 2011 the Berber Museum at Majorelle Garden (Morocco).

 

Categories: News

Hidden treasure in Africa

Europaid - Fri, 09/08/2017 - 11:05
Categories: News

State of the Community Conference: Every Decision Counts

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 09/07/2017 - 17:44
07 September 2017

How new transformative technologies, evolving perceptions of identity and fresh approaches to democracy affect our lives are the key themes of a conference to be held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France, on 12-13 September 2017. Academics, professionals and youth will investigate sustainable solutions for our interconnected world at the State of the Community Conference: Every Decision Counts.

Building on the themes and outcomes of the highly successful World Humanities Conference, held in Liège, Belgium last month, the State of the Community Conference will examine some of the critical challenges facing our society. These include the role of robots, artificial intelligence, the internet and biotechnologies; responses to extremism, discrimination and inequality; and how to reconcile globalization and traditional structures by engaging the public in informed discussion to drive political and social change.

The conference keynote speaker is Professor James Fishkin (Janet M. Peck Professor in International Communication and Director of the Center for Deliberative Democracy, Stanford University).

Other interdisciplinary thought leaders participating include Yves Sintomer (Professor of Political Science, Université Paris 8); Countess Setsuko Klossowska de Rola (UNESCO Artist for Peace); Lionel Veer (Ambassador of the Netherlands to UNESCO); Marie-Hélène Parizeau (Professor of Philosophy, Université Laval, Québec); Georges Kepenekian (Mayor of Lyon and Vice-President of the Metropole of Lyon); and Andrés Roemer, (UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Societal Change and the Free Flow of Information). 

The winner of the Dhillon Marty Competition: 2017 Phrase of the Year will also be announced during the conference. “Every Decision Counts”, the title of the conference, was the winner of last year’s competition. 

The State of the Community Conference: Every Decision Counts is jointly convened with UNESCO under the aegis of the Management of Social Transformations (MOST) programme.

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Journalists wishing to attend the State of the Community Conference: Every Decision Counts are requested to contact: Djibril Kebe, UNESCO Media Services, d.kebe@unesco.org, +33(0)145681741

For more information on the conference, please contact:

****

The State of the Community Conference: Every Decision Counts Programme

 

World Humanities Conference

Follow us:
#CriticalThinking #SoC17 #WorldHumanities #unesco_most

Twitter: @unescoNOW | @dhillonmarty
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Categories: News

State of the Community Conference: Every Decision Counts

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 09/07/2017 - 17:44
07 September 2017

How new transformative technologies, evolving perceptions of identity and fresh approaches to democracy affect our lives are the key themes of a conference to be held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France, on 12-13 September 2017. Academics, professionals and youth will investigate sustainable solutions for our interconnected world at the State of the Community Conference: Every Decision Counts.

Building on the themes and outcomes of the highly successful World Humanities Conference, held in Liège, Belgium last month, the State of the Community Conference will examine some of the critical challenges facing our society. These include the role of robots, artificial intelligence, the internet and biotechnologies; responses to extremism, discrimination and inequality; and how to reconcile globalization and traditional structures by engaging the public in informed discussion to drive political and social change.

The conference keynote speaker is Professor James Fishkin (Janet M. Peck Professor in International Communication and Director of the Center for Deliberative Democracy, Stanford University).

Other interdisciplinary thought leaders participating include Yves Sintomer (Professor of Political Science, Université Paris 8); Countess Setsuko Klossowska de Rola (UNESCO Artist for Peace); Lionel Veer (Ambassador of the Netherlands to UNESCO); Marie-Hélène Parizeau (Professor of Philosophy, Université Laval, Québec); Georges Kepenekian (Mayor of Lyon and Vice-President of the Metropole of Lyon); and Andrés Roemer, (UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Societal Change and the Free Flow of Information). 

The winner of the Dhillon Marty Competition: 2017 Phrase of the Year will also be announced during the conference. “Every Decision Counts”, the title of the conference, was the winner of last year’s competition. 

The State of the Community Conference: Every Decision Counts is jointly convened with UNESCO under the aegis of the Management of Social Transformations (MOST) programme.

****

Journalists wishing to attend the State of the Community Conference: Every Decision Counts are requested to contact: Djibril Kebe, UNESCO Media Services, d.kebe@unesco.org, +33(0)145681741

For more information on the conference, please contact:

****

The State of the Community Conference: Every Decision Counts Programme

 

World Humanities Conference

Follow us:
#CriticalThinking #SoC17 #WorldHumanities #unesco_most

Twitter: @unescoNOW | @dhillonmarty
Facebook: @unesco / @UNESCOfr | @dhillonmarty

Categories: News

States and journalists can take steps to counter “fake news”

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 09/07/2017 - 11:53
news_070917_brussels.jpg © UNESCO 07 September 2017

Members of the European Parliament heard suggestions from UNESCO about what can be done about the problem of fake news at a conference organized by the Joint Extremism/Digital Europe Working Group Conference of the European Parliament on 6 September 2017.

UNESCO’s Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development, Guy Berger presented 15 possible action points to counter what he called the “weaponisation of mistrust”.

MEP Tanja Fajon, Chair of the Parliament’s Extremism Working Group, introduced the event and MEP Josef Weidenholzer, Chair of the Digital Europe Working Group, concluded the event. Petra Kammervert, Chair of the committee on culture and education, presented a perspective from the Parliament.

Berger based his contribution on the insights from UNESCO’s “Journalism under fire” colloquium held earlier this year, which highlighted the seriousness of disinformation and the deliberate discrediting of professional media.

He noted that journalists were sometimes targeted by “fake news” claims that particular individuals were spies, as well as diminished by sweeping accusations that their stories are fictional. The director highlighted the distinctive character of fake news within a wider self-reinforcing toxic ecosystem that includes trolling and bullying. He pointed to its specificity as being “fabricated content that poses as authentic news and which masquerades as factual”.

The news media response should be to boost its credibility, through highlighting reliable brands and public service broadcasting, Berger proposed. Training could improve coverage, so that there is not a vacuum for fake news to fill. Stepped up fact-checking could further help to ensure the verifiability of what they produced.

“The media should also avoid advertising that has links to fake stories, as well as be more transparent about ownership and political leanings,” said the director. “In addition, journalists should do more to follow, debunk and tell the stories about the fake news phenomenon”.

As regards States, the UNESCO official urged increased monitoring and reporting of the problem, including in terms of Sustainable Development Goal 16.10, which advocates “public access to information and fundamental freedoms”.

Criminalization of “false news” and banning of anonymity could violate such freedoms, he cautioned. However, States could better protect journalists and also prosecute where purveyors of fake news were involved in fraud (misusing the names of reputable news brands). Incitement to violence, or hacking, could also merit legal steps being taken against fake news. Individuals whose reputations were harmed by the phenomenon should bring civil defamation cases against the perpetrators, he stated.

Berger further urged greater transparency about states’ own activities in covert information operations, and put particular emphasis on the importance of governments intensifying their work to integrate media and information literacy into national education systems.

The presentation used in his remarks is here.

Other speakers at the conference, convened by the European Parliament’s Extremism Working Group and the and Digital Europe Working Group, included senior representatives from Austria and Germany, as well members of civil society and officials from Google, Facebook and the European Federation of Journalists.

Categories: News

States and journalists can take steps to counter “fake news”

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 09/07/2017 - 11:53
news_070917_brussels.jpg © UNESCO 07 September 2017

Members of the European Parliament heard suggestions from UNESCO about what can be done about the problem of fake news at a conference organized by the Joint Extremism/Digital Europe Working Group Conference of the European Parliament on 6 September 2017.

UNESCO’s Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development, Guy Berger presented 15 possible action points to counter what he called the “weaponisation of mistrust”.

MEP Tanja Fajon, Chair of the Parliament’s Extremism Working Group, introduced the event and MEP Josef Weidenholzer, Chair of the Digital Europe Working Group, concluded the event. Petra Kammervert, Chair of the committee on culture and education, presented a perspective from the Parliament.

Berger based his contribution on the insights from UNESCO’s “Journalism under fire” colloquium held earlier this year, which highlighted the seriousness of disinformation and the deliberate discrediting of professional media.

He noted that journalists were sometimes targeted by “fake news” claims that particular individuals were spies, as well as diminished by sweeping accusations that their stories are fictional. The director highlighted the distinctive character of fake news within a wider self-reinforcing toxic ecosystem that includes trolling and bullying. He pointed to its specificity as being “fabricated content that poses as authentic news and which masquerades as factual”.

The news media response should be to boost its credibility, through highlighting reliable brands and public service broadcasting, Berger proposed. Training could improve coverage, so that there is not a vacuum for fake news to fill. Stepped up fact-checking could further help to ensure the verifiability of what they produced.

“The media should also avoid advertising that has links to fake stories, as well as be more transparent about ownership and political leanings,” said the director. “In addition, journalists should do more to follow, debunk and tell the stories about the fake news phenomenon”.

As regards States, the UNESCO official urged increased monitoring and reporting of the problem, including in terms of Sustainable Development Goal 16.10, which advocates “public access to information and fundamental freedoms”.

Criminalization of “false news” and banning of anonymity could violate such freedoms, he cautioned. However, States could better protect journalists and also prosecute where purveyors of fake news were involved in fraud (misusing the names of reputable news brands). Incitement to violence, or hacking, could also merit legal steps being taken against fake news. Individuals whose reputations were harmed by the phenomenon should bring civil defamation cases against the perpetrators, he stated.

Berger further urged greater transparency about states’ own activities in covert information operations, and put particular emphasis on the importance of governments intensifying their work to integrate media and information literacy into national education systems.

The presentation used in his remarks is here.

Other speakers at the conference, convened by the European Parliament’s Extremism Working Group and the and Digital Europe Working Group, included senior representatives from Austria and Germany, as well members of civil society and officials from Google, Facebook and the European Federation of Journalists.

Categories: News

European Parliament: States and journalists can take steps to counter “fake news”

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 09/07/2017 - 10:57
ep.jpg © UNESCO

Brussels, 7 September 2017- Members of the European Parliament heard suggestions from UNESCO about what can be done about the problem of fake news at a conference organized by the Joint Extremism/Digital Europe Working Group Conference of the European Parliament on 6 September 2017 which drew a full house.

UNESCO’s Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development, Guy Berger presented 15 possible action points to counter what he called the “weaponisation of mistrust”.

MEP Tanja Fajon, Chair of the Parliament’s Extremism Working Group, introduced the event and MEP Josef Weidenholzer, Chair of the Digital Europe Working Group, concluded the event. Petra Kammervert, Chair of the committee on culture and education, presented a perspective from the Parliament.

Berger based his contribution on the insights from UNESCO’s “Journalism under fire” colloquium held earlier this year, which highlighted the seriousness of disinformation and the deliberate discrediting of professional media.

He noted that journalists were sometimes targeted by “fake news” claims that particular individuals were spies, as well as diminished by sweeping accusations that their stories are fictional. The director highlighted the distinctive character of fake news within a wider self-reinforcing toxic ecosystem that includes trolling and bullying. He pointed to its specificity as being “fabricated content that poses as authentic news and which masquerades as factual”.

The news media response should be to boost its credibility, through highlighting reliable brands and public service broadcasting, Berger proposed. Training could improve coverage, so that there is not a vacuum for fake news to fill. Stepped up fact-checking could further help to ensure the verifiability of what they produced.

“The media should also avoid advertising that has links to fake stories, as well as be more transparent about ownership and political leanings,” said the director. “In addition, journalists should do more to follow, debunk and tell the stories about the fake news phenomenon”.

As regards States, the UNESCO official urged increased monitoring and reporting of the problem, including in terms of Sustainable Development Goal 16.10, which advocates “public access to information and fundamental freedoms”.

Criminalisation of “false news” and banning of anonymity could violate such freedoms, he cautioned. However, States could better protect journalists and also prosecute where purveyors of fake news were involved in fraud (misusing the names of reputable news brands). Incitement to violence, or hacking, could also merit legal steps being taken against fake news. Individuals whose reputations were harmed by the phenomenon should bring civil defamation cases against the perpetrators, he stated.

Berger further urged greater transparency about states’ own activities in covert information operations, and put particular emphasis on the importance of governments intensifying their work to integrate media and information literacy into national education systems.

Other speakers at the conference, convened by the European Parliament’s Extremism Working Group and the and Digital Europe Working Group, included senior representatives from Austria and Germany, as well members of civil society and officials from Google, Facebook and the European Federation of Journalists.

Categories: News

European Parliament: States and journalists can take steps to counter “fake news”

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 09/07/2017 - 10:57
ep.jpg © UNESCO

Brussels, 7 September 2017- Members of the European Parliament heard suggestions from UNESCO about what can be done about the problem of fake news at a conference organized by the Joint Extremism/Digital Europe Working Group Conference of the European Parliament on 6 September 2017 which drew a full house.

UNESCO’s Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development, Guy Berger presented 15 possible action points to counter what he called the “weaponisation of mistrust”.

MEP Tanja Fajon, Chair of the Parliament’s Extremism Working Group, introduced the event and MEP Josef Weidenholzer, Chair of the Digital Europe Working Group, concluded the event. Petra Kammervert, Chair of the committee on culture and education, presented a perspective from the Parliament.

Berger based his contribution on the insights from UNESCO’s “Journalism under fire” colloquium held earlier this year, which highlighted the seriousness of disinformation and the deliberate discrediting of professional media.

He noted that journalists were sometimes targeted by “fake news” claims that particular individuals were spies, as well as diminished by sweeping accusations that their stories are fictional. The director highlighted the distinctive character of fake news within a wider self-reinforcing toxic ecosystem that includes trolling and bullying. He pointed to its specificity as being “fabricated content that poses as authentic news and which masquerades as factual”.

The news media response should be to boost its credibility, through highlighting reliable brands and public service broadcasting, Berger proposed. Training could improve coverage, so that there is not a vacuum for fake news to fill. Stepped up fact-checking could further help to ensure the verifiability of what they produced.

“The media should also avoid advertising that has links to fake stories, as well as be more transparent about ownership and political leanings,” said the director. “In addition, journalists should do more to follow, debunk and tell the stories about the fake news phenomenon”.

As regards States, the UNESCO official urged increased monitoring and reporting of the problem, including in terms of Sustainable Development Goal 16.10, which advocates “public access to information and fundamental freedoms”.

Criminalisation of “false news” and banning of anonymity could violate such freedoms, he cautioned. However, States could better protect journalists and also prosecute where purveyors of fake news were involved in fraud (misusing the names of reputable news brands). Incitement to violence, or hacking, could also merit legal steps being taken against fake news. Individuals whose reputations were harmed by the phenomenon should bring civil defamation cases against the perpetrators, he stated.

Berger further urged greater transparency about states’ own activities in covert information operations, and put particular emphasis on the importance of governments intensifying their work to integrate media and information literacy into national education systems.

Other speakers at the conference, convened by the European Parliament’s Extremism Working Group and the and Digital Europe Working Group, included senior representatives from Austria and Germany, as well members of civil society and officials from Google, Facebook and the European Federation of Journalists.

Categories: News

Director-General condemns the killing of Indian journalist Gauri Lankesh

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 09/07/2017 - 10:11
07 September 2017

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today condemned the killing of Indian journalist Gauri Lankesh, who was shot on 5 September. 

“I condemn the murder of Gauri Lankesh,” the Director-General stated. “Any attack on the media is an attack on the fundamental right to freedom of expression of each member of society. I urge the Indian authorities to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice and this crime is punished.”

Lankesh, 55, was the editor and publisher of the Gauri Lankesh Patrike, a Kannada-language weekly, and an outspoken critic of right-wing extremism. She was fatally shot by at least three unknown assailants outside her home in the district of Rajarajeshwari Nagar of Bangaluru(formerly Bangalore), South India.

The Director-General of UNESCO issues statements on the killing of media workers in line with Resolution 29 adopted by UNESCO Member States at the Organization’s General Conference of 1997, entitled “Condemnation of Violence against Journalists.” These statements are posted on a dedicated webpage, UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists.

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Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, s.coudray@unesco.org, +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12

UNESCO is the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”

Categories: News

Director-General condemns the killing of Indian journalist Gauri Lankesh

Unesco Most Programme - Thu, 09/07/2017 - 10:11
07 September 2017

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today condemned the killing of Indian journalist Gauri Lankesh, who was shot on 5 September. 

“I condemn the murder of Gauri Lankesh,” the Director-General stated. “Any attack on the media is an attack on the fundamental right to freedom of expression of each member of society. I urge the Indian authorities to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice and this crime is punished.”

Lankesh, 55, was the editor and publisher of the Gauri Lankesh Patrike, a Kannada-language weekly, and an outspoken critic of right-wing extremism. She was fatally shot by at least three unknown assailants outside her home in the district of Rajarajeshwari Nagar of Bangaluru(formerly Bangalore), South India.

The Director-General of UNESCO issues statements on the killing of media workers in line with Resolution 29 adopted by UNESCO Member States at the Organization’s General Conference of 1997, entitled “Condemnation of Violence against Journalists.” These statements are posted on a dedicated webpage, UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists.

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Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, s.coudray@unesco.org, +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12

UNESCO is the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”

Categories: News

L’open data au service de l’environnement

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 09/06/2017 - 20:38
focus2_wins_shutterstock_189897284.jpg © Shutterstock.com 06 September 2017

L’ouverture des données (open data) a trouvé sa place dans notre société, en particulier dans le domaine de l’environnement. Synonyme de partage, de réutilisation et de transparence, l’open data s’impose de plus en plus. Mais reste à savoir comment traiter et rendre accessibles ces données, qui doivent être fiables et facilement réutilisables ? La revue Technique Sciences Méthodes (TSM) se penche sur ces questions dans son dernier numéro, dont nous reproduisons ici des extraits. Observant que, dans le domaine de l’environnement, les avancées viennent principalement du secteur de l’eau, TSM présente le Système de réseau d’information sur l’eau du Programme hydrologique international de l’UNESCO comme exemple d’initiative pionnière.

IHP-WINS : « Démocratiser l’accès aux données »

L’UNESCO soutient et encourage le libre accès à l’information scientifique afin de favoriser la circulation du savoir à l’échelle planétaire pour contribuer aux découvertes scientifiques, à l’innovation et au développement socio-économique. Son Système de réseau d’information sur l’eau (Water Information Network System : IHP-WINS), est une plateforme en ligne rassemblant des données en libre accès sur l’eau, lancée en janvier 2017. Outil mis à la libre disposition des États membres, de la communauté scientifique, des décideurs politiques et du grand public, IHP-WINS se veut être un véritable appui au partage des connaissances et à la prise de décisions. Monsieur Filali Meknassi du Programme hydrologique international (UNESCO-PHI) souligne que l’objectif est de démocratiser l’accès aux données et d’accroitre la diffusion des savoirs locaux et régionaux dans le domaine de l’eau.

Trois piliers pour le partage des connaissances

IHP-WINS offre tout d’abord un espace de partage de données open access géoréférencées sur les ressources en eau aux échelles globales, régionales, nationales et locales. Grâce à l’utilisation d’un Système d’information géographique (SIG), l’information est visualisée sous forme de couches superposables, permettant aux utilisateurs de créer des cartes sur mesure. Le SIG facilite aussi le suivi et la mise à jour des informations au fur et à mesure des évolutions et des modifications des connaissances.

La plateforme dispose également d’un espace de mémoire institutionnelle et de partage de savoir, à travers la mise à disposition de documents téléchargeables dans des formats variés (tels que rapports, vidéos, photographies, statistiques, webinaires).

Le savoir au service de la gestion de la ressource

Si la plateforme offre à ses utilisateurs l’accès libre à des données sur le cycle de l’eau dans son ensemble et à des échelles variées, la plateforme permet également à ses contributeurs de partager leurs propres données. Ainsi, à travers cette mise en commun des connaissances, IHP-WINS contribue au suivi de l’Objectif de développement durable (ODD) 6 relatif à l’eau et à l’assainissement en soutenant les États membres, les décideurs politiques et tout acteur impliqué dans la gouvernance et la gestion des ressources en eau.

Le cas des aquifères transfrontaliers d’Afrique

IHP-WINS héberge, entre autres, des données sur les aquifères transfrontaliers, provenant de sources variées. En combinant ces différentes couches d’informations à l’aide de l’outil SIG disponible sur la plateforme, les cartes obtenues mettent en évidence, par exemple, le niveau de stress hydrique auquel sont exposées ces aquifères.

L’ouverture des données environnementales suscite l’intérêt pour une multitude d’acteurs et peut revêtir une multitude d’objectifs. Ces trois exemples de mise en place de l’open data en sont la preuve : l’ouverture des données, c’est informer les citoyens, sensibiliser les décideurs, concourir au développement du savoir et de la recherche scientifique, ou favoriser le développement économique. Ainsi, l’open data aujourd’hui est créateur de valeur et d’économie.

 

À l’heure actuelle, les collectivités les plus importantes par leur nombre d’habitants sont les plus avancées dans l’open data car elles possèdent les moyens financiers et humains nécessaires pour mener des politiques ambitieuses autour des usages du numérique et pour mettre en place des services structurés de gestion des données. D’après l’OpenDataFrance, cela se traduit par près de 50 portails open data et plus de 20 000 jeux de données. Finalement, le Délégué général d’OpenDataFrance conclut que dans beaucoup de cas, l’ouverture des données publiques vient conforter les orientations stratégiques déjà engagées sur le numérique, mais que du point de vue des collectivités les plus modestes, ce n’est toujours pas une priorité. C’est un sujet loin des préoccupations des décideurs locaux, pour qui les priorités sont avant tout perçues en termes d’aménagement des infrastructures de télécommunication. Ainsi, les finalités de l’ouverture des données et ses principes doivent faire l’objet d’une pédagogie et d’un accompagnement très soignés.

Muriel Auriol
TSM numéro 7/8 - 2017 - 112e année

Categories: News

Planting the seed for the love of reading in Jordan

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 09/06/2017 - 10:24
planting-seed-love-reading-jordan-c-unesco-we_love_reading.jpg © UNESCO/We Love Reading 06 September 2017

The ‘We Love Reading’ programme from Jordan that uses digital technology to spread the love of reading has been awarded the 2017 UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize. 

Concerned about the lack of libraries in Jordan, Rana Dajani, the founder of the ‘We Love Reading’, started the programme in 2006 with the vision of creating a library in every neighbourhood. She wanted to plant the seed for the love of reading in children, and to create the possibility of sustaining access to education in circumstances where formal learning was not possible.

“Literacy expands our horizons to discover the world around us and the inner potential inside us so that we can become change makers and draw upon the courage of the heroes we read about,” she says, explaining her motivation for starting the initiative.

The programme has since expanded to 30 countries around the world and involves 1,000 libraries in 12 governorates in Jordan.  

In 2016, around 20,000 learners, among whom 60 % are women, benefited from the programme.

The programme uses a grassroots mode, which involves volunteers organizing regular read-aloud sessions in public community spaces by the use of age-appropriate books that are attractive, neutral content-wise and in local languages.

A virtual community has been created through a mobile application that connects all of the ‘We Love Reading’ volunteers. The application allows them to share experiences and exchange knowledge to provide and improve the sustainability, quality, monitoring and evaluation of the programme. It also offers online training for volunteers and parents on how to appropriately assist children to read aloud, and provide a digital library with children’s literature. 

Empowering the refugee community through reading

The ‘We Love Reading’ model has been implemented by other communities and under circumstances where formal education has been put on hold such as in refugee camps. Through the programme, refugee community members are empowered by taking charge of the reading circles within the community, and by filling the gap until proper education systems are put into place, which in some circumstances can take months.

“After the training, I started reading stories to the children at the community Centre,” said Gassan, a young boy from Syria who now lives in a Jordanian refugee camp, the Baqaa camp. “They loved the stories and shared them with their families, which caused the crowd to get bigger and bigger. I was really amazed by the influence that reading left on children. Now, we have launched an initiative in collaboration with the community centre manager to clean the streets of the camp. With this initiative, I can tell that the influence of reading has spread not only on children but also on the community around us!”

Rana Dajani supports this idea of encouraging individuals to be change makers, by creating an environment that fosters free thinking and social entrepreneurship. “Literacy helps us learn about others so we understand more and communicate better with each other to build together a better future,” she says. “By providing recognition, credibility and visibility, the Prize will help spread ‘We Love Reading’ around the world to become a social movement and foster the love of reading in every child in every neighbourhood.”

This year’s UNESCO International Literacy Prizes will be awarded to laureates from Canada, Colombia, Jordan, Pakistan and South Africa on the occasion of International Literacy Day, celebrated on 8 September. The prize-giving ceremony will be organized at UNESCO Headquarters and be part of the global event. This year’s Literacy Prizes will focus on Literacy in a digital world.

Categories: News

Planting the seed for the love of reading in Jordan

Unesco Most Programme - Wed, 09/06/2017 - 10:24
planting-seed-love-reading-jordan-c-unesco-we_love_reading.jpg © UNESCO/We Love Reading 06 September 2017

The ‘We Love Reading’ programme from Jordan that uses digital technology to spread the love of reading has been awarded the 2017 UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize. 

Concerned about the lack of libraries in Jordan, Rana Dajani, the founder of the ‘We Love Reading’, started the programme in 2006 with the vision of creating a library in every neighbourhood. She wanted to plant the seed for the love of reading in children, and to create the possibility of sustaining access to education in circumstances where formal learning was not possible.

“Literacy expands our horizons to discover the world around us and the inner potential inside us so that we can become change makers and draw upon the courage of the heroes we read about,” she says, explaining her motivation for starting the initiative.

The programme has since expanded to 30 countries around the world and involves 1,000 libraries in 12 governorates in Jordan.  

In 2016, around 20,000 learners, among whom 60 % are women, benefited from the programme.

The programme uses a grassroots mode, which involves volunteers organizing regular read-aloud sessions in public community spaces by the use of age-appropriate books that are attractive, neutral content-wise and in local languages.

A virtual community has been created through a mobile application that connects all of the ‘We Love Reading’ volunteers. The application allows them to share experiences and exchange knowledge to provide and improve the sustainability, quality, monitoring and evaluation of the programme. It also offers online training for volunteers and parents on how to appropriately assist children to read aloud, and provide a digital library with children’s literature. 

Empowering the refugee community through reading

The ‘We Love Reading’ model has been implemented by other communities and under circumstances where formal education has been put on hold such as in refugee camps. Through the programme, refugee community members are empowered by taking charge of the reading circles within the community, and by filling the gap until proper education systems are put into place, which in some circumstances can take months.

“After the training, I started reading stories to the children at the community Centre,” said Gassan, a young boy from Syria who now lives in a Jordanian refugee camp, the Baqaa camp. “They loved the stories and shared them with their families, which caused the crowd to get bigger and bigger. I was really amazed by the influence that reading left on children. Now, we have launched an initiative in collaboration with the community centre manager to clean the streets of the camp. With this initiative, I can tell that the influence of reading has spread not only on children but also on the community around us!”

Rana Dajani supports this idea of encouraging individuals to be change makers, by creating an environment that fosters free thinking and social entrepreneurship. “Literacy helps us learn about others so we understand more and communicate better with each other to build together a better future,” she says. “By providing recognition, credibility and visibility, the Prize will help spread ‘We Love Reading’ around the world to become a social movement and foster the love of reading in every child in every neighbourhood.”

This year’s UNESCO International Literacy Prizes will be awarded to laureates from Canada, Colombia, Jordan, Pakistan and South Africa on the occasion of International Literacy Day, celebrated on 8 September. The prize-giving ceremony will be organized at UNESCO Headquarters and be part of the global event. This year’s Literacy Prizes will focus on Literacy in a digital world.

Categories: News

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