“The funding systems of press and media councils says a lot about how these bodies function and how they view the question of their independence. Such analysis was also much needed to discuss the sustainability of media self-regulation mechanisms,” said Adeline Hulin, UNESCO Project Officer at the conference in Budapest.
This survey was undertook within the framework of the UNESCO EU funded project "Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey" which contributes to strengthening the functioning and visibility of press and media councils in this region. The project provides direct funding to media self-regulation mechanisms together with some support for them to adapt to new digital challenges and enhance their outreach towards media readers and viewers. This has proven very successful. Press councils in South East Europe are increasingly used by citizens, have amended some of their statutes and guidelines to adapt the digital world, or have seen an increase in the number of media adhering voluntarily to the system of media self-regulation.
The survey aims at highlighting best practices to guarantee the financial independence and sustainability of press and media councils. This remains a major concern for self-regulatory bodies in South East Europe. But not only. As the economic crisis and the drop in advertising revenues severely hits media revenues around the world, the budget of many media councils has severely been impacted. A session of the AIPCE annual meeting was hence dedicated to this sensitive issue.
Results of the survey (available in the attached article), show that few mechanisms are in place to guarantee the financial sustainability of press councils in Europe and elsewhere, even the ones in place for decades. Most of these bodies rely on the good will of their members or even sometime apply yearly to receive some indirect state subsidies. While the need for media self-regulation and media ethics has never been so high in a context of shrinking trust in media, many press councils are faced with founders unable to enhance their contributions.
The survey highlights that examples of tangible mechanisms guaranteeing either the independence or the sustainability of press and media councils should be searched in statutory media self-regulatory systems where the State acknowledges and or supports this system. However, such a statutory media self-regulation system bears some risks in certain political context, as it might hamper media freedom in the long end.
With over 4.000 young women and men trained, 150 active members in 9 countries, 7 national youth policies revised or implemented, 12 studies on youth needs and aspiration produced, and a lot of exchange and networking experiences takin place across the Mediterranean, 2017 wraps up on a high note for UNESCO’s Networks of Mediterranean Youth (NET-MED Youth) Project !
“Supporting youth in the Southern Mediterranean region is vital,” says Nada Al-Nashif, Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences at UNESCO. “Today’s youth are transforming their societies. We must harness their energies, capacities and ideas as partners for a common future built on peace, social justice and human rights.”
Since its launch in February 2014, NET-MED Youth has trained over 4,000 young people in policy analysis, dialogue, strategic planning, advocacy, media, freedom of expression, communication, labor market policies and much more. The young members of the project make up today a strong regional network, with remarkable connections to its northern Mediterranean neighbors.
“NET-MED Youth is not just a project, it is a vision and a network that UNESCO has put in place for young people to become active players in change and development processes in their countries,” says Souria Saad-Zoy, Project Manager and Youth Programme Specialist at UNESCO. “The young people and youth organizations we have been partnering with inspire us to continue to strengthen a solid platform for youth to be leaders and actors of innovation.”
Several key initiatives and achievements illustrate the uniqueness of NET-MED Youth, one of UNESCO’s flagship European Union-funded projects.
In Tunisia, a pilot digital platform Jeun’Experts (young experts) puts a 100 active young people in the spotlight, with expertise in the fields of economics, politics, social and cultural dynamics, and media. The platform promotes their participation in public debate and a plural, fair and objective treatment of youth issues in the media and in the public sphere. In Lebanon, an online database was created by young people to highlight young professionals and experts. NET-MED Youth has also positioned youth from different countries in the region as opinion leaders on key youth-related issues such as on cultural heritage protection, the SDGs and the Youth, Peace and Security Agenda.
At the level of public policies, young project members and coordinators have invested a lot of effort in the development and revision of national youth strategies in different countries. The first national youth policy was launched in Palestine after a series of trainings and consultations with youth. Young members from Morocco revised their national youth strategy and are currently working on adapting it to a pilot locality. Young Tunisians are in the phase of implementing their own national strategy. Jordanian youth are building a new one. And youth in Israel and Lebanon have built a large body of research and knowledge that will allow them to move on to the next stages.
On the media front, NET-MED Youth members have led over 50 outreach actions that connected them to more than 100 national media outlets. These outreach and advocacy campaigns are one of the many results of trainings and regional and international learning opportunities for youth to ensure a better representation of their issues in mainstream media. Young members of NET-MED Youth are now trained in media monitoring, research and methodologies, advocacy, campaigning, media production and much more, to be the leaders and creators of inclusive and youth-friendly media content.
The issue of youth unemployment has always been present in all of NET-MED Youth’s work. Both young people and national experts and institutions in the project’s beneficiary countries have learned a lot from capacity-building sessions about employment policy design. The first sets of skills projections on youth future skills needs are now produced in several countries.
NET-MED Youth is more than the above-mentioned initiatives. It is a mass of young people, whose every-day lives are boosted by civic engagement, learning and making an impact. These young people, members of the project and other actors of civil society, are today’s superheroes. NET-MED Youth has succeeded in rallying young people beyond its initial working groups to develop their communities, to speak out, to be part of change, and to build tomorrow today.
The project will continue until March 2018, laying the ground for a potential second phase, with the same energy and passion, and with an openness to further build relationships around the Mediterranean basin countries – north and south – and engage more youth around common actions for a more inclusive and a more sustainable future for all.
Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General of UNESCO, today condemned the killing of television presenter Mohamed Ibrahim Gabow in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, on 11 December.
“I condemn the killing of Mohamed Ibrahim Gabow,” said the Director-General. “I call on the Somali authorities to spare no effort in bringing to trial those responsible for this attack on the human rights of freedom of expression and freedom of information.”
Gabow, a Mogadishu-based news presenter for Kalsan TV, died in the explosion of a device planted in a car.
In the spirit of Article 1 of the Constitution of UNESCO, the Director-General of the Organization issues statements on violations of press freedoms, condemning the killing of media workers, in line with its action to take forward the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.
These statements are posted on a dedicated webpage, UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists.
Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, email@example.com, +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…”
The UNESCO partner of the project “Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey” the Ethical Journalism Network (EJN) undertook two missions in October 2017 to strengthen media good governance in Montenegro and in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The missions aimed at promoting the use of ethical media audits (available here) as part of a self-reporting process to help media management becoming more efficient and accountable.
UNESCO aims at supporting a constructive dialogue between all media players and organizations in the region, through this project. “Building confidence from top to bottom of the media system in Montenegro and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is essential to ensure meaningful reform of the sector and the building of public trust in journalism”, said EJN Director Aidan White.
“Inappropriate and hidden relations between media and politics – whether governmental or not – are an important challenge for media professionals across the globe. In countries where media markets are small and public advertising is an important source of income, a fragile media economy can lead to corrupt relations between media and corporate and political interest,” said EJN expert Bernt Olufsen to highlight the importance of improving media good governance..
On 18 October 2018, Aidan White EJN Director and the Norwegian expert, Bernt Olufsen held an initial launch meeting with the assistance of the EU Information Centre in Podgorica and to which international organisations, media support groups and relevant media were invited. This was followed on 19 and 20 October by a series of nine in-office interviews held with editors in chief and publishers of Vjesti (representing newspaper, television and online platforms); Dan daily newspaper including online service; PRV TV; RTCG, the major public service network, covering radio, television and online services; Pobjeda daily newspaper including online portal Analytica; Dnevne Novine daily newspaper including online portal Café Montenegro; Radio Antena M (including online); and Monitor weekly.
Bernt Olufsen, joined by EJN Co-ordinator for the region Danica Illic, also visited the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and met with representatives from different kind of media: newspapers, radio, TV and online news portals and people from different media organisations and educational institutions. They met with the press council, Koha Daily Newspaper, TV 21, MKD Portal, TV Telma, Nova Makedonia, and two branches of MTV, the public broadcaster. Olufsen explained in detail the importance of media managements taking responsibility for transparency and good governance and he used the example of how Norwegian media companies are trying to open themselves up to greater public scrutiny.
The UNESCO Project Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey is funded by the European Commission and UNESCO. The project seeks to strengthen media self-regulation system as well as improve the internal governance of media organizations based on the commitment of media owners and editors to respect clearly defined professional and labour standards.
Finland renewed its support to UNESCO’s flagship Capacity Development for Education programme (CapED) as well as to the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) with the signing of funding agreements totalling 2.4 million Euros today.
“I measure the importance of your gesture, and would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Finnish Government for its strong trust in the Organization,” said Director-General Audrey Azoulay during the signing ceremony with Finland’s Ambassador and Permanent Delegate, H.E. Mr Pekka Puustinen.
“You can count on Finland as well as all the other Nordic countries’ support,” Ambassador Puustinen said. “Despite the cuts that occurred in 2015 in the budget for development cooperation (ODA), the Finnish Government maintained its voluntary contributions to UNESCO, and we will even do our best to increase them in the future,” he added. The Ambassador also noted that the prevention of violent extremism is “close to the heart” of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and praised UNESCO’s expertise in this area, noting that Finland is using UNESCO’s materials on this theme.
© UNESCO/C. Alix
Finland is one of the founding donors of the CapED Programme, launched in 2003. Since then, its contribution has amounted to $10.4 million (USD), accounting for 11% of the $91 million (USD) received by the programme to date. The funding underpins UNESCO’s direct role in supporting the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 4, Quality Education, at the national level by providing capacity development and education system strengthening in some 25 Least Developed Countries. The programme places special focus on Technical and Vocational Education and Training, as well as Gender.
Finland is also playing a leading role in the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), thanks to its continued financial support, hands-on involvement as an IPDC Council member and cooperation to promote access to information through the IPDC Talks programme. Finland´s first access to information law, approved more than 250 years ago, is a model for countries seeking to ensure the highest standards for citizen access to information.
From Somalia to Guatemala, Jordan to Thailand, UNESCO’s work and efforts are fuelled by inspiring stories from around the world on the transformative power of education. Behind all the facts and figures on education and the progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, there are real people around the world whose fates are being altered every day by learning opportunities.
In Somalia, seventeen-year old Fardowsa is among the young women who benefitted from a literacy and life skills project implemented by UNESCO. “I am a very different person ever since I have been able to read and write,” she says. “My family trusts me with their business since I am able to calculate money and do the business transaction, as result of the knowledge I gained through this programme.” (Read more)
© UNESCO Islamabad
In Pakistan, seven-year-old Shehzad goes to a UNESCO-supported school in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. His community in this remote part of the country has long suffered from natural disasters and internal displacement, amplifying the problems of limited access to basic services that already existed in this region. UNESCO is helping promote inclusive education in remote areas of Pakistan to ensure that children like Shehzad have access to quality education. (Read more)
In Kenya, a UNESCO project aims to promote health education of students and in Nairobi’s Kibera informal settlement through effective health education in schools. Linda was born and raised in Kibera, one of the largest and most densely populated areas in Kenya. “Life is so challenging here,” she says. Like many youth in her surrounding, this young woman did not get a chance to finish her secondary education because of her unintended pregnancy. She is now getting a second chance at learning. (Read more)
© Taweepon Kingkaew_TrueCorp
Thailand, UNESCO has been implementing a mobile literacy for out-of-school children to provide quality education for marginalized children along the Thai-Myanmar border through mobile learning and ICT devices. Thirteen-year-old Chit Ko, who’s benefited from the project, is now not only at the top of his class, but has also finished at the top of his entire state’s exams. (Read more)
In Jordan, a UNESCO scholarship programme is encouraging a student with disability to keep dreaming. “I see this program as a great opportunity; I can get a job after completing the course despite my health situation,” says twenty-one-year–old Hadeel. “This opportunity helped me to continue my studies which will support me in securing a job.” (Read more)
The same scholarship programme has also allowed Mustafa continue his civil engineering studies. “I saw this program as a great opportunity,” says the Syrian student who arrived in Jordan in 2012. (Read more)
© UNESCO Abuja - Learners attend a digital literacy class in Cross River State
In Nigeria, UNESCO’s “Revitalizing Adult and Youth Literacy” Project (RAYL) established a pilot digital literacy programme to tackle the high illiteracy level in the country. The RAYL aims to provide basic literacy skills for adults and youth who have been excluded from the formal educational system. “I stopped going to school when I was in third grade,” says Atim, a young man who started taking digital literacy classes. “I can now read well, count my money and produce receipts to my customers,” he says. (Read more)
© UNESCO Guatemala
In Guatemala, Francisca had no choice but to leave school when reached third grade. She started working in the fields and taking care of her siblings to help her parents. Indigenous girls like Francisca, adolescents and young women will assert their right to education in two UNESCO Malala Centres in Totonicapán, which will be created as part of a new project set to start in 2018. (Read more)
Ushering in the New Year, UNESCO continues its mission to change people’s livelihoods and minds through the power of education – as it has for the last 72 years.
“What if we all governed the Internet? And what if we did not?” Discussing about Internet governance and multistakeholder participation, participants of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) insisted on the “crucial need to institutionalize the multistakeholder approach in Internet governance at the national, regional and global levels”.
UNESCO launched the 11th edition of its Series on Internet Freedom titled What if we all governed the Internet? Advancing multistakeholder participation in Internet governance during a session held on 17 December 2017 at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Geneva, Switzerland. With the presence of Benedicto Fonseca, the Brazilian Ambassador for Internet issues as well as Frank La Rue, UNESCO’s ADG for Communication and Information, the Organization presented the study which unpacks assumptions on how the Internet is shaped and stresses the ongoing relevance of involving multiple actors in the development of a collaborative and sustainable Internet.
UNESCO representatives Guy Berger and Xianhong Hu, opened and moderated the session, highlighting that the study was elaborated in an effort to implement UNESCO’s Internet Universality framework which advocates for a Human rights-based, Open and Accessible Internet, governed by Multi-stakeholder participation (the R-O-A-M principles). It responds more specifically to the action recommended by the CONNECTing the Dots Outcome Document that UNESCO “supports Member States in ensuring that Internet policy and regulation involves the participation of all stakeholders, and integrates international human rights and gender equality”.
Frank La Rue, UNESCO’s ADG for Communication and Information, gave the welcoming remarks and thanked the Internet Society (ISOC), represented by Constance Bommelaer de Leusse, and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), represented by Chris Disspain, for their support.
As pointed out by Anri van der Spuy, independent expert commissioned for the research, “our understanding of multistakeholder participation in Internet governance must adapt to meet new challenges as the Internet becomes more central to knowledge societies”. To strengthen UNESCO’s role in the field, this Study provides the results of a comprehensive investigation of the evolution of multistakeholder participation in Internet governance in theory and in practice. Four good practices are assessed, covering the Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet), the Marco Civil da Internet, legal challenges in South Korea and the Internet Governance Forum’s “best practice forum on Gender”.
Referring to her experience in Kenya, Grace Githaiga (KICTANet) said that “there is no single multistakeholder approach and each experience is linked to a specific context”. She also mentioned that “we should keep realistic expectations from these approaches”. Jac SM Kee from the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) then talked about the ways in which the multistakeholder approach “helped recognize online gender-based violence” in the IGF context.
If participants said that the current trend is “turning in favor of the multistakeholder approach”, they also raised the issue of the legal challenges as well as the need to “institutionalize multistakeholder dialogue in order to guarantee common standards in practice”.
At the end of the session, Guy Berger and Benedicto Fonseca, Brazilian Ambassador for Internet issues, took the opportunity to launch the Portuguese and Spanish versions of UNESCO’s publication Keystones to foster inclusive knowledge societies: access to information and knowledge, freedom of expression, privacy and ethics on a global Internet. This work was made possible thanks to the contribution of the Regional Center for Studies on the Development of the Information Society (Cetic.br).
The publication and a summary information brochure are available at: https://en.unesco.org/unesco-series-on-internet-freedom.
The publication Keystones to foster inclusive knowledge societies: access to information and knowledge, freedom of expression, privacy and ethics on a global Internet is now available in Spanish and Portuguese. The study is also available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, and Russian.
During the Internet Governance Forum 2017, a UNESCO delegation headed by ADG CI will convene four sessions on Internet Universality indicators, multistakeholder practices in Internet governance, artificial intelligence and big data and world trends in freedom of expression and media development. Several bilateral meetings are also organized with key stakeholders.
UNESCO has launched the Spanish and Portuguese versions of its publication Keystones to foster inclusive Knowledge Societies: Access to information and knowledge, Freedom of Expression, Privacy and Ethics on a Global internet, during a session on multistakeholder participation held at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) on 17 December, 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland.
With the presence of Brazilian Ambassador for Internet issues Benedicto Fonseca, UNESCO released the Spanish and Portuguese versions of its Internet Study at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Geneva, Switzerland.
Welcoming the two new versions of the publication, Guy Berger, UNESCO’s Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development, said: “Given the great interest of Spanish and Portuguese-speaking Member States in Internet governance, it is very positive that UNESCO is now able to offer this study in languages that are accessible to most citizens in these countries.”
Providing major insights on the concept of Internet Universality, the study set the ground for the R-O-A-M principles’ framework which advocates for an Internet that is Human Rights-based, Open, Accessible to all and nurtured by Multi-stakeholder participation. As such, "it comprises key concepts for policymakers, private sector representatives and other key actors" said Dr. Alexandre Barbosa, manager at the Regional Center for Studies on the Development of the Information Society (Cetic.br).
The research builds upon a series of UNESCO studies and reports on the Internet and Knowledge Societies. It draws upon an intensive consultation process, which included a series of UNESCO meetings with multiple stakeholders, and the analysis of 200 responses to a global questionnaire on the four keystones and the crosscutting issues of the Internet Study, the majority from Latin America and the Caribbean.
The results of the study reinforce the growing awareness of how the digital revolution is influencing all spheres of public and private life. More and more personal and public information is collected, stored, processed and shared electronically. All this brings with it unparalleled opportunities for social and sustainable economic development, especially around information and communication technologies for development, as well as diverse challenges in areas including access, freedom of expression, privacy and ethics.
The study which was first published in 2015, is now at the basis of UNESCO's new project to define Internet Universality indicators. This initiative aims to develop indicators for governments and other stakeholders to measure Internet development at the national level and promote the norms and values based on the R-O-A-M principles.
The translations were made possible thanks to the contribution of the Regional Center for Studies on the Development of the Information Society (Cetic.br), a UNESCO Category II Centre located in San Paulo, Brazil.
The Namibia Media Trust (NMT) became the first African donor to support the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. The organization will commit total funds of US$ 10,000 for 2018-2019.The prize is a recognition of the work of journalists who have fought for the defense and promotion of press freedom and freedom of expression the world over.
The Namibia Media Trust has supported a free and self-sustainable media climate in Africa where independent media can prosper and contribute to the building of inclusive societies. The activities of the Namibia Media Trust cover policy interventions and advocacy, research on ICT policies and capacity building for journalists and media professionals.
“Through its contribution to the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, the Namibia Media Trust remains true to its objectives, which are to promote media freedom, freedom of expression and access to information in Namibia and beyond. UNESCO is a longstanding partner and we are proud, as an African organization, to showcase our commitment to press freedom through this effort”, said Zoe Titus, Strategic coordinator at the Namibia Media Trust when signing the two-year agreement.
She also explained the reason for their commitment by stressing the importance of investigative journalism. “It’s in our interest to deepen and promote media as a credible source of information, a spotlight on abuse and injustice, a driver of growth and an important platform for citizens’ voices”, she noted.
The initiative is compelling for UNESCO considering that this is the first donation that comes from Sub-Saharan Africa for the prize. “We are proud that an African organization joins us for the first time as a supporter of the prize,” said Sylvie Coudray, Chief of the Freedom of Expression Section at UNESCO.
“By the virtue of the Namibia Media Trust’s actions, we have more empowered voices of Africa in the field of press freedom. NMT’s support to the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano Prize will be a step forward for UNESCO in building key partnerships and a new step for a key African institution to participate in the global agenda on freedom of expression,” Coudray added.
A key milestone has been the Windhoek Declaration in 1991, and since then, UNESCO has regarded media freedom in its programmes as one of the fundamental conditions to ensure sustainable democracy and protection of human rights. The Trust’s donation will be a direct contribution to the spirit of the Windhoek Declaration and shed a new light on regional challenges in Africa to empower African voices.
In Sylvie Coudray’s words, “the Declaration, a statement of press freedom principles written by African newspaper journalists, has become the groundwork for stakeholders in the media sector as well as for UNESCO’s activities in the field of Freedom of Expression”.