The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), on Wednesday renewed its call for all necessary measures to ensure that crimes committed against journalists are properly investigated, and their perpetrators identified and convicted.
According to new UNESCO data, global impunity rate for journalist killings remains shockingly high at 86 per cent.
The UN cultural agency made the appeal in its message to mark the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists.
A decade ago, countries endorsed the UN action plan which aims to protect journalists, prevent crimes against them, and pursue their perpetrators.
“This groundbreaking document was adopted to acknowledge the vital work journalists do – for example when they report on conflicts and crises, or when they inquire into the workings of power.
“Also, when they investigate corruption and other forms of injustice – as well as the risks they face when doing this,” Ms Audrey Azoulay, the UNESCO Director-General, said.
Much progress has been made since the plan’s adoption, she reported, with concrete measures implemented at the national, regional and global levels.
UNESCO has also played a part, including through training nearly 36,000 judicial, law enforcement and security officials on issues such as freedom of expression and the security of journalists, including online.
However, “journalists continue to be killed at an alarming rate,” Azoulay said.
UNESCO data reveals that 955 journalists have lost their lives over the past decade, and 2022 has been the deadliest year since 2018. Azoulay called for renewed commitment to protecting journalists everywhere, and at all times.
“This means in situations of conflict and crisis, of course, and UNESCO is supporting journalists in Ukraine and Afghanistan, for instance.
“It also means in times of peace – for that is when most journalists have been killed in recent years,” she said.
The UNESCO chief further called for stepping up efforts online, where new forms of violence have surfaced, especially targeting women, with three in four women journalists having experienced online harassment.
UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) says new data shows that 98 million children and youth between the ages of six and 18 worldwide are still out of school in Sub-Sahara Africa.
This is as the new school year begins in many parts of the world.
UNESCO, in new data published online on Thursday, shows that Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region with the most children and youth out of school, with a total of 98 million children.
“It is also the only region where this number is increasing, out-of-school rates are falling more slowly than the rate at which the school-age population is growing.
“The region with the second highest out-of-school population is Central and Southern Asia, with 85 million,’’ it stated.
Globally, the new UNESCO data shows that 244 million children and youth between the ages of six and 18 worldwide are still out of school.
“No one can accept this situation,” Ms Audrey Azoulay, the UNESCO Director-General said, underlining the need to respect every child’s right to education.
“In view of these results, the objective of quality education for all by 2030, set by the United Nations, risks not being achieved,” she warned.
“We need a global mobilisation to place education at the top of the international agenda.
” Azoulay will renew her call at the landmark Transforming Education Summit on Sept.19, at UN Headquarters in New York. UN Secretary-General António Guterres has convened the Summit to mobilise action and solutions, including to reverse learning losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic On a more positive note, the UNESCO data has confirmed that the difference in the rate of girls and boys out of school has closed worldwide.
Back in 2000, the gender gap was 2.5 percentage points among primary school age children, and 3.9 percentage points among their upper secondary school counterparts.
These gaps have been reduced to zero, although regional disparities persist.
Relatedly, four million boys and girls in Ukraine are facing the start of an uncertain school year, the head of the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, said on Thursday.
Catherine Russell concluded a three-day visit to the country, where she met students, parents and teachers scarred by the war, now in its seventh month.
“Children are returning to schools – many of which have been damaged during the war – with stories of destruction, uncertain if their teachers and friends will be there to welcome them.
“Many parents are hesitating to send their children to school, not knowing if they will be safe,” Russell said in a statement.
Thousands of schools across Ukraine have been damaged or destroyed due to the fighting, with less than 60 per cent deemed safe and eligible for reopening.
Russell visited a rehabilitated primary school that had been damaged during the early weeks of the conflict.
Only 300 students can attend at any one time due to the capacity of the school’s bomb shelter, representing a mere 14 per cent of the school’s pre-war capacity.
The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) says it is taking measures to protect some of Ukraine’s priceless heritage from destruction in the face of the Russian invasion.UNESCO noted that the international community also has a duty to help protect and preserve the country’s historic buildings, and other treasures.Since the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine, UNESCO has acted within the framework of its mandate, in particular, to protect culture. The agency released its latest progress report on Tuesday.Although the most pressing priority is the protection of civilian life as the Russian advance continues, Ms Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General, said in a statement that cultural heritage “must be safeguarded as a testimony of the past.“They must be safeguarded as a testimony of the past but also as a catalyst for peace and cohesion for the future, which the international community has a duty to protect and preserve”.The agency is in regular contact with all relevant institutions, as well as with Ukrainian cultural professionals, to assess the situation and to reinforce the protection of cultural properties.“The first challenge is to mark cultural heritage sites and monuments and recall their special status as protected areas under international law,” Azoulay said.According to the statement, the agency is in contact with Ukrainian authorities to mark cultural sites and monuments with the distinctive “Blue Shield” emblem of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, to avoid deliberate or accidental damages.Properties inscribed on World Heritage list, such as Kyiv’s Saint-Sophia Cathedral and Related Monastic Buildings, and Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, are considered a priority.The marking process started last weekend at the site of L’viv’s Historic City Centre, in western Ukraine, where many have fled to following the fighting further east.At the beginning of the conflict the UN cultural agency had called for respect of international humanitarian law – notably the 1954 Hague Convention, and its two Protocols, “to ensure the prevention of damage to cultural heritage in all its forms”.This includes the obligations under Security Council Resolution 2222 on the protection of journalists, media professionals and associated personnel in situations of conflict, to promote free, independent, and impartial media as one of the essential foundations of a democratic society, and which can contribute to the protection of civilians.The looting and destruction of cultural heritage has been a feature of armed conflict, UNESCO noted, for almost as long as the history of warfare itself.In partnership with the UN Institute for Training and Research, UNITAR, UNESCO is also analysing satellite imagery for priority sites, which are endangered or already impacted, in order to assess damage.“As of today, a dozen priority sites are already covered by this monitoring system, including World Heritage Sites”, said Lazare Eloundou Assomo, Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre.Furthermore, the agency has also contacted civil society specialists, “living heritage” professionals and practitioners, regarding the impact of the crisis on the situation of artists and cultural institutions.UNESCO is meeting Thursday with Ukrainian cultural professionals, including World Heritage Site managers and museum directors, to determine what technical or financial assistance can be offered. (NAN)
During his mission in Paris, France, President Wavel Ramkalawan also met with the Director General of UNESCO, Ms. Audrey Azoulay, at UNESCO Headquarters yesterday afternoon.
During their discussions, President Ramkalawan conveyed to Ms. Azoulay the sincere appreciation of the Seychellois people for the long-standing support provided to Seychelles by UNESCO. She highlighted the recent inscription of the 'moutya' dance on the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. He also expressed his gratitude for being named as one of the patrons of the Ocean Decade Alliance together with the Prime Minister of Norway.
“Seychelles is grateful for all the support that UNESCO has given us over the years. My country is immensely proud to host two World Heritage Sites 'Aldabra and Vallée de Mai and a UNESCO Category II Centre: the Seychelles IECD for Early Childhood Development. Recently we also have the 'Moutya Dance', inscribed on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. And as a son of Seychelles, to be named a Patron of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Decade of the Oceans Advisory Board is an honor of the highest order,” said President Ramkalawan.
Accepting the nomination of the Ocean Decade Alliance as a member and sponsor, the President said he strongly believes that ocean science diplomacy has a crucial role to play in facilitating the emergence and application of the science needed to support ocean governance. and its management at all levels. . “UNESCO, especially through the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, has provided able and sustained leadership in this and related areas. Seychelles will continue to provide the IOC with the support that is required in the pursuit of our common endeavor and in the implementation of the goals of the Decade of the Oceans.”
For her part, DG UNESCO, Ms. Azoulay, congratulated Seychelles for its various achievements in promoting climate change despite being a Small Island Developing State (SIDS). She further reaffirmed UNESCO's commitment to advancing SIDS priorities and echoing the vulnerabilities faced by small island nations on the world stage.
The meeting was also an opportunity to discuss new avenues of cooperation and how Seychelles can further benefit from key UNESCO programs and frameworks. Therefore, further promoting the agendas of mutual interests, not only for the country but also for the greater good of the SIDS community, the world and humanity.
Launch of COVID-19 information portal for media professionals is a timely initiativeNAIROBI, Kenya, October 11, 2021 / APO Group / -
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, misinformation / misinformation, misinformation, myths and hate speech have increased, spreading even faster than the virus itself across various platforms. To address this emerging threat, UNESCO has partnered with the Kenya Media Council to develop a national COVID-19 information portal for media professionals.
Launched on October 4, 2021, this initiative, part of the UNESCO-European Union funded project #CoronavirusFacts to fight against “deinfodemia” on COVID-19 is designed to serve as a one-stop-shop for media professionals and the public to access factual, credible, and authentic information on the pandemic and other related issues in a timely manner.
The development of this platform is a major step led by the Kenya Media Council to promote access to information as a public good, a vital step in this time of pandemic, as it encourages and promotes journalism responsible and professional, facilitating access and sharing. reliable information and anti-disinformation / disinformation based on government publications, documents and reports and statistics on the pandemic in Kenya.
During his opening speech, the Hon. Mutahi Kagwe, Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Health, recalled misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic and false reports that vaccines do not work: “The launch of the COVID-19 information portal for media professionals is a timely initiative. This will ensure the provision of timely, factual and accurate information to the public and expand the scope and quality of pandemic coverage. "
He further commended UNESCO for its continued support to the media sector, recalling that this pandemic requires well-coordinated public communication with factual, authentic and credible information that will inspire and instill the discipline to face and counter it in our communities. local communities.
Hon. Joe Mucheru, Kenya Cabinet Secretary for ICT, Innovation and Youth, hailed the development and launch of a COVID-19 information portal for media professionals as timely to address the many challenges associated with to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The development of this information portal is a step towards enabling the provision of credible information on the pandemic in Kenya. False information has resulted in loss of life and destroyed livelihoods. It also caused reluctance to be vaccinated. He echoed.
He further said that the role of the media as a watchdog of society and a source of factual, verifiable and authentic information is essential at this time. As a result, reporting and media coverage of the pandemic raised awareness, resulting in positive behavior change and subsequent reduction in infection rates in the country.
Mr. David Omwoyo, Director General of the Kenya Media Council thanked UNESCO for its continued support to the Kenya Media Council and praised the platform as a capacity building and networking tool: “This Information portal that we are launching today will serve as an essential tool and a means of building the capacity of media professionals and will also provide networking opportunities between journalists and key players in the health sector.
Professor Hubert Gijzen, UNESCO Regional Director for East Africa, reiterated UNESCO's commitment to promote access to information as a fundamental human right and to continue to support the media sector and civil society organizations to tackle disinformation / disinformation around the COVID-19 pandemic in Kenya. “Access to information alone is not enough. Beyond simple access to information, we need information that is verified, relevant and reliable, but also available in languages and formats that people understand. This is why we are particularly excited about this COVID-19 online clearinghouse, which will also provide localized information to different audiences in English and Kiswahili. We hope this will be extended to other local languages spoken in Kenya, including Braille and Sign Language - remember, we have promised to leave no one behind. He said.
It further amplified UNESCO's advocacy role, with its partners, to promote access to information as a public good, essential for better progress. In this regard, he shared a quote from the Message of the Director-General of UNESCO, Ms Audrey Azoulay, on the occasion of the International Day for Universal Access to Information (September 28).
“At UNESCO, we firmly believe that access to information must be recognized as a pillar of sustainable development, and as a precondition for the promotion and protection of all human rights”, Ms. Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO.
About the #CoronavirusFacts project:
Based on the central premise that information is the opposite of disinformation, UNESCO's #CoronavirusFacts project leverages the central role of freedom of expression and access to information to meet the needs of information in times of COVID-19 and to fight the massive wave of disinformation that threatens democracy, sustainable development and stability around the world. Funded by the European Union, the project supports the capacity of professional, diverse and independent media to report on the pandemic; strengthen local fact-checking organizations to demystify disinformation; and enables young people and other citizens to critically process what they read and hear related to COVID-19 through training in media and information literacy.
UN says protection of media, essential for democracy to thrive
Lagos, Nov. 3, 2020 When you safeguard independent media, you are protecting the country’s democracy, says Ronald Kayanja, Director, United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Nigeria.
Kayanja spoke at a virtual event held to commemorate the 2020 International Day to End Impunity For Crimes Against Journalists.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the event was organised by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), in collaboration with UNIC, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Penpushing Media, a private media house.
Kayanja said that journalists, journalism and media houses must be protected by all means.
He said that attacks on journalists and media houses were a cause for concern and called on authorities to investigate such cases while allowing the relevant arms of the law to bring justice in those situations.
“One way to fight fake news and hate speech which are pervasive through digital media is to strengthen the independent media.
“Just like support is being provided for other sectors of the economy, to build back a better media the industry should also be supported.
“During this pandemic, journalists are also frontline workers, bringing us news updates and briefings.
“We commend the authorities who, even during the lockdown, recognised the importance of journalism and allowed journalists to move around freely,” he said.
Kayanja said that when journalists did not feel safe, citizens would either not get news reports or get distorted and false news.
He suggested that a way to ensure the safety of journalists was to cause the wheels of justice to move speedily whenever a journalist, or media house was attacked.
“We all need to work together to protect journalism and the media.
“Let us renew our commitment to this freedom of expression and of the press through increased advocacy for the safety of journalists,” he said.
Mr Sow Lamine , Officer-in-charge, UNESCO Regional Office in Abuja said that peace, justice and sustainable development in societies could be advanced only by speaking truth to power.
He said this required concerted efforts by the executive, law enforcement agencies and the judiciary to push for appropriate legislation and develop strong accountability framework that would eliminate impunity against journalists.
“If you protect journalists, you are protecting the truth,” he said.
Ms Audrey Azoulay, Director General, UNESCO, in her message delivered by Lamine, said that one of the most important roles of journalists was to bring truth to light.
“For many journalists, telling the truth comes with a price.
“Many have lost their lives while covering conflicts, but more are being killed outside of conflict situations for investigating issues including corruption, trafficking, political wrongdoings and others.
“States, therefore, have an obligation to protect journalists and ensure that the perpetrators of crimes against them are held accountable.
“Judges and prosecutors in particular have an important role to play in promoting swift and effective criminal proceedings,” she said.
Also, Mrs Funke Fadugba, Chairman, Editorial Board of Penpushing Media, said that owners of media houses had a role to play in terms of job security and welfare packages for journalists.
“If journalists are not well remunerated, there is a tendency for some of them to be compromised.
“We need to uphold professionalism because it is when we are unbiased that we can collectively fight impunity for crimes against journalists,” she said.
Dr Jide Jimoh, Head of Department Journalism at the Lagos State University said that the role of the media had been long recognised by governments and stakeholders must guide the press against authoritarian governments worldwide.
He urged the media to self-regulate and keep to the best standards of ethics and professionalism.
“Governments must realise the sacrosanct role of the media in society and recognise that where the press is free, society is safe.
“It is futile to gag the press, especially in the age of digital media,” he said.
The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), 2020 Global Education Monitoring (GEM), report says that nearly 40 per cent of poor countries have failed to support learning in the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report, which supports inclusion in education for all, showed that fewer than 10 per cent of countries had laws that helped to ensure full inclusion in education.
It provided an in-depth analysis of key factors for exclusion of learners in education systems worldwide while schools shutdown, including background, identity, beliefs and ability, among other criteria.
GEM 2020 report is the fourth annual report to monitor progress across 209 countries, including Nigeria, in achieving the education targets adopted by UN Member States in the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development.
It noted that 258 million children and youth were entirely excluded from education, with poverty as the main obstacle to access.
“In low and middle income countries, adolescents from the richest 20 per cent of all households were three times as likely to complete lower secondary school against those from the poorest homes.
“Among those who did complete lower secondary education, students from the richest households were twice as likely to have basic reading and mathematics skills as those from the poorest households.
“In spite of the proclaimed target of universal upper secondary completion by 2030, hardly any poor rural young women complete secondary school in at least 20 countries, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa,” it said.
Also according to the report, 10-year-old students in middle and high-income countries who were taught in a language other than their mother tongue typically scored 34 per cent below native speakers in reading tests.
GEM report stated that in 10 low and middle-income countries, children with disabilities were found to be 19 per cent less likely to achieve minimum proficiency in reading than those without disabilities.
The report also noted that two African countries still banned pregnant girls from school, 117 allowed child marriages, while 20 had yet to ratify the Convention of International Labour Organisation adopted by 138 countries, which banned child labour.
“In several Central and Eastern European countries, Roman children were segregated in mainstream schools in Asia, displaced people were taught in parallel education systems.
“In Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries, more than two-thirds of students from immigrant backgrounds attended schools where they made up at least 50 per cent of the student population, which reduced their chance of academic success.
“Just 41 countries worldwide officially recognised sign language and, globally, schools were more eager to get internet access than to cater for learners with disabilities.
“Some 335 million girls attended schools that did not provide them with the water, sanitation and hygiene services they required to continue attending class during menstruation.
It further said that when learners are inadequately represented in curricula and textbooks, they can feel alienated, adding that almost half of low and middle-income countries do not collect enough education data about children with disabilities.
UNESCO GEM report team, however, launched a new website, PEER, with information on laws and policies concerning inclusion in education for every country in the world.
PEER shows that many countries still practice education segregation, which reinforces stereotyping, discrimination and alienation.
The report and its PEER website noted that many countries were using positive, innovative approaches to ensure transition toward inclusion.
According to the GEM report, many countries are setting up resource centres for multiple schools and enabling mainstream establishments to accommodate children from special schools.
It added that some countries were using itinerant teachers to reach under-served populations, while others were also seen to go out of their way to accommodate different learners’ needs.
“Odisha state in India, used 21 tribal languages in its classrooms, Kenya adjusted its curriculum to the nomadic calendar.
“In Australia, the curricula of 19 per cent of students were adjusted by teachers so that their expected outcomes could match students’ needs,” it said.
The report on the PEER website revealed that teachers needed and wanted training on inclusion, which fewer than one in 10 primary school teachers in 10 Francophone countries in sub-Saharan Africa said they had received.
“A quarter of teachers across 48 countries reported they wanted more training on teaching students with special needs,” it said.
Ms Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General of UNESCO, however, said that rising to the challenges of our time, a move towards more inclusive education was imperative.
According to Azoulay, rethinking the future of education is more important following the COVID-19 pandemic, which further widened and put a spotlight on inequalities.
She said that failure to act would hinder the progress of societies.
Mr Manos Antoninis, Director of the GEM Report, reiterated that “COVID-19 has given us a real opportunity to think afresh about our education systems.
“Moving to a world that values and welcomes diversity won’t happen overnight because there is an obvious tension between teaching all children under the same roof and creating an environment where students learn best.
“COVID-19 has showed us that there is scope to do things differently, if we put our minds to it.”
On the dearth of data, Antoninis stated that inadequate data meant the world was missing a huge part of the picture and the inequalities suddenly got exposed during COVID-19 surprisingly.
GEM Report urged countries to focus on those left behind as schools reopen so as to foster more resilient and equal societies.
The report included material for a digital campaign, “All means All”, which promotes a set of key recommendations for the next 10 years.
Edited By: Shittu Obassa/Donald Ugwu (NAN)