UNESCO Conference on the safety of female journalists in the digital sphere; PEN.org Artists at Risk Connection

Emblem of the United Nations / Public Domain

“Attacks on women journalists represent a clear challenge to SDG 5 on gender equality, and to SDG 16.10 which calls for public access to information and fundamental freedoms (and has an indicator specifically on safety of journalists)” UNESCO



“The increase in attacks against female journalists and the specific threats faced by women journalists, including sexual harassment and violence, both online and offline, is a growing concern. With countless victims of violence and intimidation, there is a pressing need to explore new ways to reinforce the safety of women journalists on the ground.

“UNESCO has a leadership role in the implementation of the UN Plan of Action for the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. The General Conference at its 39th session invited the Director-General to reinforce activities aimed at addressing the specific threats to the safety of women journalists, both online and offline. The event is a Member State-driven initiative, in close cooperation with the UNESCO Secretariat.”


A conference on the safety of female journalists in the digital sphere, Mobilizing against online harassment of women journalists — What solutions?, will take place at UNESCO Headquarters on 18 June (3-6 p.m.).

Female journalists are three time more likely than their male colleagues to be targets of attacks, humiliations or threats online. UNESCO is seeking ways to respond to the upsurge in violence that threatens the profession by bringing together journalists, political decision-makers, lawyers and media professionals to examine the issues involved at the conference.

Several women journalists from different parts of the world will share their experiences to illustrate how cyber attacks seek to undermine their work, the dangers harassment poses to freedom of expression, and envisage ways to tackle the problem.

The event is organized at the initiative of several Member States of the Group of Friends for the Safety of Journalists at UNESCO.

As the lead agency in the implementation of the United Nations Action Plan for the Safety of Journalists, UNESCO is combating the worrying rise in attacks on journalists, particularly women. These attacks do not only threaten the fundamental right of access to information but also the right of women to exercise their professional activities in a safe and decent environment.

Programme and more

People wishing to attend the event are invited to contact Saorla McCabe, Division of Freedom of Expression and Media Development, s.mccabe@unesco.org(link sends e-mail); +33 (0)145680962


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ARTISTS AT RISK CONNECTION (ARC)

PEN.org’s ARC is a collaboration of artistic freedom organizations worldwide. It serves artists of all disciplines: visual artists, musicians, filmmakers, performance artists, writers, and other individuals who produce significant creative output in any medium. Assistance is quite diversified.  Details HERE.

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“ARC is a collaborative project led by PEN America, which has been committed to protecting open expression in the United States and worldwide since 1922. PEN America, a champion of the freedom to write, stands at the intersection of literature and human rights. It is the largest of more than 140 centers of PEN International.

“ARC serves as a hub for freedom of expression and artistic freedom organizations worldwide, networking together to support artists at risk. Visit Our Network page to see some of our key partners worldwide or go directly to our Find Help page to search our network database.”


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A homebound writer, poet, and former columnist and associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove, I Am Not a Silent Poet, The Compass Rose and California Woman. I run The Poet by Day, an info hub for poets and writers and am the founding/managing editor of The BeZine.


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton



 

Critical Minds, Critical Times: UNESCO World Press Freedom Day

Critical Minds for Critical Times: The media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies is the theme of UNESCO’s main celebration of this year’s World Press Freedom Day, May 3rd. The event will take place in Jakarta, Indonesia, from May 1-4.


The program of the four-day conference has been designed to raise awareness of the importance of free and fact based journalism in promoting peace and justice, and supporting the efficiency, accountability and inclusiveness of institutions, in line with the Sixteenth United Nations Sustainable Development Goal. The event is organized with the Government of Indonesia and the Indonesian Press Council.

“SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 16:Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.” United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Division of Sustainable Development MORE

The May 3 celebration will be opened by Jusuf Kalla, Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia, and Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO. It will feature a plenary session on Quality journalism: a public good for just, peaceful and inclusive societies and six parallel sessions on subjects spanning media and information as a bulwark against hate speech, inclusiveness and gender equality, and violent extremism. A specific session will be dedicated to Press Freedom in Southeast Asia.

In the evening of May 3 Ms Bokova will award the 2017 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize to Dawit Isaak, the imprisoned Eritrean-born journalist who will be represented by his daughter, Bethelem Isaak, during a ceremony that will be hosted by Joko Widodo, the President of Indonesia.


“Dawit Isaak (born 28 October 1964) is a Swedish-Eritrean playwright, journalist and writer, who has been held in prison in Eritrea since 2001 without trial and is considered a traitor by the Eritrean government. Amnesty International considers him a prisoner of conscience and has called for his immediate and unconditional release. For years, he was the only Swedish citizen held as a prisoner of conscience. He is now joined by the Swedish citizen and publicist Gui Minhai who was abducted by Chinese agents from Thailand in October 2015 and has been held prisoner in China since that time.” Wikipedia MORE

Dawit Isaak story, Free Dawit


The morning of May 4 will be dedicated to a second plenary session entitled Spotlight on investigative journalism: Perspectives from Southeast Asia and beyond. It will be followed by six parallel sessions on subjects including the impact of fake news on journalism, journalists’ safety and internet universality.

Artistic freedom, a principle enshrined in UNESCO’s Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, will be the focus of three sessions on May 2 and 4.

Notable speakers to address the conference will include José Ramos-Horta, Former President of Timor-Leste and 1996 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Richard Gingras, Vice President of News at Google, and Oscar Cantu Murguia, editor of Norte, the Mexican newspaper that had to close down operations this month following the killing of one of its journalists.

The main concerns and principles expressed during the four-day conference will be reflected in a declaration, the Jakarta Declaration, that participants are expected to adopt at the close of the event.

Also in Jakarta on May 3 and 4, Hong Kong Baptist University will host a conference about academic research into issues pertaining to the safety of journalists with participants from many countries.

Some thirty partners are contributing to World Press Freedom Day 2017 in Jakarta with events that will feature training sessions, workshops and roundtable discussions and are expected to draw more than 1,200 participants.

Approximately eighty other Press Freedom events are being organized around the world this year and leading news organizations including Al Jazeera, El Pais and Rappler will host dedicated blogs and feature special content for World Press Freedom Day. An awareness-campaign has been launched with the Cartooning for Peace Network( link is external) to raise visibility on the importance of freedom of expression through a series of press cartoons.

– except where indicated, post is courtesy of UNESCO