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Saturday, November 27, 2021
UNITED NATIONS, Mar 27 2014 (IPS) - A new report launched Tuesday in Stockholm by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) raises the issue of the opportunities that new technologies have opened up, and focuses on recent progress towards media freedom.
“Freedom of expression is essential to dignity, dialogue, democracy and sustainable development,” said Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO.
The study, ‘World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development’, shows how these technologies have empowered individuals with unprecedented ways to access, produce and share media content across multiple platforms.
But the report also highlights that technology has allowed for new threats to emerge in the form of Internet censorship, filtering, blocking, and surveillance.
Bokova emphasised the need to act on the ground to train journalists, build capacity and advance media and information literacy.
“We must continue to support media independence by promoting professional standards and self-regulation,” she said.
Spearhead by UNESCO, with contributions from 27 international experts from civil society and academia, the report analyses trends in press freedom through four dimensions: freedom, pluralism, independence and the safety of journalists.
The report warns that progress towards greater media freedom is weak in regions that have experienced political transitions. Indeed, self-censorship remains challenge to journalists worldwide.
It shows that the vast expansion of information sources and platforms has positively impacted media pluralism, despite of the economic dominance of a handful of companies.
Even if non-profit investigative journalism groups managed to emerge, state and public advertising still affect independent reporting.
Moreover, the study applauds the growing awareness of the importance of journalists’ safety throughout the world since 2007, due in large part to the implementation of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.
Nevertheless, the number of journalist killings has continued to rise. UNESCO’s data found that 430 journalists were killed between 2007 and 2012, including 23 women.
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