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(UNESCO) requires all well meaning people to work for the safety of journalists in the course of their work especially women journalists. Currently some journalists suffer intimidations, assaults and executions in the course of their work especially in hot spots of the world.
UNESCOHis Excellency Tirso Dos Santos of the office of UNESCO in Ghana made the call in connection with this year?s World Press Freedom Day celebration in Accra.
He lamented that when journalists are attacked they often find themselves powerless, with no resources or support networks that they can resort to. Creating a support base could be a fundamental step in fighting against the impunity of crimes committed on journalists. For that matter he suggested to the Ghana Journalists Association to consider taking concrete action towards creating support base for journalists through:
? The establishment of a safety fund for journalists in danger;
? The establishment of a network of lawyers for media professionals;
? The establishment of a safety related training program for media professionals; and, finally,
? The establishment of a vigorous national sensitization campaign, not restricted to celebrations days but rather continuous throughout the years in all media outlets.

 

Read the full speech of the representative of UNESCO in Accra below in connection with the World Press Freedom Day 2015 in Ghana

Ladies and Gentlemen,
This lecture takes place in the context of the Celebrations of the World Press Freedom Day, which is celebrated the world over on the 3rd of May.
As you are well aware, every year, UNESCO join forces with journalists and the media community to celebrate this important day. This year, we thought the celebrations should take place over a period of time and enable us to address a number of issues that concern Press Freedom and Right to Information, such as Free independent journalism; quality reporting, in the context of the digital age; the issues of women safety in media management and the portrayal of women in the media;the safety of journalists, including in hotspots, and the protection of journalists? sources from digital disclosures.
Under the Topic:?Towards Better Reporting, Gender Equality & Media Safety in the Digital Age?, this lecture by Professor Audrey Gadzekpo, a leading member of the Women?s Manifesto Coalition, kick starts the celebrations of the 2015 World Press Freedom Day in Ghana.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I trust you will agree with me that the digital age has helped move us closer to the goals of independent, free and pluralistic media,as sought in the landmark Windhoek Declaration of 1991,which also marks the origin of the WPFD celebrations.
On the flip side, the ease that the digital age has brought to individual publishing has created more fragmented audiences, more partisan reporting and uneven standards of accuracy and verification amongst the array of actors now contributing to journalism.
The growing influence of commercialization and concentration of media enterprise ownership, often in a way that lacks transparency, also impacts upon the independence and quality of journalism on all platforms.
Politicians continue to have too much influence over who owns, operate and regulate journalism and media reporting. As a result, the public is given a limited number of ideas, views, and facts that are often repackaged and recycled.
While there is no universal set of criteria for quality journalism, the subject can be assessed in terms of adherence to professional standards and integrity, including the independence of journalism in service of public interest.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
2015 marks the end of the MDGs Agenda and the adoption by the UN of the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda. The question arising is what relationship will the media establish with the objectives of this new Agenda. Significantly, 2015 also marks the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which advocates for the ?removal of all obstacles to women?s participation in all spheres of public and private life through a full and equal share in economic, social, cultural and political decision making?.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me remind you that the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action calls explicitly for two specific goals that concern us:
? The need to ?Increase the participation and access of women to expression and decision making in and through the media and new technologies of communication?
? And the need to ?Promote a balanced and non-stereotyped portrayal of women in the media?.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Some achievements have been made.
Let me pause here to congratulate Mrs Gifty Affenyi-Dadzie, Mrs Frances Ademola, Ms AjoaYeboah-Afari, Harriet Techie-Menson, Ms Lucy Brown and Ms Affia Konadu, for their pioneering role as Ghanaian women journalists.
But overall progress has been slow and gender based discrimination remains a prevalent issue. Obstacles are still present in today?s media industry, ranging from imbalanced access to information and under-representation of women, insufficient media coverage of gender issues and outright violence against women journalists.
This is why I feel that Professor Audrey Gadzekpo lecture could not have come at a better time and personally insisted that it forms part of this year?s World Press Freedom Day Celebrations.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me briefly turn to my Organization.
Gender is, along with Africa, a top priority in UNESCO?s programme. Through its Priority Gender Equality Action Plan-2014-2021 UNESCO aims to overcome the gender divide by the year 2021.
In cooperation with other stakeholders, UNESCO was successful in establishing the Global Alliance on Media and Gender (GAMAG), a milestone in the promotion of gender-inclusive media achieved during the Global Media Forum. The Global Alliance on Media and Gender network is an attempt to accelerate change in favour of gender equality in and through the media.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Last year we celebrated, for the first time, the World Day against the Impunity of Crimes Committed against Journalists. This day was adopted within the framework of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalist, which aims to advocate against impunity of crimes committed against journalist in the line of duty.
The ultimate goal of this UN plan is to create a free and safe environment for journalist and media workers in both conflict and non-conflict situations, with a view to strengthening peace, democracy and development worldwide.
Indeed, the work of journalist often puts them at specific risk of intimidation, harassment and violence, and, when such danger is posed by non-state actors, ensuring the safety of journalists becomes even harder.
Safety also has a digital dimension, not only for mainstream journalists. As more actors take up the mantle of participation in journalism and contribute to informing public opinion, through digital platforms, such as twitter Facebook and others, they also become subjects of interest to actors wishing to control the flow of information.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
When journalists are attacked they often find themselves powerless, with no resources or support networks that they can resort to. Creating a support base could be a fundamental step in fighting against the impunity of crimes committed on journalists. For that reason, I would like to use this occasion to suggest to the Ghana Journalists Association to consider concrete action towards creating such a support base. Specific proposalsI suggest the Ghana Journalists Association may wish to consider are:
? The establishment of a safety fund for journalists in danger;
? The establishment of a network of lawyers for media professionals;
? The establishment of a safety related trainingprogramme for media professionals; and, finally,
? The establishment of a vigorous national sensitization campaign,not restricted to celebrations days but rather continuous through the time in all media outlets.

Source: Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai, Executive Director
EANFOWORLD FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
0244 370345/ 0264370345/0208844791 [email protected]/[email protected]

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