The Communication-Information Sector of UNESCO

Manila Bulletin, October 12, 2005 | Go to article overview

The Communication-Information Sector of UNESCO


BY the time this gets published, I will be making this intervention and perhaps another two more as a Philippine delegate to the 33rd General Conference of UNESCO in Paris. The Philippines is also one of the 37 countries which was elected to serve the International Programme for the Development of Communication for a period of four years. The latter is a policy-making council which has also oversight responsibilities over the programs on communication and development in the 193 member countries of UNESCO.

Over the past two decades, UNESCO Philippines had carried out a number of programs in policy and media advocacy, training, and the development of information, education and communication programs that promote UNESCO's mandate in implementing strategic objectives such as the promotion of free of information and universal access to information, pluralism and cultural diversity, as well as access to information and communication technologies, especially in the public domain.

As we examine some of the expected results and evaluate our own performance against them, we can say that (1) we have been able to create an enabling environment especially in terms of expressed readiness to move into projects that would be of benefit to the more marginalized sectors of society. We have done this through the establishment of a Virtual Communication Centrum where we regularly provide digests of best practices in the use of communication for development and through support of media features aired over regular media channels; (2) a greater public awareness of freedom of expression through advocacy for the protection of journalists' rights and condemnation of repeated killings and other forms of violence against journalists; (3) promotion of accountability and professional standards through training, especially for journalists who cover peace and human rights and acts of terrorism; public forums on media transformation and assistance in drafting media codes of ethics; and the (4) promotion of role of media and the information technology in enhancing democratic governance. We have convened forums which featured best practices in governance through the use of media, websites and e-governance center.

In terms of universal access, we are now undertaking a feasibility study on the transformation of a state broadcast network into a public service broadcasting system. This project may be phased in stages and we are preparing for its first phase which is to support an existing e-community center as a venue for production, training and pilot site for various ICT applications. There are several initiatives towards the promotion of community access and diversity of content. The Public Service Broadcasting feasibility study is also undertaking inventory of capacity building initiatives towards building a pool of information providers, archivists, and institutions that would catalyze and distribute knowledge in support of life-long learning. …

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