Tackling the challenges for independent media in the Eastern Partnership countries
More than 350 media professionals and donors from the Eastern Partnership and the EU gather in Kyiv on 13 September for the 2nd Eastern Partnership Media Conference, which aims to shine a spotlight on the growing challenges facing journalists in the EU’s Eastern partner countries.
Bringing together participants from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine as well as EU Member States, the conference offers a unique platform to identify obstacles to a healthy media environment, discuss ways of addressing them, and examine how the EU and other donors can best support independent journalism in these countries.
In his message to the participants, European Neighbourhood Commissioner Johannes Hahn stressed that ''Freedom of expression is one of the very foundations on which our Union is built. We believe that a strong, independent press is fundamental to successful societies everywhere. Today's conference clearly shows the importance of closer engagement of the EU with partner countries on the issues of plurality and independence of media.''
Over the past decade, the European Union has spent and earmarked about €30 million in support of media initiatives in Eastern partner countries, €14 million of which on current projects.
The conference will look at the pressures experienced by media workers in the Eastern neighbourhood, discuss solutions to achieve economic sustainability in news and story production, as well as difficulties in reforming public broadcasting sectors.
Participants will also discuss methods to make media outlets more sustainable and to help journalists continue to grow professionally. The challenges posed by disinformation campaigns and efforts to spread biased or misleading information on social media will also be on the agenda, with a focus on how media can help increase critical thinking in society.
The 2nd Eastern Partnership Media Conference is held in preparation for the 5th Eastern Partnership Summit, to be held in Brussels in November 2017. The discussions and practical findings of the conference will provide a basis for further considerations at the Summit.
Online conference dedicated to the 30th Anniversary of Independence of Turkmenistan and the declaration of 2021 as International Year of Peace and Trust was held in Tbilisi
On March 10, 2021, the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Georgia held an online conference dedicated to the 30th Anniversary of Independence of Turkmenistan and the declaration of 2021 as International Year of Peace and Trust
The representatives of Diplomatic Missions and International Organizations accredited to Georgia, Ministry Foreign Affairs of Georgia, academia, as well as representatives of Georgian media attended the conference.
It was noted that over the years of sovereign development, under the wise leadership of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the large-scale programmes and socio-economic, scientific and educational, social and political reforms have been successfully implemented to ensure the country's prosperity, for the happiness and well-being of the people.
During the conference, it was emphasized that the fact of the declaration of 2021, in accordance with the UN General Assembly Resolution adopted at the initiative of Turkmenistan, as the International Year of Peace and Trust, clearly confirmed the effective role of the creative foreign policy strategy implemented by Turkmenistan under the leadership of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov in stimulating positive regional and global processes, strengthening a culture of peace and trust for the sake of sustainable development and progress on the planet.
A video on Turkmenistan’s political, economic and cultural achievements was also presented to the conference participants.
A NUMBER OF BILATERAL DOCUMENT WERE SIGNED WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE “TURKMENISTAN AND THE UNITED NATIONS: COOPERATION FOR PEACE AND TRUST”
Today, on March 2, the International Conference “Turkmenistan and the United Nations: Cooperation for Peace and Trust” on the occasion of
the 29th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s UN membership, has started in the MFA of Turkmenistan.
Within the framework of the event online ceremony of signing the bilateral documents was held. In particular, the following documents were signed: Agreement between the Government of Turkmenistan and the United Nations Population Fund on Co-Financing, as well as Work Plan between the Ministry of Sport and Youth Policy of Turkmenistan and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) within the framework of the project “Strengthening mechanisms of youth participation in the implementation of the national youth policy and advancement of gender equality” for 2021.
Then Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov handed over to the Acting UN Resident Coordinator in Turkmenistan, UNICEF Representative in Turkmenistan Christine Weigand the Note verbale of the MFA of Turkmenistan officially announcing on behalf of the Government of Turkmenistan about the Resolution of the President of Turkmenistan on the approval of the procedure for visa-free entry to Turkmenistan of foreign citizens with UN passports.
As is known, that Resolution had been signed by the President of Turkmenistan on the 28th of February 2021, according to which, starting from March 2 this year, foreign citizens holding UN passports are allowed to come to Turkmenistan, stay in the country, leave it, and cross the territory of Turkmenistan in transit without visa.
Besides that, the document prescribed those foreign citizens – officers of the UN or its specialized structures, accredited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, as well as their family members, are exempted from obtaining visa during the period of work in Turkmenistan.
The adoption of this Resolution is in line with the 1946 Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations.
International Webinar by Asian and African Media Diagnosed COVID-19 and Social Change with the Focus of Peacebuilding
On February 13, 2021, an international webinar on “Voice of Peace: Media Perspective on COVID-19 and Social Change” was held to discuss the contents of national responses to political, economic, and social aspects under the heavy influence of the pandemic.
This event was co-hosted by Risingbd of Bangladesh, The DAWN of South Sudan, PTV World of Pakistan, and a UN-affiliated NGO named Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) headquartered in South Korea.
Dr. Javed Ali Kalholo, Senior Producer of PTV World, stated that the globe witnessed disastrous diseases in the new century from swine flu to Eblola before COVID-19. He advocated international cooperation to “fight the existing menace of virus collectively and do share a cognitive approach towards the post-pandemic world.”
Mr. Nabeel Tirmazi, Broadcasting Consultant & Programme Manager of Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD), mentioned that media responsibility in democratic states has grown to “dispel wrong notions, apprehensions and misinformation”, adding to the functions of informing and educating. To cope with the COVID-19 crisis, he suggested capacity building for healthy journalism from international media practitioners with the case of combating disinformation regarding the pandemic with international organizations including WHO and UNESCO.
Mr. Ibnul Qayum Sony, Senior Sub Editor of Risingbd, Actor and Independent Film Director explained that the current phenomena of COVID-19 have mixed results. In the case of Bangladesh, he said that loss of lives and economic downturn from the lockdown coexist with the significant decrease in the level of pollution in rivers of the country resulting in biodiversity.
“South Sudan is the newest country on earth, having gained independence from Sudan in 2011, but a political crisis two years later has left it bleeding,” said Mr. Okech Francis, Deputy Editor in Chief of The Dawn Newspaper. To respond to poor infrastructure, health services, and economic performance in the country and region, he highlighted that knowledge and skills for sustainable future of peace and security need to be provided, rather than handouts.
Mr. Supalak Ganjanakhundee, Bangkok-based Southeast Asia Analyst, Thailand, says that the country is “still struggling to contain the spread of the deadly disease” and the recent student democratic protest, which also “extended to neighbor Myanmar after the military in that country staged a coup in the pre-dawn of 1 February.” He added that the demands from protest are to be taken seriously “to bring genuine democracy, stability and peace to the country.”
Dr. Ian Seo, General Director of HWPL, pointed out that the recent dysfunctional election system in Thailand and South Korea and public dissatisfaction with the current leadership during the pandemic brought uncertainty of democratic system of the two countries. He suggested that giving insights and inspiration to youth is media responsibility and dedication for the future with peaceful societies.
Press-release of the HWPL
Inter-continental Online Conference to Discuss the Role of Peace Education
On January 24th, over 2,400 pre-registered attendees from 70 countries, including the Philippines, the U.S.A, Germany, South Africa, China, and South Korea, joined the online inter-continental peace conference to discuss the role of peace education.
The conference was organized by a Korea-based international peace NGO, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) under the UN DGC and the UN ECOSOC in celebration of the 7th Anniversary of the January 24 HWPL Peace Day.
The January 24 HWPL Peace Day declared by the Province of Maguindanao in the Philippines has been commemorated annually since the Mindanao Peace Agreement was made by the local government and civil society leaders on January 24th, 2014.
The Peace Day was named after HWPL since the agreement was suggested by Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL, known as a Korean war veteran, to overcome the 50 years of conflict that resulted in approximately 120,000 victims in the region.
With the theme, "The Role of Peace Education in Building a Peaceful World”, the celebration of this year aimed to raise awareness of peace education around the world and establish a global platform for peace educators to implement peace education in the educational system of each country.
Followed by the congratulatory messages from social, educational, religious, and political figures including President of Court of Appeal of Cairo, Former President of the UN Human Rights Council, Former Adviser of the Ministry of Education of Guatemala, Archbishop Emeritus of Davao Archdiocese of the Philippines, Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL delivered his commemorative message.
“Today, Mindanao is no longer a place of conflict; rather, it has become a model of peace to which the world looks. Once, the people of this region used to point guns at each other—now, they share food while sitting at the same table, despite their differences in religion and ideologies. Students who were once being trained to kill are now learning the precious value of life and peace through HWPL Peace Education,” he said.
Dr. Ronald Adamat, Commissioner of the Commission on Higher Education of the Philippines(CHED), who has made an effort to implement HWPL Peace Education by integrating peace education into the relevant higher education curricula, addressed the value of HWPL Peace Day and the progress of the peace education in the Philippines.
“Youth will fight for peace but are not given yet enough skills, understanding, or opportunity to talk for peace. I wholeheartedly support HWPL Peace Education. It raises the awareness for our youth to become peacemakers - the much-needed values of the youth. Future leaders must effect change for the world's positive transformation. Our children need to be educated on how peacebuilding works effectively. Through education, the building of a truly peaceful world can one day become a reality.”
HWPL Peace Education consisting of 12 lessons aims to train the educators and students with the value of peace by raising awareness of the importance of fostering a culture of peace. Since 2016, more than 200 educational institutions in 34 countries, including India, Israel, and the Philippines, have been designated as HWPL Peace Academies, and Ministries of Education from 9 countries have signed MOAs for implementation of peace education.
Ms. Firoza Muradi, an educator from Afghanistan, said, “The Mindanao Peace Agreement in 2014 became a great model for countries like Afghanistan who experience wars and conflicts. I hope that the miracle of peace in Mindanao will happen in Afghanistan, and the beginning is from peace education. Through HWPL Peace Education, students seek answers to achieve peace in various ways, including harmony with nature, the value of cooperation, and how to protect their rights. I believe all of my students receiving peace education will grow up to be a peace messenger.”
At the event, the official of HWPL presented the plan for 2021 such as Online Peace Educator Training Program, Peace Education Volunteering Program, and Online Youth Peace Love Exchange Project that mostly designed as online programs according to the pandemic situation.
Press-release of HWPL
Inter-continental Conference for Culture of Peace through Education Will Be Held Online
An inter-continental online peace conference will be held on January 24th, 2021, in attendance with about 2,000 participants from 17 countries, including the Philippines, India, Australia, and South Korea.
The host of this conference is a Korea-based international peace NGO, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) affiliated with the UN DGC and the UN ECOSOC.
This virtual peace conference is organized in commemoration of the 7th Anniversary of the January 24th HWPL Peace Day which was designated by the Province of Maguindanao in the Philippines to celebrate the peace agreement in Mindanao on January 24th in 2014.
The agreement was suggested by Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL and signed by government, religious and civil society leaders to engage in collaboration of peacebuilding efforts to end the decades-long conflict.
Since then, the annual commemorative event such as a grand peace festival, international peace walks, exhibitions of peace in local museums, and inter-faith conferences has taken place to celebrate the peace agreement and raise awareness of peace among citizens in the region.
The event has discussed the history, current issues, and plans for long-term peace in Mindanao as a set of peacebuilding models based on the cooperation of actors in different fields with events that raised awareness of the need for securing sustainable peace.
With the theme of "The Role of Peace Education in Building a Peaceful World”, this year’s celebration, in line with the International Day of Education, aims to establish a global platform for peace educators to implement peace education in the educational system of each country.
Although the event is open online this year due to the COVID-19, more than 2,000 participants, including politicians, religious leaders, social figures, and educators are expected to attend.
The inter-continental conference will include the graduation of peace education students, the peace pledge ceremony, and various addresses regarding the value of peace education.
An official of HWPL said, “Through the 7th Anniversary of the January 24th HWPL Peace Day, we aim to raise awareness of the importance of peace education and culture of peace. It will be an opportunity to revitalize people around the world who are currently experiencing various violence and conflicts, especially since the onset of COVID 19, with a hope and spirit of peace.”
Anyone interested in the event can join by signing up at https://tinyurl.com/HWPLPeaceDayZoomReg until the 23rd of January. The event will be live-streamed through https://www.facebook.com/hwplph/ from 16:00 (KST) on the day of the event.