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
AMBASSADOR DEGNAN'S REMARKS TO MEDIA AT SKILLS WEEK
Question about the event
Ambassador Degnan: I’m very pleased to be here today, along with the Minister of Education, my EU colleague, and many other distinguished guests for the launch of Georgia’s Skills Week. The United States has been helping Georgia develop its education sector for years, including in the area of vocational education and training. This is because we want Georgian citizens to be able to acquire the skills they need through vocational education and training in order to get good paying jobs for rewarding lifelong careers. This is our latest program through USAID: industry-led skills bring together the private sector that coordinates with vocational education and training institutions to make sure that students are coming out with the skills that are needed in today’s market. The programs are designed to bring together the government, the private sector, vocational and education training institutions, and civil society to make sure that Georgians have the opportunity for better paying jobs and rewarding careers that are going to help both their families and their communities. So, we are delighted today to launch Skills Week, a weeklong celebration of the achievements that Georgia has made in this area.
Question on designations on individuals associated with the Georgian judiciary and U.S. study tours for judges
Ambassador Degnan: Our study tours have been popular and successful because they bring together judges from the United States with judges in Georgia and give them an opportunity to learn from each other and to share their best practices and lessons learned. Sometimes they talk about how they manage their courtrooms, the heavy workloads, or sometimes particularly interesting issues that come up during cases. Our programs are open to those who are qualified, as well as those who will benefit from these exchanges with American judges and maybe bring ideas back to their courtrooms. They’re also open to those who can go because this is a big time commitment. Sometimes, given the workloads of judges here, they’re not always able to go for the full two weeks; sometimes it’s even longer than two weeks. So, we are always delighted when Georgian judges choose to participate in our programs, and we usually have a lot of interest in them. We look forward to continuing this great exchange between Georgian and American judges.
On your second question, Parliament created these investigatory commissions as a mechanism to look into issues that are important to the people of Georgia, to look into issues of the day that require greater transparency, and more information to allow the citizens of Georgia to be better informed and also to hold people accountable and provide transparency on important issues. So, the reason this mechanism was created by Parliament was to provide citizens with more information. I think it’s a very useful technique that’s been a mechanism that’s used in many different Parliaments, including the US Congress. We would hope that Parliament and Members of Parliament would make full use of these tools that they have created in the interest of their citizens.
Question on Helsinki Commission’s call for Nika Gvaramia’s release
Ambassador Degnan: The Helsinki Commission is a very well-respected organization that has a mandate from the United States Congress to monitor human rights around the world, including media freedom. They have been clear, as have many others, including our Embassy, on concerns about Mr. Gvaramia’s case, including the original charges, the timing of the charges, and then subsequently the conviction and decision. This is a letter from an organization that has been a friend of Georgia’s for a very long time, a strong supporter of Georgia in its democratic development and its progress toward European integration. Any decision regarding pardoning is solely up to President Zourabichvili, and I’m sure she takes all of the requests—such as those from the Helsinki Commission—into consideration in making her decisions.
STATEMENT FOR MEDIA
The annual celebration of World Health Day on April 7 is a significant event for both the Turkmen people and all progressive mankind.
This year, on April 7, the World Health Organization celebrates:
75th Anniversary, founded on a collective initiative of the countries of the world in 1948 and aimed at promoting the health of people, maintaining security in the world and serving the interests of vulnerable groups so that everyone, wherever they are, has the opportunity to achieve the highest level health and well-being.
The seventy-fifth anniversary of WHO is an occasion to remember the successes that have improved the quality of people's lives over the past seven decades. This year, it is also an opportunity to give impetus to action to address the pressing health problems of today and tomorrow.
April 7, 2023 is held under the slogan "Health for all".
At the same time, it is necessary to emphasize the following priorities of the World Health Organization, which are reflected in the strengthening of the multilateral cooperation of Turkmenistan with the states of the world and leading international structures in the field of healthcare:
• Health for all means good health and a fulfilling life for everyone in a prosperous and sustainable world without war or conflict.
• The right to health is one of the fundamental human rights.
• Ensuring access to universal health coverage, financial protection and strengthening family and community well-being.
Turkmenistan has been a member of the World Health Organization since 1992. Over the course of 31 years of joint cooperation, huge successes have been achieved aimed at improving the health of the population of Turkmenistan.
The right to health is one of the fundamental human rights and means that everyone should have access to health care without experiencing financial hardship. This principle is one of the priorities of the state policy of Turkmenistan.
During the years of independence, guided by the State Program "Saglyk" of the Hero-Arkadag Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, a lot of work has been done to protect the health of the population, establish the principles of a healthy lifestyle, develop physical culture and mass sports. A network of modern medical institutions was created throughout the country – “Ene mähri” and emergency ambulance centers, multidisciplinary hospitals and sanatoriums, and pharmaceutical enterprises. All the necessary conditions have been created for improving the health of the population, preventing, diagnosing and treating diseases with modern innovative methods, increasing human life expectancy, and ensuring the availability of high-quality medical services.
Many years of positive experience of cooperation with the World Health Organization and UN agencies is evidence of the successful implementation of a number of significant joint projects and programs in various priority areas of national health, and the success and outstanding achievements of Turkmenistan in ensuring public health are marked by international certificates and certificates of recognition of the eradication of dracunculiasis, eradication of poliomyelitis, as well as international awards for universal salt iodization, elimination of malaria, for leadership in the fortification of flour with iron and folic acid, a document confirming the absence of measles and rubella in Turkmenistan.
WHO supports the position of Turkmenistan in addressing issues of maternal and child health by supporting the development of national strategies and action plans for child and adolescent health and reproductive health.
Over the years of joint cooperation, the WHO Regional Office for Europe has also supported the promotion of Turkmenistan's initiatives at the international level, twice electing Turkmenistan to the Standing Committee of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe.
WHO and Turkmenistan are successfully collaborating in the fight against TB to achieve a global end to the TB epidemic by 2035. Collaboration has been strengthened to combat antimicrobial resistance and strengthen the capacity of the public health laboratory service.
Within the framework of cooperation, surveillance of infectious diseases has been strengthened and preventive measures have been introduced to prevent their spread, examples of which are the National Concept for Integrated Epidemiological Surveillance of Infectious Diseases, the National Immunization Program, and strengthening the routine immunization system.
With the support of WHO, various activities are being carried out aimed at maintaining the status of the country as a “territory free from the circulation of wild polioviruses”.
Joint initiatives agreed at a high level are being successfully implemented, namely, supporting the participation of Turkmenistan in a special program of the World Health Organization for the study of the coronavirus genome. Strengthened national capacity for genetic sequencing of viruses, including influenza and SARS-CoV-2. In February 2023, whole genome sequencing of 10 influenza virus samples was performed by National Laboratory Virologists and submitted to the Global Initiative to Share All Influenza Data (GISAID) platform. On July 4, 2022, a High-Level Sub-Regional Consultative Meeting was held in Ashgabat to promote the One Health concept for the countries of Central Asia.
In Turkmenistan, the fight against non-communicable diseases is one of the main priorities, closely linking them with the implementation of the 2030 Global Development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. The Second WHO European High-Level Conference “Time to Keep the Promise – Meeting the Challenges of Combating Noncommunicable Diseases to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in Europe”, which was held in Ashgabat in 2019, pushed the implementation of the commitments made at the UN High-Level Meeting on Noncommunicable Diseases, and also measures to support countries in their implementation. In 2024, Turkmenistan plans to hold the third high-level conference on the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases in honor of 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Ashgabat Declaration on Noncommunicable Diseases. This is also the political commitment of Turkmenistan to maintain and strengthen a healthy lifestyle through the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases.
The effectiveness of national efforts and international partnerships in this direction was highly appreciated by all forum participants and, above all, by the World Health Organization and its Regional Office for Europe, with the presentation of a certificate of recognition by the World Health Organization for the country's outstanding contribution to the prevention of non-communicable diseases on behalf of the WHO Director-General, Mr.Tedros Ghebreyesus.
Adopted by the National Strategy "Healthy Mother - Healthy Child - Healthy Future", the National Program for Improving the Immunity of the Population in Turkmenistan, the National Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases for 2021-2025 and the National Program for Turning Turkmenistan into a Tobacco-Free Country for 2022 -2025 years have significantly optimized the activities of the health care system.
Particular importance is attached to the development of mass physical culture and sports, the Olympic movement, and relevant national programs are being successfully implemented aimed at improving primary health care, ensuring the provision of quality basic medical services, taking into account vulnerable groups of the population and based on the principles of justice, gender equality and respect for rights. human beings, promoting the health and well-being of all people at all ages.
A modern infrastructure has been formed in the healthcare system. Medical centers, specialized clinics, sanatoriums equipped with innovative technologies have been built in the capital and in all velayats of the country. On this basis, great success has been achieved in the formation of an advanced sports and recreation infrastructure that meets international standards.
The activities of the established charitable foundation to assist children in need of care named after Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov are aimed at addressing issues of protecting public health, in the field of motherhood and childhood. All this is evidence of a positive result in the modernization of the national healthcare system, improving the standard of living and well-being of every person - the highest value of the Turkmen society and state.
Most of the State budget is directed to financing the social sphere, including reforming the healthcare and education systems.
With the beginning of the development of a new type of coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and over the past years, Turkmenistan has received support from the WHO and UN agencies. Based on the guidelines of the WHO Strategic Plan for Preparedness and Response to COVID-19, the country approved and successfully implemented a joint Plan for Preparedness and Response of Turkmenistan for Acute Infectious Disease, focusing on the main areas of WHO COVID-19 activities related to prevention, treatment, diagnosis and vaccination of COVID-19.
The ongoing program changes and reforms are an effective incentive for the further development of the healthcare system and the medical industry of independent and neutral Turkmenistan and lay the foundation for further cooperation in the field of healthcare.
On World Health Day, Turkmenistan once again expresses its full support for the activities of the WHO, thanks the leadership and staff of the Organization for their selfless and professional work. Our country will continue to closely cooperate with the World Health Organization and is ready to continue to provide it with all possible assistance.
Ministry of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan
International Media Workshop for Journalists Discuss Institutional Peace
Amid the ongoing natural and human crisis in the global community including the earthquake in Turkey and Syria and the Russia-Ukraine war, the 1st ‘HWPL International Workshop on Peace Journalism’ was held online on the 18th of February with about 150 participants from about 30 countries. Under the theme “A Road to Institutional Peace for Sustainable Development”, the workshop aimed to enhance peace journalism and international media networks.
The event was organized by Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) with support from 28 media worldwide. HWPL, a South Korea-based international peace NGO affiliated with the UN ECOSOC and the UN DGC, has carried out global peace movements for world peace and cessation of war since its foundation in 2013.
The workshop included the celebration of a publication of "Peace Journalism Studies" which was collaborated by HWPL and international journalists with their expertise and perspective on peace. The topics of the "Peace Journalism Studies" ranged from analyzing conflict situations and peacebuilding efforts with a country case to the role of civil society in bringing social changes through advocacy of peace.
Dr. Salim Khan, director of News & Views Network (NVN) from India said “Journalists should play important role in spreading the message of love and justice. I expect that this HWPL online event on journalism will bring fresh ideas with regards to the role of media in peacebuilding and raise awareness facilitating the advocacy of peace in the society.” from his congratulatory address,
Mr. Robert Maseka, founder of Rob Youth Foundation from Namibia delivered ”We need to make sure that we promote a global media network that will promote democracy, human rights, and good governance. Through collaboration we are able to give the right information, we can communicate and unite the world.”
After 2 guest speakers’ congratulatory addresses, 3 journalists gave presentations who contributed to the publication of "Peace Journalism Studies."
Ms. Frieda Sila Kana, the journalist of Digital Media Venture in Papua New Guinea, delivered conflict and violence in Papua New Guinea, saying “Sorcery and Witchcraft Accusations Related Violence is an emerging trend of violence and enemy of peace (in Papua New Guinea). The actions of inflicting pain causing death is barbaric, intense and inhumane that it cannot be ignored.”
Mr. Ihor Shevyrov, the publicity ambassador of HWPL and a journalist from Ukraine, emphasized, “International peace should be built not only by the UN, but also by every country. Democracy, openness and freedom of civil society, the level of protection of the rights and freedoms of every person, as well as peace education and a culture of peace are decisive for building sustainable peace in any country. All these principles are clearly defined in the 10 articles of the founding DPCW Peace Declaration. United Nations needs new peace convention on DPCW.”
Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War(DPCW) is an international peace law drafted by the HWPL International Law Peace Committee, which is comprised of international law experts from 15 different countries. Consisting of 10 articles and 38 clauses, the DPCW, embodies the principles and measures for preventing and resolving conflicts and sustaining a peaceful global society.
Ian Seo, general director of public relations department of HWPL said, “Peace as an institution from people having a mind of peace and various organizations collectively supporting peace and taking actions gradually becomes habits, customs, norms, ideas, laws, and ultimately a culture of peace. The HWPL International Workshop on Peace Journalism: A Road to Institutional Peace for Sustainable Development is appealing to all of you to take the role of media as a messenger of peace to develop it as an identity of individuals and as a global culture.”
In response to the need for strengthening the peace network of the world's media, HWPL plans to publish Peace Journalism Studies and hold events regularly where journalists can discuss and share opinions to enhance peace journalism.
The full version of "Peace Journalism Studies" can be downloaded on the website: Peace Journalism Studies (https://c11.kr/19wr2).
GLOBALink | Travel restrictions against Chinese tourists "ridiculous": media
Travel restrictions imposed by a few countries on Chinese tourists are "ridiculous," said some media reports on the latest discriminatory entry requirements targeting China.
Produced by Xinhua Global Service
Ambassador Degnan’s Remarks to Media at the Women in Comprehensive Defense Conference
Question about the event
Ambassador Degnan: This conference is an important opportunity to bring together international and Georgian experts to talk about NATO’s comprehensive defense concept and Georgia’s approach to implementing that concept. Women play a central role in the comprehensive defense concept, and we will be discussing that more in the course of today’s conference. There are many examples in Georgia’s history when women have demonstrated the important role that they play in supporting the defense of their country.
That goes all the way back to King Tamar and many battles throughout this country where women have been essential in supporting the defense effort. This is just a modern version of that to ensure that the whole of society is prepared, whether it’s for a natural disaster like a flood or an earthquake or some kind of attack or malicious event. So there are many different aspects to NATO’s comprehensive defense concept, and we’ll be exploring those today.
Question about the European Parliament resolution
Ambassador Degnan: The United States is not part of the European Parliament. I can say that we weren’t involved in drafting this resolution. I can say that we also regret the continuing polarization of the political environment here in Georgia, and we would certainly agree with the call for the political stakeholders here to come together and implement ambitious democratic judicial and anti-corruption reforms. This is work that is underway, and it needs to be done in an inclusive fashion. I think Georgia has a very good track record of submitting draft legislation like this to the Venice Commission and other European expert bodies for their feedback on whether it does indeed meet European Union standards. At a time when the next very important step on Georgia’s path to its European future is at hand, candidate status, it seems particularly important and worthwhile to submit draft legislation to the Venice Commission to get their assessment of whether the legislation that’s been prepared is compatible and meets European standards. The United States will continue, as we have for the past 30 years, to support the clear will of the Georgian people to live in a secure, stable, prosperous democracy. That is why we are such strong supporters of the people of Georgia’s aspiration for European Union membership and a Euro-Atlantic future. I would hope that all of Georgia’s political leaders, including the ruling party and the opposition, would come together now and make sure that the work that is being done for candidate status is going to meet European Union standards. This is the moment, and I sincerely hope that Georgia’s leaders will accomplish this goal for the people of Georgia.
Question about a news report on European Business Association
Ambassador Degnan: I don’t know Mr. Lee, and I’m not familiar with the European Business Association, so I really don’t have a comment on this.
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