International Webinar by Asian and African Media Diagnosed COVID-19 and Social Change with the Focus of PeacebuildingMonday, 15 February 2021 11:11
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
“Journalists, as we are, will now work alongside national, regional and international institutions to make peace an important leverage for global balance.”
On July 27th ‘France Peace Media Network’ was launched at the Ibis Porte de Bercy hotel for providing a media platform for active communication among journalists and media persons who have agreed to contribute to the realization of peace journalism. About 20 French citizens and journalists attended in the ceremony and Mr. Makaila N'guebla from la Maison des journalists who proposed the peace media network made the above announcement as a congratulatory speech about establishment of the ‘France Peace Media Network’.
This network has been organized by an international peace NGO called Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) in cooperation with journalists who participated in the last two media forums held in France. Journalists participating in the network will increase the number of regular reports based on ‘peace journalism’, contribute peace contents through a sharing platform for articles and hold regular meetings to discuss ways to implement ‘peace journalism’.
Hamid Chriet, a political commentator of BBC and RT (Russia TV) said, “I do lots of intervention on BBC and RT. It is not easy to talk about Peace in the powerful countries with many interests in it. To make this network goes on we need an online platform that is autonomous and accessible in order to promote Peace. We can develop networking with other nations like gulf countries who are interested in and directly related to the subject of Peace, not just in France.
HWPL the host organization of the establishment of this network is an international registered peace NGO based in the United Nations Department of Global Communications and has consultative status with ECOSOC. With peace and respect for life as fundamental values, HWPL is engaged in a worldwide peace movement through international legislation, peace education projects and providing forums for inter-religious conversation. In particular, peace forums by HWPL have been held 40 times since November 2016 to facilitate peace journalism and peace-related news coverage with 176 journalists from 22 countries.
Internews Ukraine experts have prepared a comprehensive overview of Ukrainian media sphere (https://medialandscapes.org/country/ukraine) for the Media Landscapes project launched by the European Journalism Centre (EJC), in partnership with the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW). We have selected ten key facts from the research.
1. Television is the most popular medium in Ukraine. According to a research by InMind for Internews Network, 77 percent of Ukrainians watch television at least once per month, while 74percent use TV channels as their weekly source of news.
Online media are the second most popular in Ukraine, as 60 percent of Ukrainians visit news websites at least once per month and 57 percent use the Internet as their daily source of news.
Radio is the second least popular medium in Ukraine. Only 26 percent of Ukrainians listen to the radio at least once per month, and 25 percent use it as their daily source of news.
Print media are dragging behind all other media in terms of audience. Only 21 percent of Ukrainians read print media at least once per month - this figure has declined by 10 percent since 2016. Only 16 percent of Ukrainians use print media as their weekly source of news.
2. The landscape of trust across the country heavily reflects the current political and security situation of Ukraine. According to recent polls, 66.7 percent of Ukrainians trust voluntary organisations, 64.4percent trust the Church, and 57.3 percent trust Ukraine's armed forces and other military and paramilitary formations. The level of trust in the media equals 48.3 percent.
TV is the most trusted medium - 56 percent of Ukrainians trust regional TV channels and 61percent trust national TV channels. Online media are almost as trusted as TV: 52 percent of Ukrainians trust in regional news websites, while 58 percent trust in national websites.
Radio is the second least-trusted medium, with 34 percent of Ukrainians trusting national radio stations and 39 percent thinking local radio stations tell the truth. Print media are the least trusted in Ukraine. Only 35 percent of Ukrainians trust regional print outlets, while 33 percent trust the national newspapers.
3. The most popular Ukrainian media have clear links to politicians and political parties, as they belong to oligarchs who are often involved in politics directly or indirectly. These links are the strongest in the TV sphere.
All top TV channels belong to different oligarchs: Ihor Kolomoyskyi controls 1+1, Rinat Akhmetovowns Ukrayina (Ukraine), while STB, ICTV and Novyi Kanal (New Channel) belong to Victor Pinchuk, son-in-law of former Ukraine's President Leonid Kuchma. Inter TV channel is a part of Inter Media Group which belongs to Dmytro Firtash and Serhiy Liovochkin. Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk, who is closely linked to Russia's President Vladimir Putin (his daughter's godfather), allegedly controls 112 and NewsOne TV channels, the most popular news channels in Ukraine.
4. Since 2014, the Ukrainian TV sphere has developed mainly in the information direction. New channels such as Hromadske (Civic), Espreso, 112, NewsOne and Priamyi (Direct) are focusing exclusively on news and talk-shows about politics, economy and society. However, all these channels, except for crowd-funded and grant-funded Hromadske (Civic), are private and have a non-transparent ownership structure. Meanwhile, independent outlets, like said Hromadske(Civic) or Hromadske radio (Civic radio), or more niche are influential in their segments, although they still cannot compete for massive audiences with oligarchic TV channels.
5. Ukraine has no influential broadcaster to counterweight the oligarch-owned media. Suspilne(Civic), the public broadcaster, has been launched on 19 January 2017. The aim was to provide an independent source of unbiased information, without financial or administrative influence by the state.
The issue has been pending for the last twenty years so far, although the first tangible progress in this respect was achieved in 2014, once the Law On Public Television and Radio Broadcasting was adopted. Its implementation, however, has protracted in the absence of the state authorities' political will as well as continuous underfunding.
6. As use of the Ukrainian language was hampered during Tsarist and Soviet periods, the Ukrainian government tries to provide the national language with regulatory support. Thus, it launched a campaign aimed at strengthening the role of Ukrainian language in media. To this end, language quotas have been introduced for TV channels and radio stations.
For licensed television and radio companies, the transmission of European productions, and also American and Canadian productions, should make up at least 70 percent of the total weekly broadcasting between 07:00 and 23:00. Out of these hours, at least 50 percent of the total weekly broadcasting must be of Ukrainian production.
Meanwhile, radio stations are obliged to air at least 30 percent of songs in Ukrainian language.
7. Ukrainian media sphere is designated as "partly free" by Freedom House's Freedom of the Press 2019 report.
One of the problems is that attacks on media professionals and houses are occurring. On 20 July 2016, a prominent Belarusian-Ukrainian journalist, Pavel Sheremet, was killed in a car explosion but those responsible have not been found yet.
Manipulations with media have also happened. On 29 May 2018, media reported that Arkady Babchenko, a Russian journalist who moved to Ukraine, was killed. The next day it turned out that Babchenko was indeed alive and his "murder" was a decoy for security services to catch a killer, allegedly linked to a broader plan by Russian security services to murder journalists and activists working in Ukraine.
8. The Internet plays a significant role in the everyday life of Ukrainians. According to the 2018 Factum Group Ukraine research, 21.35 million of Ukrainian citizens (65 percent of the country's population) are regular Internet users. 21.9 million (67 percent) have Internet connection at home.
The average Internet-user resulting from this study is female (52 percent), 25-34 years old (28percent), lives in a city with population of 100,000 and more (44 percent). As many as 27 percent of Ukraine's Internet users live in villages and 28 percent live in small cities. The only social group which does not use Internet often is people aged 65+ which constitute only 4 percent of Ukraine's Internet-users.
9. Facebook is the dominant social network in Ukraine with few real opponents. Russian social networks VKontakte (In contact) and Odnoklassniki (Classmates) used to be the most popular, but things changed dramatically in May 2017 when Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, on the basis of a decision by Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, imposed sanctions on some Russian Internet services.
According to the study conducted by InMind for Internews Network, 57 percent of Ukrainian social network users are on Facebook (37 percent back in 2016), 21 percent are on VKontakte (In contact; 49 percent in 2016), 15 percent are on Odnoklassniki (Classmates; 40 percent in 2016). Twitter is only used by 8 percent of Ukrainians who are into social networks (12 percent in 2016). Up to 42 percent use Facebook to get news, while 8 percent do this on VKontakte (In contact), 4 percent on Odnoklassniki (Classmates) and 2 percent on Twitter.
10. Given that Ukraine's legislature in the media sector is relatively vague, its practical implementation can be characterised as sporadic, multidirectional, inconsistent, unbalanced and non-transparent. Existing laws are predominantly declarative and therefore insufficient in their regulative function, which results in their failure to translate into specific, effective policies.Instead, these declarative laws often overlap and duplicate each other, leading to ineffectiveness at best and legal impasses at worst.
Most of the laws have been developed based on their Soviet prototypes, and as such they are not entirely up to date to the new trends in the sector. Legislation on online media is virtually nonexistent. As a result, there is a major gap in national law which leaves online media neither regulated nor protected.
By studying and supporting the Ukrainian media sphere, Internews Ukraine helps to build a vibrant and prosperous society. Our competencies include not only conducting media monitoring and preparing analytics, but also coordination with national and international media, developing communication or information strategies and media campaigns.
Peace Media education at Cervantes Gymnasium Aia-Gess in Tbilisi, Georgia on June 7th was hosted by an international peace NGO called Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) in cooperation with Cervantes Gymnasium Aia-Gess. Cervantes Gymnasium AiaGess and HWPL have been builing their partnership peace education and peace camp.
Mr. Avtandil Otinashvili, the Chief-in-Editor of Newsday Georgia gave a lecture to the students in regard to “Peace Journalism”. As it was a participation-based lecture to learn the subjects of “Media Literacy” and “Peace Journalism”, the students got involved with giving presentations of their thoughts regarding the articles given. Ms. Tamar Lolishvili from Cervantes Gymnasium Aia-Gess said, “Broadcasting news prepared by the students can help reaching people in different areas, even with different languages more easily that will be a model example for our young generation.”
As a global project for peacebuilding with a network of educators, peace education by HWPL has been conducted in collaboration with 214 education institutions in 23 countries. To further nurture students and citizens with the value of peace such as coexistence and respect, peace education at a national level has also been sought by national governments in 7 countries including Guatemala, Iraq, the Philippines, and Cambodia.
EU-funded projects present their achievements to Georgian media to mark 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership
On 27 March, EU-funded regional projects organised an informal gathering with leading media outlets in Georgia. The main purpose of this meeting was to discuss the tangible results and opportunities that the EU delivers to the citizens of Georgia through its regional programmes and to strengthen cooperation with journalists.
The event was dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership and Georgia was the first country to host such a media event.
At the event, the EU Cross Border Cooperation (CBC) Black Sea Programme presented the newly introduced, innovative waste management practices in the Georgian city of Kutaisi. This environmental programme brings together the efforts of Georgian, Moldovan and Armenian local authorities, NGOs, scientists and activists, with the aim to reduce the amount of plastic waste in rivers.
The Eastern Partnership Territorial Cooperation project (EaP TC) presented its initiatives on cultural and economic cooperation between Georgia and Azerbaijan and Georgia and Armenia.
In addition, the EU-funded programme Mayors for Economic Growth showcased the best practices of two Georgian municipalities, Gori and Bolnisi, on how to use EU funds to support agribusiness and tourism development in the regions.
The EU framework programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020, also presented its activities in Georgia, including the CURE project, aimed at finding solutions for asthmatic diseases. Beneficiaries of the Erasmus+ programme, which offers opportunities to Georgian youth to study in the EU, shared their experiences.
The event was attended by several ‘Young European Ambassadors’ (YEAs) from Georgia. They presented the initiative and explained how YEAs foster cooperation and sustainable links between young people in Georgia and youth organisations from the EU and its Eastern partner countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.
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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan expressed its misunderstanding to the Tajik side in connection with the statement of the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Tajikistan to the Republic of Uzbekistan, Mr. Imomi Sodik Ashurboyzoda, that Dushanbe intends to "defer to better times" the idea of building a railroad Turkmenistan- Afghanistan-Tajikistan.
Comments of the Turkmen side on the above-mentioned statement of the Tajik diplomat are officially communicated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan.
Collaboration for Peace Development:
Building a Peace Community through the DPCW
In today’s era with the need for the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula and international cooperation for world peace, a summit under the theme of “Collaboration for Peace Development” will be held in South Korea from the 17th to the 19th of September to discuss the role each sector of society plays in the achievement of peace.
Around 1,000 experts in various fields from around the world with a passionate heart for peace will be gathered in South Korea and participate in the 4th Annual Commemoration of the September 18th World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Summit hosted by HWPL.
During the 3 days of the 4th Annual Commemoration of the WARP Summit 12 formal meetings and 3 informal meetings, for a total of 15 conferences, along with a press conference will be held. The main agenda of these meetings will be the introduction of the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) to the United Nations (UN) as a binding resolution and the promotion of international cooperation among individuals from all levels and sectors of society for the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula through the DPCW. In addition, plans will be discussed and established regarding how to draw support from current heads of state for the introduction of the DPCW as a UN resolution.
In order to achieve these objectives, political leaders, religious leaders, legal experts, education professionals, heads of international organizations, leaders of youth and women’s organizations and civil society actors from over 100 countries around the world will attend the meetings and discuss peace projects based on the DPCW as well as concrete methods to implement them.
HWPL’s Answer for the Realization of Peace: Law for Peace, Alliance of Religions, Peace Education
Political leaders, including former and current heads of state, ministers, national assembly speakers and Supreme Court justices, together with HWPL are currently making practical efforts towards the enactment of an international law for peace through the introduction of the DPCW to the UN. At this year’s international law session, high-ranking officials and the HWPL international law advisory committee will create concrete measures to advance the process of the realization of the implementation of an international law for peace.
Last year the world’s top religious leaders held a meeting to discuss the elimination of pain and suffering caused by religious conflict and the creation of peace between religions. There will be 13 members in attendance for the Alliance of Religions for Peace Meeting and plans are made to come together and find a trustworthy scripture that will lead to the alliance of religions. In addition, around 200 religious leaders from both Korea and abroad will share their experiences of participating in the WARP Office meetings and the effectiveness of their current strategies and efforts, as well as make a pledge to unite their religions together under the truth.
HWPL’s peace education is already receiving more attention and support as one of the essential pillars of achieving peace. In light of this, leaders in the ministries of education and other education professionals from many countries around the world will gather at the Peace Education conference to share about the best practices and methods of implementing peace education into current curriculums. Also, they will make plans to take steps to further develop the establishment of HWPL peace education within schools based on the 12 HWPL textbooks that have recently been completed.
Spreading the News of Peace: Media, Youth, Women
There are some individuals who are always at the forefront in spreading the news of HWPL around the world so that more people can participate in the peace projects and other activities of HWPL. They are the world’s journalists. They are currently working to strengthen cooperation among all journalists of the world so that the news of peace can be spread even more effectively in terms of both superior quality and quantity. During the World Peace Press Network Conference, journalists from each country will cooperate and join the Peace Initiative in order to seek a solution for peace that will be able to overcome the conflicts and turmoil in their respective countries.
Youth and Women’s organizations have become one with the International Youth Peace Group (IPYG) and the International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG) in order to advocate for the DPCW to become a legally binding international instrument through the Legislate Peace Campaign. During this year’s meeting the youth and women will share the results and successes of the peace activities held throughout the previous year as well as discuss ways to further develop and sustain these activities in a more effective manner.
As peace based on the principles of the DPCW is being witnessed in various cities around the world, more and more people are joining in the peace projects of HWPL. In particular, two countries in Africa, Swaziland and Seychelles, have made a national declaration of their support for the DPCW and now advocate for its introduction as a resolution at the UN. The number of countries supporting the DPCW is expected to expand significantly following the 4th Annual Commemoration of the WARP Summit.
The ultimate goal of HWPL and the WARP Summit is to establish sustainable peace in the world and leave it as a legacy for future generations. The 4th Annual Commemoration of the WARP Summit is a meaningful time when people from all around the world, regardless of nationality, status and religion, can come together and form a peace network guided by the core principles of the DPCW in order to further develop action plans for peace and establish peace in their respective locations.
2018 Public Opinion Poll about the European Union
The EU-funded ‘EU NEIGHBOURS east’ project has conducted an opinion survey in Georgia, based upon face-to-face interviews among a representative sample of 1,000 people. Here below are the key findings – more details may be found in the factsheets and report at the links below.
- 49% of Georgians have a positive image of the EU, the highest of the countries of the Eastern Partnership. Only 5% of Georgians have a negative view of the EU, which is well below the regional average of 13%.
- 83% of Georgians feel relations with the European Union are good – the same as in 2017 and well ahead of the regional average of 63%.
- 70% of people in Georgia trust the EU (up 4% on 2017). Trust in the EEU remains low (24%).
- 67% of Georgians (up 9% on 2017) are aware of the EU’s financial support to the country, and 59% consider the support to be effective.
Georgia report and factsheets 2018: https://www.euneighbours.eu/en/east/stay-informed/publications/opinion-survey-2018-georgia
Regional overview 2018 (all EaP countries): https://www.euneighbours.eu/en/east/stay-informed/publications/opinion-survey-2018-regional-overview
The opinion polling was carried out by the ‘EU NEIGHBOURS east’ project in March/April 2018 in all six countries of the Eastern Partnership – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. The annual surveys are now into their third year, with the first wave having been carried out in 2016.
Team Leader and Campaign Coordinator
EU NEIGHBOURS east
Communicating for a stronger partnership: connecting with citizens across the Eastern Neighbourhood (EU OPEN Neighbourhood Programme)
July 11, 2018 will mark four years since the Azerbaijani civilians Dilgam Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyev have been taken hostage and Hasan Hasanov was brutally killed while visiting the graves of their relatives in the Kalbajar region of the Republic of Azerbaijan occupied by the Republic of Armenia.
D.Asgarov "received life imprisonment" and Shahbaz Guliyev "was sentenced to 22 years" within the fabricated criminal case by the illegal separatist entity, established by Armenia in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.
As known, Armenia unleashed the war and used force against Azerbaijan, occupied almost one fifth of its territory, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven adjacent districts, carried out ethnic cleansing of the seized areas by expelling hundreds of thousands Azerbaijanis from their homes and committed other atrocious crimes during the conflict. The international community has consistently deplored, in the strongest terms, the use of military force against Azerbaijan and the resulting occupation of its territories, as reflected in United Nations Security Council resolutions 822 (1993), 853 (1993), 874 (1993) and 884 (1993), thus rejecting any actions violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and refusing to recognize as legitimate the situation created through such actions.
The illegal separatist entity, which "sentenced" Azerbaijani civilians, is referred to by Armenia as the "Nagorno-Karabakh Republic". It is denied any international recognition and essentially under Armenia's direction and control.
The photos of D.Asgarov and S.Guliyev before and after the illegal imprisonment prove that they are subject to inhuman treatment in captivity. Contrary to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, which prohibit the taking of hostages and demands human treatment to civilians during the armed conflicts, Armenia continues to ignore calls of Azerbaijan to observe norms and principles of international humanitarian law and release of the civilians.
D.Asgarov and S.Guliyev have been displaced from their native lands since 1993 as a result of aggression by Armenia. More than twenty years of longing for home drove them to this desperate act of visiting their occupied lands and in this regard, their desire to see their homes and the graves of their parents is understandable. Thus, thesr illegal imprisonment and Armenia's stubborn objection to release them cause suffering to their relatives and rightfu! indignation of the Azerbaijani population.
Armenia's inhuman and non-constructive position derails the peaceful resolution of the conflict. Keeping D.Askerov and S.Guliyev in captivity is yet another manifestation of Armenia's targeted and well-known policy of ethnic cleansing which is aimed at consolidation of the results of aggression and occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan and preventing hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis to exercise their right to return to their homes from which they were forcibly expelled as well as enjoy the right to life, liberty and security.
The Azerbaijani side is against the politicization of this humanitarian case and expects that the the international community will not stay indifferent to the fates of D.Asgarov and S.Guliyev who developed numerous health problems in captivity and undertake effective measures to make influence on Armenia to achieve an immediate release of the innocent civilians and help them to rejoin their families.