Albana Shala, chair of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), addressed this topic at Deutsche Welle’s Global Media Forum in Bonn on 22 June.
Ms Shala highlighted that IPDC is adapting to meet the challenges of the digital age, through partnerships such as with Deutsche Welle on indicators for media viability – including digital viability, as well as by supporting innovative media projects like an online course for Mexican judges.
These activities aimed to help bridge the digital gap among nations and to support online freedom of expression and access to information as rights.
“No other contemporary development is likely to be more profound in its long term impact on global society than the information revolution and the rise of the Internet,” said the IPDC Chair.
Ms Shala described how IPDC was at the forefront of global efforts to support the safety of journalists, including digital safety. In addition, IPDC supported the empowerment of young people to put their issues effectively onto the digital media and social media agenda.
“This is what gives young people control of their own identities – instead of leaving vulnerable to emotional manipulation by propaganda or advertising. We live in a young world,” she said.
Her remarks noted that IPDC’s Council endorsed continued work in standard setting through the elaboration and application of indicators relevant to media development.
This includes work on indicators for Internet development, to assess the extent to which the universality of the Internet is being reinforced by the principles of human-Rights, Openness, Accessibility, and Multi-stakeholder participation (R.O.A.M).
More could be done but IPDC was increasingly being fitted out, said the IPDC Chair, adding that “it goes without saying that UN has to be fit for the digital age, for which we have no alternative”.