UNESCO handbook presented at OSCE conference on media and terrorism


UNESCO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) stimulated stakeholder dialogue around the coverage of terrorism in the media at  the OSCE Media and Terrorism conference organized, on 1 and 2 September 2018, in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).

"The media can help us to understand better the issue of terrorism and empower citizens by providing them with established and contextualized news," said UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, Mr Moez Chakchouk.

The event, attended by local and international journalists and media professionals aimed at discussing the latest trends, issues and professional standards on reporting about terrorism and violent extremism online, in print and electronic media. “Ethical and professional reporting means informing the public without giving in to exaggeration or sensationalism, stressed Mr Chakchouk. Through balanced and pluralistic coverage, the media can help to bridge ethnic, political, religious, and social boundaries. Professional and ethical journalism help to make peace, dialogue and mutual understanding a reality.”

“Journalists and editors face many challenges, when approaching sensitive subjects such as terrorism. One of those challenges is how to respond to the right of the general public to be informed while remaining objective and avoiding the pitfall of adding to the atmosphere of fear that often surrounds these issues,” said Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH Bruce G. Berton.

The local language edition of the UNESCO publication “Terrorism and the Media: a Handbook for Journalists” was also launched. The handbook, prepared by international expert Jean-Paul Marthoz, aims to raise journalists’ awareness of the need to exercise caution and examine carefully who they quote, what messages they relay and how they contextualize their information, despite the pressures to win readers, viewers and listeners.

The Assistant Director-General’s visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina was an opportunity to reinforce UNESCO’s strategic partnership with the OSCE. It also strengthened the fruitful relationship with partners in Bosnia and Herzegovina, notably in the context of the joint UNESCO and European Commission project Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey, aimed at reinforcing media accountability mechanisms and enabling citizen’s media and information literacy.