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A Final Statement on the WSIS+10 Review Meetings

 
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Maurice Ali



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
Posts: 264
Location: Toronto, Canada

PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2015 9:39 am    Post subject: A Final Statement on the WSIS+10 Review Meetings Reply with quote

A Final Statement on the WSIS+10 Review Meetings





By Maurice Ali, President: IAIJ Inc.




Maurice Ali




The WSIS+10 Review Meetings are over with the adoption of the agreed outcome document on December 16, 2015! The International Association of Independent Journalists was an active participant of this process from the first review meeting until the actual adoption at the final review meeting.

The issue of citizen journalist protections was already actively promoted at UNESCO before our involvement started in 2012. However the biggest problem was getting accurate data about on-line (citizen) journalism as a foundation to back up the problem of protections for these citizen journalists. And so began a six month report and survey by IAIJ that was submitted to UNESCO in December of 2012 and culminated in an invitation to review the report at one of their sessions at the first WSIS+10 Review Meeting held in Paris (France) at UNESCO Headquarters on February 25-27, 2013. As a speaker and panelist at the Citizen Journalism session, IAIJ reviewed the results which were then used to make several recommendations, one of which became part of a statement which was part of the final statement of that review meeting:

"Promote and ensure the safety of online journalists, bloggers and human rights activists."

From what I was told there was a vote as to whether to keep or discard this statement but in the end it stayed and would stay in the outcome statements to the very end.

There have been some changes to that statement over the course of succeeding reviews. So to recap the history of those changes:


Original final statement from the first review meeting on February 2013:
"Promote and ensure the safety of online journalists, bloggers and human rights activists."

Outcome document from November 4 2015:
"38. We note however, that there are concerns about freedom of expression and plurality of information in many parts of the world, and we call for the protection of journalists, bloggers, and civil society space."


Outcome Document of the High Level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Overall Review of the Implementation of WSIS Outcomes {Suggested for Closure} 7 December 2015
"46. We note however, that there are concerns about freedom of expression and plurality of information in many parts of the world, and we call for the protection of journalists, media workers, and civil society space."


Final agreed statement (December 13, 2015 and adopted on December 16, 2015):
49 .We note however, with concern, that there are serious threats to freedom of expression and plurality of information, and we call for the protection of journalists, media workers, and civil society space. We call on States to take all appropriate measures necessary to ensure the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the right to peaceful assembly and association, and the right not to be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy, in accordance with their human rights obligations.


I hope you see the development and transformation of the first statement to the last. It is a rush to see something you had a hand in starting evolve into a pretty encompassing statement on human rights. My congratulations to all involved to get it to this final state. It makes all that work on our end including the six months on the report alone worth it in so many ways to the association and to me personally. Our contribution was that we were an actually citizen journalist association that went to the WSIS+10 review process demanding rights and freedoms for this new form of journalism; along with empirical evidence and first hand examples of rights violations among the respondents in our report. There is no more powerful an act of influence than for an affected group to actually go first-hand to those venues that help make international policy and ask for change. If anyone in this process tests the veracity of that statement it can be pointed to an actual NGO as defined by the United Nations and the recommendations supported by actual data and first hand reports contained therein. I trust that our contribution in this process helped keep that statement viable throughout the process till the final agreed outcome statement. Of course we were not the only ones involved with this part of the outcome statement so our thanks and congratulations to all the other organizations that were involved, and most importantly to all those fellow journalists that contributed to our report and to our membership and Board of Directors who all worked tirelessly to further the cause of rights and protections and freedoms to journalists of all kinds.


Once again, many thanks to all involved!




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