A number of Editors-in-Chief at prominent news platforms are set to sign up today the Media for Sustainable Development Goals (Media4SDGs) initiative, launched by UNESCO 5 years ago.
Among the parties set to sign is Ms. Safaa Nawar, editor-in-chief at See.news.
The initiative dates back to 2014, when UNESCO organised a Global Media Forum in Bali, Indonesia, which underscored that free, independent media, as well as information and communications technologies will have a prominent position in the Sustainable Development Agenda, particularly for the marginalised groups.
Eventually, the Forum adopted the Bali Roadmap, which contains recommendations on the important role the media plays in informing and educating the public on issues related to education, health, the environment, gender and minorities.
According to the UNESCO website, the Bali Roadmap highlights the critical role independent media as well as community media play in giving a voice to marginalised groups to become active citizens by having an influence on political decisions that affect their lives. It also stipulates that countries and the international community must ensure that the conditions for this are realised in every region of the world, and media and civil society organisations must seize the opportunities that new media have offered to connect with broader audiences.
Building on this, UNESCO led the Media for Sustainable Development Goals (Media4SDGs) initiative. The initiative is contributing to enhancing public debate and civic engagement in SDG implementation through media (community, social, private, state and public) creating a new avenue for storytelling in relation to the SDGs.
In particular, the project is based on the conviction that media have a multidimensional role:
– to inform, raise awareness and educate;
– to be a platform for public debate and civic engagement;
– to empower individuals and groups through knowledge sharing; and
– to hold governments, authorities, and corporations accountable.
The project was outlined to include activities at regional and national levels. The Media4SDGs implementation will be carried-out simultaneously at regional and country levels depending on available resources and partnerships.
In addition, the initiative will be implemented through capacity building and training in the field of data journalism, science, environmental journalism as well as investigative reporting, quality content production and sharing, including the creation of a database of validated SDG information, freely accessible for the media. In addition, there will be establishing partnerships and networks (e.g. networks of regional specialised journalists, regional and national groups for information dissemination).
The implementation methods also include: Advocacy on legal reform and regulatory framework for a conducive enabling environment, increased media coverage of issues affecting women, youth and marginalized groups; and increased public debates on media regarding SDGs.