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Nurturing the democratic debate.  
30-03-2004 3:00 pm UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of the Communication (IPDC) is reviewing 86 media projects from developing countries and countries in transition during its current meeting at Headquarters, March 29 – April 2. Financing decisions will be reported Wednesday to the Intergovernmental Council. The Programme provides financial assistance for the development of electronic, print and broadcast media.

The session will feature two events that are open to the press: a thematic debate on the Promotion of Pluralism and Good Governance through Media Development (April 1, 10 a.m. to 4.30 p.m., Room X) and the award of the 2003 IPDC-UNESCO Prize for Rural Communication (March 31, 5 p.m. Room X).

The IPDC is the only multilateral forum in the UN system to promote media development in developing countries. It provides funding from voluntary contributions by donor countries while working to secure a healthy environment for the growth of free and pluralistic media in developing countries.

An Intergovernmental Council, composed of 39 member states and elected by UNESCO’s General Conference governs the IPDC whose Bureau consists of eight member states nominated by the Council. The Bureau meets annually to appraise, select and approve funding for media projects.

IPDC projects are wide-ranging - from an African news agency to a women's television venture in a small Pacific island, from a regional media institute in Southern Africa to Nepal's first independent radio station. Since its inception in 1980, the IPDC has supported nearly 1000 projects in 135 countries.

The US$ 20,000 IPDC-UNESCO Prize for Rural Communication will be given to one of the following five finalists:

· “Projet Radio” of the Andrew Lees Trust (Madagascar): since 1999 has identified methodologies for creating education and information access to 350 largely illiterate villages by broadcasting programmes on health, food security and education in local languages. It is currently being scaled up to reach 1000 more villages in the region.

  • Community Radio Madanpokhara Palpa (Nepal), a women’s community radio project run by local women engages members of the community in monthly meetings to decide on radio programmes which are networked to 60 listener clubs and centres. This community radio develops its annual action plan to stimulate creative and sustainable development work based on the needs of the community.

  • Fara’a Rural Radio (Niger): has set up a network of rural journalists recruited from local communities. They receive basic training on news and information gathering, processing, and production to improve communication between the local population, government departments and development services.

  • People First Network Project (Solomon Islands): a growing rural communications network of solar-powered, community-owned and managed e-mail stations is connected to the internet. It disseminates local content in response to basic needs and provides distance education and information to foster indigenous business development and to encourage the participation of women in the information society.

  • Radio Toco (Trinidad and Tobago): since its launch in 1997, is the first and only community-based radio station in the country and has been using news and interviews to inform and educate the community, promote development initiatives, and motivate women’s participation in sustainable development.

    On April 1, following the plenary session that approves projects, the IPDC will open the thematic debate with the participation of: Valdas Adamkus, former President of Lithuania and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for the Construction of Knowledge Societies; Professor Kwame Karikari, Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (Ghana); Narasinhan Ram, Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu, India; Jeff Lovitt, Director of Communications of the international nongovernmental organization Transparency International; Kubashini Rama, Deputy Director of Genderlinks in South Africa; and Nasim Zehra, an independent journalist from Pakistan.

    For more information see: www.unesco.org/webworld/ipdc

    Source Media advisory No 2004 - 20
    Author(s) UNESCOPRESS


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