Nigeria: UNESCO teams up with diplomats to spread media and information literacy

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“Ambassadors are symbols of international cooperation and key players in UNESCO. This is a message of solidarity to ambassadors from different countries to ensure that cyberspace is safe,” Mr Jelassi said. .

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Tuesday expressed its willingness to join forces with ambassadors from its 193 member states to spread media and information literacy (MIL).

Speaking at a parallel session of Global MIL Week titled “Ambassadors as Messengers Advocating for MIL”, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, Tawfik Jelassi, invited ambassadors to join the quest to make cyberspace safe.

The Nigerian government kicked off Global MIL Week in Abuja on Monday with an opening ceremony at the State House.

“Ambassadors are symbols of international cooperation and key players in UNESCO. This is a message of solidarity to ambassadors from different countries to ensure that cyberspace is safe,” Mr Jelassi said. .

He added that the partnership must focus on how to repair the already broken trust people have in information from cyberspace. In doing so, “we must co-regulate with stakeholders to ensure cyberspace is safe and used for the public good.”

He said UNESCO plans to hold a regulatory conference in February 2023 with major tech companies. Mr Jelassi, however, clarified that the aim of the conference is not to promote censorship but accountability – to ensure that information remains for the public good.

“If you regulate you have a negative impact on freedom of expression, we are very aware of that. You know it’s a very thin line and we have to balance. Because UNESCO has been the main agency of the Nations United on freedom of expression, freedom of the press and safety of journalists, we cannot shoot ourselves in the foot…”

Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Ciu Jianchun, who was one of the panelists, welcomed UNESCO’s invitation on behalf of his colleagues (ambassadors). He said the evolution of information and technology is as important as the climate change that the world is paying attention to right now.

“We believe that ambassadors, embassies can do something to support this, because the diplomatic mission is not only about overseeing political, economic, security and international affairs, but should also focus on people and communication and on how we can use our technology,” he said. .

He added that global citizens must maximize the advantages and benefits of technology and minimize harm.

Mr. Jianchum added that it is important at this time for the international community to work together to identify the root cause of the information disorder and propose solutions.

He also proposed a media incentive model – one that rewards platforms that produce and promote authentic information.

According to the panel moderator, Hajo Sani, Nigeria’s permanent delegate to UNESCO, other ambassadors in Abuja who were to be part of the panel were unable to come following the security alert issued by the United States. and the UK.

PREMIUM TIMES reported that the US and UK missions in Nigeria issued separate security advisories on Sunday warning of probable terrorist attacks in Abuja.

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