Pakistan launch of UNESCO's 'World Trends Report'

Lahore 27 February 2018: The second global edition of UNESCO's "World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development" was launched on 27 February at the University of the Punjab, Lahore.

The event "World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development: A Pakistani Perspective on UNESCO Report" was co-organized by the University's Institute of Communication Studies (ICS) and by the Journalism and Media International Center (JMIC) at the Oslo Metropolitan University.

The World Trends Report - funded by Sweden and supported by Norway - is part of a UNESCO flagship publication series mapping key transformations in freedom of expression and media development globally between 2012 and 2017.

Ms. Camila Ferro, Consultant at the UNESCO Islamabad office, presented the report highlighting main global trends.

One the Reports' main conclusions is that press freedom is in major flux: pulled forward in some respects, but going backwards in more. The rise of online tools plays a major role in bringing about changes in all key areas used to assess freedom of expression and media development. These areas are:

 Media freedom: the right to seek and receive information has improved, but the right to impart has faced new curbs, regarding i.e. legislations or internet shutdowns.
 Pluralism: transformations related to media pluralism have been dramatic, highlighting a series of contradictory trends: while access has expanded, choices have become narrower.
 Independence: among aspects of press freedom that are at stake, media independence is one of the most vulnerable (i.e. political and economic pressure on independent media). Conversely, self-regulation remains highly popular, including among journalists and in (post)conflict areas.
 Safety of journalists: According to UNESCO figures, the number of journalists killed in a five-year period increased substantially: 216 journalists were killed between 2007 and 2011 in comparison to 530 journalists from 2012 to 2016. Impunity prevails: 9 in 10 cases remain unpunished.

Gender is a cross-cutting theme across the report: sadly, none of the researched areas above show an improvement in gender indicators in media.

The official launch of the Report had the presence of a series of speakers, such as the Vice Chancellor of the University of Punjab, the Swedish Ambassador to Pakistan, the Norwegian Ambassador to Pakistan, the JMIC Director, journalists, among others.

The afternoon consisted of parallel plenary sessions focused on key areas of the report: media freedom, independence, pluralism, and the safety of journalists. Other parallel sessions were used for the presentation of relevant research papers. These sessions were attended by a larger national and international audience, who shared their views on the Pakistani perspective of world trends in freedom of expression and media development.

The World Trends report 2017/ 2018 can be downloaded here: https://en.unesco.org/world-media-trends-2017
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