UNESCO World Press Freedom - International Video Conference

World Press Freedom day is annually observed on May 3rd. To prepare and learn the importance about the day, on April 29th, students connected through video conference to examine the complex global reality of PressFreedom, the role of UNESCO, and how young people can get involved to impact change.

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  1. Students from three Canadian ASPnet schools (from Manitoba, Nova Scotia, and Alberta), South Africa, Taiwan, and Alaska came together to discuss and learn why it is important to have freedom of Press. As you can see by these tweets, the conversation was powerful!
  2. We had the privilege to connect with the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, Marius Aleksas Lukosiunas - Program Specialist, Communication and Information Sector from UNESCO, and Sheniece Linderboom from Freedom of Expression Institute in South Africa. Each panelist shared the importance of freedom of information and why it is important for us to continue to fight for freedom of press and speech.
  3. We started the day with saying hello to the Canadian Commission for UNESCO in Ottawa, Canada. Pauline, explained that the definition of freedom of the press and expression has changed over time because of how we now use the internet to get information.
  4. Marius, who joined us from Paris, gave us a global perspective on UNESCO and its role in world press freedom. He explained the work UNESCO plays in protecting and promoting freedom of the press through raising awareness for such things as ownership, protection of source, gender biases, and media independence.
  5. Sheniece, who joined us from South Africa, talked about how freedom of press and expression differs in South Africa than in other parts of the world. She explained that we, as a global community, have a great need for freedom of expression. Freedom of expression allows us the find out the truth, criticize and converse with one and another without fear, and lastly it is an important part of the democratic process.
  6. While Sheniece was sharing how freedom of expression and freedom of press is constricted in South Africa, students were tweeting about journalists who were either harmed or jailed because they reported on events that brought a negative spotlight on someone or something.
  7. One complex topic that became a part of our conversation was whether having no limit on freedom of speech is a good thing or a bad thing? Does having freedom of speech mean it is alright to have hate speech that discriminates? How do we differentiate freedom of speech and a hate speech?
  8. In the second half of our event, we had the privelege to have Dan Morrison share his expertise and experience as a photo journalist and a University of Oregon professor . Dan started by explaining how much the government protects individuals with their freedom of speech.
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