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L’UNESCO renforce la démocratie participative et le dialogue public en Palestine - Communiqué de presse de l'UNESCO Français
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Source: United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
6 February 2009

UNESCO strengthens Palestinian participatory democracy and public dialogue

UNESCO is starting a two year project to foster participatory dialogue between Palestinian citizens and the decision-makers. The aim is to strengthen democratic processes through citizen journalism, blogging and public debates in new and electronic media. The project, developed by the UNESCO Office in Ramallah and the AMIN Media Network, has been established thanks to a grant from the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) after a highly competitive global call for proposals.

UNESCO’s Office in Ramallah and the AMIN Media Network have signed an implementation partnership agreement to implement the project with a funding of USD 300,000. The objective of the project is to increase awareness in local media of people’s participation, to develop more open and transparent communication systems, to enhance equitable and inclusive democratic dialogue between citizens and public officials, and to strengthen the participation of civil society in public debates, decision making and democratic processes.

The concrete activities include capacity building in citizen journalism, blogging as well as production of community radio talk shows and national television debates. In 2008, when a pilot phase was launched, over 900 blogs were created in AMIN’s web portal by journalists, members of civil society and ordinary citizens in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, demonstrating the huge interest in the new media and social networking to promote freedom of expression and public debate.

Citizen journalism and blogs may serve as platforms for increased interaction between citizens, communities and the Palestinian Authority, bridging the communication gap. Journalists and members of civil society are trained in the production of community radio talk shows and in how to stage national TV debates on good governance, development and democracy.

The project will particularly focus on fostering the participation of youth, women and marginalized communities in the rural areas and the refugee camps in the public debates. Mobile radio units will reach communities that do not have access to media and decision makers, while TV debates will focus on issues concerning the Palestinian society as a whole, empowering people and connecting the West Bank and Gaza in a dialogue that may contribute to overcoming mobility restrictions and the feeling of isolation.

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