Forum of Mediterranean Women Journalists, sixth edition: UNESCO in Bari on “Women, Peace, Security” and “Infodemic”

The second part of the international event, founded in 2016, will be held from 21st to 25thNovember in Puglia.

UNESCO and the University of Bari draw attention press freedom in Italy and especially in Puglia as a land of “unfought wars”: a master class with members of the panel that awards the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize and a security training for women journalists.

BARI – Founded in 2016 by the investigative journalist Marilù Mastrogiovanni, the 6th edition of the Forum of Mediterranean Women Journalists will be held around 25th November, the international day for the elimination of violence against women.

After the recent session held in Rome, the Forum of Mediterranean Women journalists moves to Puglia, with online and in-attendance events held across Bari, Brindisi, Taranto and Foggia.

The Puglia edition is organised by “Giulia Giornaliste” with the Association “Giornaliste del Mediterraneo” (Mediterranean women journalists) in conjunction with UNESCO, Corecom Puglia and the University of Bari. The event be part of the project “Women, peace, security: what “kind” of news, what “kind” of war - The voice of women from conflict zones”, organised by the Pangea Onlus Foundation leader of the project, sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and CIDU (the Italian Inter-Ministerial Human Rights Committee), under the National Action Plan DPS-WPS.

Under the combined online and in attendance format, the Forum will be held in twostages: the first in Rome, from 3rd to 7th November while the second will be in Puglia, from 21st to 25th November.

The Forum features a massive schedule: 30 panels, 60 hours of training, 10 days, 120 journalists, activists and women academicians from across Euro-Mediterranean countries.

Two master classes and a security training for women journalists, organised by UNESCO

The event will rotate around two topics: “Women, Peace, Security” and “Infodemic”. The Forum mission remains intact: “Building bridges and tearing down walls, promoting views on the work of investigative women journalists, as a defence of Democracy and therefore peace”.

Partnership with UNESCO

As part of its Forum planning in Bari, UNESCO - a UN agency specialised in promoting press freedom - will support a master class with some of the members of the UNESCO panel - chaired by Marilù Mastrogiovanni - which awards the Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.

In addition, UNESCO will organise a training on security techniques, especially for investigative women journalists.

The master class and training will be held in conjunction with the University of Bari and the Journalism Specialisation Course.

The Forum is organised by the Pangea Onlus Foundation and “Associazione giornaliste del mediterraneo” (Mediterranean Women Journalists Association), in conjunction with the IdeaDinamica journalists cooperative, Giulia Giornaliste, the University of Bari and the Journalism Specialisation Course held by the University of Bari, in conjunction with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs-CIDU (the Italian Inter-Ministerial Human Rights Committee), UNESCO, Corecom Puglia, the Councillor for equality in the Puglia Regional Council.

Schedule available at:

The meetings will be broadcast online on the Facebook pages of the Forum of Mediterranean Women Journalists, Pangea onlus foundation, Journalism Specialisation Course of the University of Bari, Giulia giornaliste, Idea Dinamica scarl.

FIVE POSITION PAPERS

This massive networking effort and everything observed from awareness-raising and training events will be used to create 5 position paperson the DPS-WPS Agenda in relation to the 5 topics tabled by the Women Peace and Security Forum, namely ideological, social, political, religious and environmental conflicts.

The position papers will be annexed to the “Taranto Manifesto”, which will be the final output of the “Europe4Future” project, which will be presented before the European Parliament.

#Post-Forum

After the morning panels, this year evenings will shift focus to images, debates as well as the charm of theatre and literature. As a matter of fact, this year the Forum also includes the #PostForum Festival, which was held in Rome from 3rd to 7th November, at the “Centro Donna Pangea” theatre: the event feature documentaries, plays, presentation of books and multicultural get togethers.

'Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes'

“Recognising the role played by women in peace processes and in resolving conflicts is crucial”. A role often unrecognised or ignored, because historically wars are told from a man's perspective. On the contrary, facts tell a different story. They tell of an active and central role played by women in these events, to a point that Resolution 1325 not only recognises women as victims but also as agents for rebuilding the society and mediators of political processes. This point must be taken into account when addressing conflicts. Stories on the women we engaged specifically address this issue and teach us that courage alone is not enough: we need to meet, recognise each other and fight together. We must always focus on putting emphasis on peace, war and plight of women while at the same time acknowledging the importance of solidarity processes, self-awareness and sisterhood”, says Simona Lanzoni, vice-chairlady of Pangea Onlus foundation.

Killed on 16th October 2017 in the explosion of a bomb planted in her car and detonated by remote control, the Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia is a source of inspiration for all activities carried out by the Forum.

Galizia was 53 and a mother of three. In her last years she had conducted several investigations which ruffled feathers in politics and her bank accounts had even been frozen. 'Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes', she often said. And this is the title of her book published posthumously.

“We cannot afford and do not want to let this message to fall on deaf ears”, says Marilù Mastrogiovanni, journalist and founder of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, the world press freedom prize awarded every year to a journalist who stands out for commitment at the service of free press and freedom of expression. “This is why we heighten our commitment in support of women journalists who - in Italy, just like anywhere across the globe - report and dig deeper into news every day, even putting their own lives in the line. These women are human rights defenders, whose voice is stifled or isolated.

On the contrary, that voice should be amplified every day so as to overcome limitations and barriers, becoming a shared heritage. And it is with this goal in mind that we continue to build a network among investigative women journalists, activists of the civil society and women involved in gender studies”, she continued. “At the same time, we are committed to investigating further into the plight of women worldwide, lending a listening ear to people from challenging backgrounds. This endeavour is guided by the declaration of women's rights stemming from the World Conference on Women in Beijing and from the UN Resolution 1325”, Mastrogiovanni emphasised.

Partnerships

Already tabled before UNESCO, UN, OECD and Anna Lindh foundation, this year the Forum will join the Europe4Future project, conceived to host ideas, hopes and projects of student boys and girls on the future of Europe. Led by Crea Onlus, in partnership with the Citynews publishing group and targeting schools, universities and student unions, the project was allocated funds by the European Parliament. Europe called youths and women from Southern Italy to action on climate change and environment, health, economy, social justice and employment, relations with the European Union around the world, values and rights, security, digital transformation, European democracy, immigration and education, culture and sports.

This opportunity is offered through the Europe4future online platform which is the driving force behind the conference on the future of Europe. Ideas will be gathered to keep the project alive and give it shape. “All ideas will be gathered in a document we decided to name the Taranto Manifesto and which will be presented directly before the European Parliament as part of the project”, said Marilù Mastrogiovanni. “Taranto was the city of choice because it must become a symbol of a true ecological transition, sustainable and viable development, no longer a place of environmental decay and death. The Italian revival must start from the South and Taranto must be its most successful goal”, the founder of the Forum wound up.

The Forum of Mediterranean Women Journalists network also consists of: the National Association of Italian Journalists, Amnesty international, Reporters without borders, Ossigeno per l’Informazione, Puglia Association of Journalists, Assostampa. Several associations and groups under the University of Bari: Smurare il Mediterraneo Master in Giornalismo, For.Psi.Com Department, Archivio di Genere , Balab-One stop shop , Innovation & creativity center; as well as Pangea- Reama foundation, Centro antiviolenza Renata Fonte, University of Malta, The Shift news (Malta), Association of European Journalists -Bulgaria, Collegi de periodistes de Catalunya, Czech Center for Investigative Journalism -Prague, Associacio Mon Comunicacio-Barcelona, Creis-European research center for sustainable innovation, Uzbek -German Forum for human rights-Berlin, Radio Radicale. Other members of the Forum over the years have been UNHCR-United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; Office of the President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies (President Laura Boldrini); Accademia Della Crusca; Associazione nazionale “Articolo 21” and University of Salento. The Forum joined the Europe4Future network.

NOTES: UN Resolution 1325

Last year, the United Nations Security Council Resolution on Women, Peace and Security (hereinafter referred to as, UNSCR 1325) marked its 20th anniversary. Other resolutions that expanded the Women, Peace and Security Agenda (DPS-WPS) have been adopted since then. However, consensus on mediation of peace processes is still predominantly in the hands of men, while women of the civil society continue to be sidelined. This often due to the fact that it is easier to include and listen to women belonging to a well-formed elite rather than to those coming from more challenging backgrounds.

One of the obstacles encountered on the ground hindering an effective implementation and application of the DPS-WPS agenda lies in the scanty awareness around the issue among the civil society. The media play a primary role in informing the public opinion. This is why it is absolutely crucial for men and women journalists to be in a position to correctly portray and convey experiences, history and role of women in conflicts whether local, national or international, political, religious, environmental, social or ideological.

Therefore, the project generally aims to promote strategic communication on matters pertaining to the DPS-WPS agenda and UNSCR 1325 so as to enhance the role of women in resolving conflicts and promoting peace and security in Italy and in countries in conflict alike. Therefore, the project aims to create awareness around the DPS-WPS Agenda and the related topics among the public opinion. In particular, the project aims to arouse interest in major issues on conflicts we are faced with during the pandemic and emphasise on the crucial role women play in addressing these issues locally, nationally and internationally on daily basis.

Through this edition focusing on the DPS-WPS Agenda, the Forum aims to train men and women journalists as well as future men and women journalists, by providing permanent online training modules, on the Sigef platform of the National Italian Journalists Association.

Furthermore, the Forum offers other interested stakeholder active in the field a chance to hone their skills on how to effectively create awareness around the DPS-WPS Agenda to promote the role played by women in the application of the same.

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