[Dateline: New York | Author: Department of Public Information]
The need to recognize the vital role of media and communications as an essential part of peacebuilding efforts is the focus of a one-day conference organized by the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) – in collaboration with the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) – to be held on 12 December 2008 at UN Headquarters in New York.
The conference brings together senior representatives from Member States undergoing peacebuilding, media from such countries, representatives of the UN system, and other international and non-governmental organizations. The objective is to put media and communications on the peacebuilding agenda, by reviewing past efforts in this area, looking at current initiatives, taking stock of existing capacities and challenges, as well as exploring possibilities for future action.
The conference builds on recognition of the vital role media and communications can play to promote and strengthen governance and participatory democracy, as well as to build support for and implement policy and ultimately to assist in the prevention of relapse into conflict. Unfortunately, in most post-conflict countries today, as a result of a lack of support, infrastructure or effective regulatory framework, independent, public-service media have little chance to grow.
Three panel debates will look at the challenges of communications and media work in post-conflict countries and how peacebuilding actors can help to meet them, from the perspectives of government officials, media professionals and international actors from the donor community, UN and non-governmental bodies.
Participants are expected to explore how the international community, and the United Nations system in particular, can contribute to ensuring that communications between governments, civil society and the media become an integral element of peacebuilding efforts in nations emerging from conflict. They will also examine how a healthy, independent media and effective communication between relevant stakeholders can play a crucial role in achieving key peacebuilding objectives.