www.shishuprokash.com, the website of Shishu Prokash, a news agency consisting child journalists, was launched during the 1st Child Journalist Convention 2009 at the Bangladesh Shishu Academy auditorium yesterday. Mass-Line Media Centre (MMC) with the help of United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) organised the convention. MMC have trained up 1,235 child journalists since 2005 under its Children's Express project. A total of 1,024 child rights based bimonthly reports by these child journalists were published in Shishu Prokash since its inception. All those reports were published in the local newspapers and 512 reports were published in the national newspapers. A total of 1200 reports of these child journalists were also published in several local and national dailies. These journalists work for ensuring child rights and they work in a group of ten (five boys and five girls) with one team leader in each district. All the 640 journalists and their 64 team leaders were present at the convention.
Reporters Without Borders condemns the wave of censorship that has hit many Iranian and foreign Farsi-language websites since 24 January. Most of the sites contain articles critical of the government and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose term expires on 12 June. International news media websites have also been blocked since 26 January.
After directly targeting human rights activists, the authorities are now stepping up their control of the Internet, one of the few areas of freedom for Iran's citizens,” Reporters Without Borders said. Internet filtering is not new in Iran but we are worried about the scale it has assumed and the fact that it is affecting all the main cities. We call for an end to the sanctions against these websites, which are sources of news and information.
The Farsi-language site of the German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle (www.dw-world.de/dw/0,,641,00.html) has been inaccessible since 26 January, as has the Farsi version of the Radio France Internationale site (http://www.rfi.fr/actufa/pages/001/accueil.asp) and the Arabic-language site of the satellite TV station Al-Arabiya (http://www.alarabiya.net/persian/) (see screen captures).
According to the tests conducted by Reporters Without Borders yesterday and the day before, the blocking is affecting the cities of Tehran, Qom, Ahvaz, Karaj, Tabriz, Bousher, Meshedd and Shiraz (see map).
Bahman Hedayati, the editor of the Parsine website (www.parsine.com), described the blocking of his site as illegal in an interview on 26 January for the Iranian news agency ILNA. The literary website Haftan (www.haftan.com) was blocked the same day by certain Internet Service Providers without any explanation. Iran's leading literary critics have for the past three years been writing for the site, which is very popular with young Iranians.
Several news websites that criticise the government or belong to potential rivals of President Ahmadinejad have also been rendered inaccessible by ISPs since 24 January. Farda News (www.fardanews.com) and Parsine (www.parsine.com/), sites that support Tehran mayor Mohammed Baqer Qalibaf, a future Ahmadinejad rival, are among those that have been blocked.
Cyber-feminists Parvin Ardalan, Jelveh Javaheri, Maryam Hosseinkhah and Nahid Keshavarz were meanwhile summoned before a Tehran appeal court again yesterday. Calling for their convictions to be quashed, their lawyer, Masomeh Sotoudeh, said posting articles defending women’s rights did not constitute “subversive activities” or “anti-government propaganda.”
The four cyber-feminists were sentenced last September to six months in prison for contributing to the online newspapers Zanestan (“Women’s City” - http://herlandmag.net/) and Tagir Bary Barbary (“Change for Equality” - http://we-change.org/).
After the English proficiency training was given by Filipino public school teachers to their counterparts in Busan, South Korea in 2008, Korean volunteers are now conducting a two week-training for Filipino teachers on Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Department of Education Secretary Jesli Lapus said the symbiotic exchange of expertise on teaching trends among Asian teachers is very relevant in further strengthening regional cooperation. 'This gesture of the Korean people will endow our teachers with relevant skills that will enable them to meet the needs of 21st century teaching,' Lapus added.
The Joint E-learning Training and Education Exchange Program – under the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Internet Volunteers Program (AIV) – will be conducted on January 18 to 23, 2009 at different venues in the National Capital Region and Region IV-A. It will be co-sponsored by the Institute of APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) Collaborative Education of the Republic of Korea. AIV aims to support the ICT needs of APEC member-economies by dispatching volunteers from different levels of education. This initiative is in support of DepEd-initiated ICT for Education or ICT4E. This partnership ensures that Filipino school heads and teachers will be well-versed with e-learning and the Problem-based Learning method or PBL. This is also part of the preparations for the implementation of a full-scale APEC Education Exchange Program later this year.
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The European Commission aims to achieve 100 % high-speed internet coverage for all citizens by 2010 as part of the European Economic Recovery Plan. € 1 billion has been earmarked today to help rural areas get online, bring new jobs and help businesses grow. On average, 93 % of Europeans can enjoy a high speed online connection but in some countries broadband covers less than half of the rural population (see the table in the annex). Broadband internet connection is expected to create 1 million jobs and boost the EU's economy by €850 billion between 2006 and 2015.