Good News Agency – Year II, n° 6
Good News Agency carries positive and constructive news from all over the world relating to voluntary work, the work of the United Nations, non governmental organizations, and institutions engaged in improving the quality of life – news that doesn’t “burn out” in the space of a day.
Good News Agency is distributed through Internet to over 1,700 editorial offices of the daily newspapers and periodical magazines and of the radio and television stations with an e-mail address in 20 countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, USA, and it is also available in its web site:
It is a free of charge service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, a registered non-profit educational organization chartered in Italy in 1979. The Association operates for the development of consciousness and supports the activities of the Lucis Trust, Radio For Peace International, The Club of Budapest and other organizations promoting a culture of peace in the ‘global village’ perspective based on unity within diversity and on sharing. Via Antagora 10, 00124 Rome, Italy. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
FAO's committee on fisheries establishes new sub committee on aquaculture: one of the fastest growing food production sectors
Rome, 7 March - FAO's intergovernmental Committee on Fisheries has decided to set up a new Sub-Committee on Aquaculture to deal with important emerging issues connected with this important food-producing activity, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said today.
The proposed Sub-Committee "would serve as an intergovernmental mechanism for information exchange, discussion and consensus-building on emerging issues in aquaculture", FAO said. This would include guidance for governments and international bodies on technical and policy matters.
An Expert Consultation set up by the FAO to consider the issue reported that such a committee would be justified on a number of grounds. These included:
- the growing contribution of aquaculture to global food security and economic development;
- the diversity of international trends affecting the sector, which require greater international cooperation;
- the increasing need to address aquaculture issues in a global forum.
International experts discuss plan of action on forest fires
Rome, 9 March - Coordinated action to address the issue of forest fires in different parts of the world is the main topic being discussed at a three-day meeting of international experts on forest fire management and control at the Rome headquarters of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) this week.
The experts are examining the outline of a possible international plan of action on forest fires, taking account of environmental concerns, national policies, laws and institutions, FAO said.
Forest fires make a major impact on forest ecosystems and have complex environmental, social, and economic dimensions. They can have both positive (if managed) and negative effects that extend far beyond their areas of occurrence.
FAO, in collaboration with the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) will host this week's meeting in response to requests from member countries. An expert from IUCN/WWF will also attend the meeting
ILO Director-General takes aim at "Glass Ceiling" Commits Organisation to gender equality in workplace
Geneva, 8 March - "We cannot afford to lose out on women's talent," said Mr. Juan Somavia, Director-General of the ILO, insisted today in an address to a panel of international dignitaries on the occasion of International Women's Day. "Improving gender equality in the workplace", he added "Is the right thing to do; it's the smart thing to do."
The gathering today at the headquarters of the International Labour Organization paid tribute to the generations of women and men who struggled for gender equality, Mr. Somavia said that "the ILO remains committed to their cause."
"Gender equality is a goal and a catalyst to achieve our core vision: decent work for women and men in conditions of freedom, equity and dignity," Mr. Somavia insisted.
UNEP and african leaders launch preparatory process for 2002 World Summit on sustainable development
Nairobi/Dakar, 9 March - Experts and officials from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) together with government leaders and members of civil society from the continent of Africa will meet in Dakar, on 12 and 13 March 2001, to launch the preparatory process for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), scheduled to be held in Johannesburg in mid-2002. Senegal's President, Abdoulaye Wade will officially open the meeting.
Representatives from African nations will discuss environmental issues that still confront the region several years after the historical United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. They will assess the gains that have been made, since the implementation of Agenda 21, arrive at a common position on the issues still facing the region and agree on ways of tackling those issues as they prepare for the Johannesburg meeting.
Arriving at a consensus will require cooperation and coordination from African nations to highlight the issues that are a matter of concern for each region. Africa aims to prepare for the 2002 meeting with the full realization that human and material resources are available to make sustainable development a concrete reality.
Geneva/Nairobi, 5 March - Leading climate change experts and officials from some 100 governments meeting in Accra, Ghana have finalized a major report assessing effective policies and technologies for tackling greenhouse gas emissions and the threat of human-induced climate change.
Today's report by Working Group III of the WMO/UNEP Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirms that many cost-effective solutions to rising greenhouse gas emissions are available today. In many cases, however, governments will need to address various institutional, behavioral and other barriers before these solutions can realize their potential.
Six women win new global peace prize sponsored by UNIFEM and International Alert
11 March - Six women from war-torn and conflict-ridden nations yesterday were awarded the new Millennium Peace Prize for Women, a global award specifically recognizing women's integral role in building peace, protecting women's human rights, and sustaining community and regional infrastructure during war.
Bhutan network will aid local decision-making
11 March - Bhutan is creating a new information network with UNDP support that will make a wide array of information readily available to local officials and bring decision-making closer to the people. This network will enable district officers in Bhutan to collect, share, retrieve and analyse data and information, narrowing the information gap between Thimphu, Bhutan's capital, and the country's districts. The initiative is important because many communities are isolated due to Bhutan's rugged terrain and limited transport and communication links.
The Japanese Human Resources Development Fund is funding the project, which will be carried out by Bhutan's Planning Commission, and UNDP Bhutan and CISP, a US company, signed a cost-sharing agreement on 2 March for the initiative.
10 March - In just a few months, the 300 members of Sierra Leone's Ogoo Women Farmers Association have turned under-utilised farmland into fields of greens vegetables, pumpkins and tomatoes, the ICRC reported on Thursday. "We women got together to help ourselves and to avoid the vices of prostitution and idleness," Mariama Keita, the association's chairman, said.
The women - most of them displaced or widowed by the war - were given seeds, tools and training by the ICRC, the Sierra Leone Red Cross, and the Ministry of Agriculture. ICRC and the SLRC supported nearly 12,000 women this way last year and plan to help another 60,000 this year.
10 March - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is scaling down its general food distribution in Angola's central highlands city of Huambo, in preference for agricultural programmes to boost food self-sufficiency, the agency told IRIN on Wednesday. Anne Zeidan, ICRC deputy head of operations for central and southern Africa, said that nutritional surveys had shown that conditions were improving in Huambo and that general food assistance would end in April. Instead, seeds and tools would be distributed to enable the local community to farm. "This break in general food distribution was planned and is not an abrupt scale down," Zeidan noted. She added that ICRC could revert to food aid after the August harvest if required.
10 March - The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation announced on Friday 2 March that it would give 2.6 million Swiss francs (US $1.6 million) to two UN agencies and an NGO to support their efforts to help thousands of Sierra Leonean and Liberian refugees in southwestern Guinea.
The equivalent of about US $605,000 goes to UNHCR to relocate the refugees to safer areas farther inland. Around US $666,000 will go to the World Food Programme for the purchase, transport and distribution of 1,370 mt of food. The Swiss chapter of Medecins sans frontieres gets roughly US $303,000 for its work in the new refugee camps.
10 March - Christ End Timer Movement (CETMI), a German NGO, appealed to humanitarian bodies on Sunday for funding to provide vocational training and medical care in Germany to 25 Sierra Leonean amputees aged 11-16 years. CETMI said it needed money for air tickets, artificial limbs, instructors and local transport for the children, who will be housed in a 40-room facility equipped with training aids. CETMI also needs money to cover the operational costs of the three-year project, which might be extended until the children become adults.
Meanwhile, Sierra Leone's health minister, Ibrahim Jalloh, has received US $130,000 from DHL West Africa for an orthopaedic and prosthetic building project for amputees, the state-owned news agency, SLENA, reported on Wednesday.
Over 5,000 people had their limbs hacked off by the Revolutionary United Front during its 11-year war against the state.
Yugoslavia: Repair work completed on Muscular Dystrophy Institute in Novi Pazar
8 March- On 1 March the Norwegian Red Cross and the ICRC handed over to the local health authorities the newly repaired Muscular Dystrophy Institute in Novi Pazar, the only one of its kind in Yugoslavia. The damage to the Institute caused by NATO bombings in April 1999 coupled with years of neglect had led to deplorable working conditions. For the patients, confined to wheelchairs for as long as they live, the repair work has made a world of difference.
A significant number of the Institute's 180 patients are permanently hospitalized and they are naturally the ones to benefit the most from the project. A 16-year-old-boy smiled broadly as the director explained that the work had not only improved the treatment facilities and made rooms available for visits and leisure activities but had literally prevented the walls from collapsing.
8 March - The Ogoo Women Farmers Association outside Freetown has every right to be proud of what it has achieved: in just a few months its 300 members, many of them displaced women or war widows, have transformed underused farmland into verdant fields bearing rich crops of local and imported vegetables, such as okra, krin-krin, pumpkins and tomatoes. This was made possible by the women's own hard work and by the timely support of the ICRC and the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society, which together provided the seed, tools and training. The Ministry of Agriculture also played a key role in the project.
The example of the Ogoo association shows that assistance programmes for women affected by war must build on their strengths and abilities, and allow them to take charge. Last year, the ICRC and the National Society supported nearly 12,000 Sierra Leonean women in this way; in 2001 they plan to assist a further 60,000 women in the country who are hoping to plant the seeds of a better future.
Afghanistan: Emergency food distribution in the Dar-e-Suf valley
8 March - Between 28 February and 4 March the ICRC distributed food rations to 14,000 people trapped by bad weather in the conflict-affected Dar-e-Suf valley, south of Mazar-i-Sharif. With the roads to the valley heavily mined and covered in snow, the ICRC organized several convoys of donkeys to reach the region's 250 villages.
The emergency distribution took place following a survey conducted by the ICRC in mid-February. Delegates in charge of the survey described the situation in humanitarian terms as "dramatic". Reto Stocker, ICRC head of sub-delegation in Mazar-i-Sharif, said: "In most of the villages we visited, there was little or no food left. To make matters worse, there was no sign of winter wheat being grown".
Carrying up to 100 kg of supplies each, some 800 donkeys travelled through the valley during the four-day operation. The rations distributed to the families, intended to help them survive until the summer, included rice, beans and oil.
8 March - Since clashes involving armed groups from Liberia and Sierra Leone broke out in the Republic of Guinea in September 2000, more than 80,000 internally displaced Guineans have received emergency assistance from the ICRC. The purpose of the aid, which consists of food (cereals, peas, cooking oil and salt) and other supplies (sleeping mats, blankets, soap and jerrycans), is to help these people regain a measure of self-sufficiency.
Fleeing the areas bordering Liberia and Sierra Leone, where the fighting is taking place, the displaced, who have lost all their belongings, are seeking refuge with relatives in various parts of the country. Since they are completely dependent on the resources of those who take them in, they place a heavy burden on the host families and the assistance is all the more appreciated.
In view of the constant movement of displaced people, a survey is being carried out with the help of Guinea Red Cross volunteers and the local authorities to determine which groups are the most vulnerable and provide them with additional assistance. Drugs and other medical supplies have been distributed to health centres in the border areas and to the country's main hospitals treating the war-wounded.
Genetically modified corn
7 March - In the first federal bailout related to genetically engineered food, the U.S. Agriculture Department announced yesterday that it will buy as many as 400,000 bags of corn seed that contain the genetically modified (GM) corn variety StarLink. Using up to $20 million in funds normally lent to farmers facing natural disasters, the government will compensate seed companies for corn that was inadvertently contaminated with StarLink, most likely through the drift of pollen from other cornfields. StarLink has not been approved for human consumption, but the corn has still made its way into numerous food products, prompting nationwide recalls. Just this morning, Greenpeace said StarLink has been found in frozen corn dogs made by Kellogg's. The U.S. EPA said yesterday that it would no longer approve GM products for use as animal feed unless they were also safe for human consumption.
10 March - GlaxoSmithKline, a major pharmaceutical company, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced on 2 March the signing of an agreement for the development of a new anti-malaria treatment called LAPDAP.
LAPDAP combines two existing anti-malarial compounds (chlorproguanil and dapsone), WHO said. The agreement aims at developing the drug as an oral treatment for uncomplicated malaria, primarily for use in Sub-Saharan Africa. Clinical trials in the region have shown that LAPDAP is effective in treating uncomplicated malaria resistant to other standard therapies, WHO reported.
Study ranks women's reproductive health worldwide
U.S. ranks 15th among 25 low risk countries; Africa's women still most at risk
Washington, D.C., 8 March -- Women in the United States face greater risks to their sexual and reproductive health than women in Singapore and many European nations. However, those risks are far less than those faced by women in Africa, according to a new study ranking 133 countries released today by Population Action International (PAI). Italy and Ethiopia are ranked lowest and highest risk respectively by the PAI study.
As the nations of the world today mark International Women's Day, PAI, a leading population policy group, and CARE, one of the world's largest international relief and development organizations, are highlighting the importance of reproductive health care in women's lives and in the battle against global poverty. "There is a gaping chasm between rich and poor countries when it comes to the sexual and reproductive health of women," says Amy Coen, president of PAI. "Right now, in developing countries, nearly half of all women deliver their babies with no help from skilled health personnel, and there are 150 million women who say they want to prevent or delay their next pregnancy, yet do not have access to contraceptives."
PAI and CARE identify access to contraceptives, essential obstetric care, and HIV/AIDS prevention programs as three interventions key to saving the lives of women and men of reproductive age.
International petition campaign launched
Online signers support South Africa's struggle for AIDS medicines; demand pharmaceutical companies drop court case
New York, March 12 — Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has announced the launch of "Drop the Case!" - an international petition drive calling on the 39 pharmaceutical companies suing the South African government to abandon the court case that is stopping South Africans from receiving AIDS drugs.
In 1997, Nelson Mandela signed a law aimed at improving access to medicine, but the pharmaceutical industry immediately filed suit to block it. In the three years in which the companies have tied up this legislation in the courts, more than 400,000 South Africans have died of HIV/AIDS, nearly all without any access to affordable treatments…
There is mounting international pressure on the 39 companies to drop the case, including statements from many high-level politicians expressing their support for South Africa.
Floods in Mozambique: preventing epidemics
Maputo, March 9 — Recent floods in Mozambique have polluted water sources, raising concerns about the threat of epidemics such as cholera, malaria, and measles. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is focusing on epidemic prevention in provinces severely affected by the floods. The organization is setting up a cholera processing center, organizing the training of health professionals, particularly in the districts of Mutarara and Quelimane, and supporting temporary health stations of the Ministry of Health in Ankuaze, Nhacolo and Caia.
MSF is also providing medical care to populations displaced by the floods in four centers housing more than 1,200 families in Mutarara district. In Chupanga (Sofala province), MSF is providing medical equipment and drinkable water and assisting with evacuation by boat and helicopter.
London, March 7 - UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has announced a further £100 million (US$147 million) to support renewable energy technology in what green groups described as his strongest environmental speech yet.
Oil-rich Dubai considers hydrogen
Rhinecliff, NY, March 7 - Oil-producing Dubai, a key commercial and technological crossroad in the Persian Gulf region, is taking its first cautious steps towards the eventual production of renewable hydrogen in close cooperation with car maker BMW. If the strategy takes hold and succeeds, it could mark a revolutionary shift in the world's system of energy distribution. It could signal the beginning of a shift away from carbon-based fuels to solar-derived renewable energy among the world's principal producers of petroleum.
New ways of fighting cancers and viral infections could result from recent advances in tissue engineering that created an “artificial thymus.” The engineered gland efficiently generates large quantities of a wide range of human T cells, a key element in the body’s immune system. The research by Cytomatrix (Woburn, Mass.) and Massachusetts General Hospital lays the foundation for possible new T cell therapies for intractable diseases and for repairing damaged immune systems. The work was supported in part by NIST’s Advanced Technology Program.
T cells are formed in the thymus and are responsible for highly specific immune responses, some directly attacking abnormal cells—such as cancers, cells invaded by a virus, or in transplanted tissue—and others controlling different aspects of the immune response, such as the production of antibodies. There are around a trillion possible T cell variations, and the average person may have millions of different T cells.
Radiology tools enhance care
Expert radiologists in West Virginia can be in several places at the same time—and provide faster, more convenient services to rural patients—as a result of an innovative suite of medical information technologies developed under NIST’s Advanced Technology Program.
The project led to a high-speed network—believed to be the first teleradiology network—used by the Charleston Area Medical Center to offer expert interpretations by a radiologist to at least seven hospitals statewide. Approximately 150 patients are served daily by the system, which handles all types of multimedia data and supports access to existing systems. The network allows health-care providers to get interpretations in 15 minutes, compared to as much as 10 hours previously. “We’re light years ahead of where we were before,” says Bob Boyles, CAMC corporate director for materials services. “The earlier you get a diagnosis, the better success you have with treatment.” CAMC also uses the network to store and make magnetic resonance, computed tomography, ultrasound, nuclear medicine, and X-ray images accessible to staff in intensive care, emergency, and diagnostic imaging.
The three-year ATP project, led by the Advanced Technology Institute of Charleston, S.C., partnered industrial firms, clinical facilities, universities, and national laboratories.
Improving air quality
NIST has joined an interagency effort led by the Environmental Protection Agency—the National Particulate Matter Research Program—aimed at improving the nation’s air quality and public health. Particulate matter is a mix of coarse and fine particles in the air produced by natural processes as well as human activities. About 10 to 100 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair, fine particulate matter can consist of dust, ashes, soot, and sulfate aerosols. NIST will develop and provide the fundamental chemical measurements and standard reference materials that will serve as the basis for improved monitoring of air quality by government and industry.
IAEA Director General visits purification facility at polish thermal power station
6 March 2001 - On the occasion of his first official stay in Poland, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, today visited an industrial scale Electron Beam Demonstration Facility constructed with IAEA assistance at the Pomorzany Electric Power Station near Szczecin. The facility uses an electron beam device to purify flue gases from the burning of coal emitted through the plant’s chimney stack, thereby helping to protect the environment. By the addition of ammonia, the process also permits the production of fertilizer as a by-product.
In countries such as Poland where power generation is based largely on the burning of coal, to protect the atmosphere against serious consequences of pollutants, special facilities for limitation of the emissions have been installed.
Mexico City, Mexico, March 7 (ENS) - The new Mexican government is going all out to protect the country's dwindling forest and water reserves - even threatening to use the armed forces in the protection of these resources. To create awareness of the importance of forests and water, Mexican President Vicente Fox today launched the National Crusade for Forests and Water in Pátzcuaro, Michoacán.
9 March- The U.S. EPA has a new target for its investigations -- universities and colleges that aren't complying with environmental laws. "Our inspectors have not been on one campus where they have not found serious problems," says Rene Henry in the EPA's Philadelphia office. For example, Boston University was fined $750,000 in 1997 after a tank leaked 1,000 gallons of oil into the Charles River. Last December, the University of Hawaii was hit with the largest penalty ever issued by the EPA to a university: $1.7 million for hazardous waste violations. EPA spokesperson Mark Merchant said the agency started focusing on schools because pollution from industrial sources has been greatly reduced.
HSUS launches animal-friendly donor-advised fund
Humane Society of the U.S. offers new charitable vehicle for donations to charities helping people and animals
Washington, March 1 - The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) announced today that it has launched The HSUS Donor-Advised Fund. The animal-friendly donor-advised fund “which works to assure that all charitable giving donated through the fund goes to charities or non-profit organizations that do not harm our fellow species” is open to HSUS members or anyone who shares The HSUS’s goal of ending animal cruelty, neglect and exploitation.
Currently being pioneered in the nation’s charities and investment firms, donor-advised funds operate somewhat like private foundations but require significantly lower initial donations. Not accessible merely to wealthy individuals, they are designed for people searching for significant tax deductions in the current year, but who also want flexibility to use the funds for distributions over a period of many years…
UNEP: precautionary action regarding Depleted Uranium in Kosovo
Geneva/Nairobi, March 13 - Today has been realised the final report of the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) on the environmental impact of depleted uranium (DU) during the 1999 Kossovo conflict. The UNEP field mission, consisting of 14 scientists from several countries, visited some sites that were identified as being targeted by ordnance containing DU, and found that amount of transuranic isotopes (uranium isotope U-238/U-236 and plutonium isotope Pu-239/240) is very low and does not have any significant impact on their overall radioactivity.
"There are still considerable scientific uncertainties, especially related to the safety of groundwater," said Pekka Haavisto, Chairman of UNEP's Depleted Uranium Assessment Team. "Additional work has to be done to reduce these uncertainties and to monitor the quality of water." IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), UNEP, and WHO (World Health Organisation) will consider a future cooperation to prepare future missions to areas where DU has been used during military conflicts.
The report is available at
Athens, Georgia, USA, March 19 - Anthropology student John Stepp at UGA (University of Georgia) has found that weeds in easy to reach disturbed areas may be even more important that medicinal plants of primary tropical rainforests. Working with the Highland Maya in Chiapas, Mexico, Stepp found that almost all the medically important plants being used from the people, about 35 percent, grow where other plants can not, as weeds in disturbed areas, not far from their houses or villages. An analysis of medicinal plants used by Native North Americans reveals similar numbers and are weeds. “Plants in disturbed areas may have more chemicals in them for defense, which could make them useful as medicines”, said Stepp. (Journal of Ethnopharmacology)
Nature mops up
Scientists funded by ONR (Office of Naval Research ) have found evidence of a natural process called intrinsic bioremediation, in which native organisms, in contaminated marine sediment can degrade or become a sink for hydrocarbons and other organic pollutants. The natural bacteria adapted by years of exposure to the problem, may be are doing a clean up on their own, functioning as a filter within the ecosystem “We'd spend millions of taxpayer dollars to dredge the sediments”, said Mike Montgomery of the Naval Research Laboratory, “ the very elements that are solving the problem for us." The strategy now is to learn how to identify sediments that may be undergoing intrinsic bioremediation, to aid site cleanup programs.
Nairobi/Geneva/Arendal/Vienna/Szentendre, 13 March - The goal of giving people and communities across the globe up-to-the minute access to high quality environmental information has moved a step closer thanks to a special high tech Task Force, set up to deliver environmental information. The first meeting, held in Arendal, Norway, based on an initiative led by Austria with support from the Norwegian government, envolved more than 30 governments within the pan-European region, and NGOs from USA, UK and Israel, focusing on helping public authorities to develop the necessary Information Technology, for public participation in environmental decisions, and focusing on developing common approaches, standards and technologies for disseminating such information through the Internet, television and radio. The event: Norwegian Ministry of Environment and UNEP/GRID-Arendal
The Task Force agreed to continue its work in a "virtual" environment via an electronic discussion forum hosted by the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC) at
About the Convention, at:
The Task Force is to work with NGOs, the mass media and other relevant users to ensure the quality of the environmental information delivered.
Latin American and Caribbean nations adopt Cochabamba declaration on education
Paris, March 8 - The meeting of the Regional Intergovernmental Committee of the Major Project for Education (PROMEDLAC VII), organized by UNESCO in Bolivia, ended yesterday evening with the adoption of the Cochabamba Declaration and a series of recommendations concerning educational policies.
The Conference, a landmark for the future of education in Latin America and the Caribbean, brought together delegations from most countries in the region, including 16 education ministers and 15 deputy ministers. It was opened on March 5 by the President of Bolivia, Hugo Banzer.
The Conference took stock of education throughout the region and formulated concrete proposals for activities to be carried out within the framework of the follow-up to the World Education Forum (Dakar, April 2000).
Put girls in school to end global hunger and poverty, says WFP head
Rome, March 7 - The head of the United Nations World Food Programme has called on the international community to help send girls in developing countries to school, citing girls’ education as one of the most effective weapons there is for ending global hunger and poverty.
Catherine Bertini, Executive Director of WFP, who issued the challenge in advance on International Women’s Day tomorrow, said that closing the massive gap between boys’ and girls’ school enrolment should be the top priority for the international community in poor and underdeveloped countries. Mrs. Bertini, who has made gender equality one of the policy cornerstones of WFP, noted that of the estimated 875 million illiterate adults in the world today, two-thirds are women. And yet, girls who go to school marry later than girls who don’t, and they have fewer and healthier children, Bertini said, citing studies showing that mothers who complete primary education will have an average of two children fewer than those women with no schooling.
The campaign for the Ethical Code of the Media receives a wide and warm welcome
“Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come”: the need to establish a new balance in the world of media is shared by many farsighted people and groups.
The Nobel Peace Laureates who met in Rome on 11-12 November 2000 discussed at length this issue and expressed their belief that “the modern system of mass media is suffering from an unprecedented crisis that prevents a correct view of what is currently happening in the world”. And their conclusion stressed that “the public opinion has been called upon to make the transformation from passive observer to active participant, keeper of the truth and responsibility of mass media”.
The Club of Budapest focussed on the role and responsibilities of the media, and studies in this direction have been and are being developed by several universities and research groups.
The launch of our campaign for the Ethical Code of the Media is receiving a wide and warm welcome and is soliciting deep interest from service organizations and private people around the world. Among the many endorsements we received in these first four weeks, there are: Prof. Ervin Laszlo, scientist and futurologist, President of The Club of Budapest; Prof. Ada Aharoni, academic researcher and President of IFLAC: PAVE PEACE-The International Forum for the Culture of Peace (Israel); Sociocratic Centre of Australia; Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (Italy); Syntony Quest (USA); Global Vision Network (UK); The REED Program-Environmentally Clean Communities (USA); Global Resource Bank (USA); World Business Academy (Brazil); Institute of Noetic Sciences (Brazil); The William Harris House Initiative of Synthesis and Convergence (Brazil); Associazione Sipicciano Vive (Italy); Human Species (France); Revelation Journal (UK); Agenzia di stampa umanista Buone Nuove (Italy); Unione Comunità Associazioni Immigrati (Italy); The Phoenix News Network (Canada); WORLD GOODWILL (International H.Q.,UK); Intuition in Service (New Zealand); Associazione ICPC Italia; Toward the Third Millennium (Russia), and many people who endorsed the Code on a personal basis.
This on-going campaign will last several months because the Ethical Code of the Media will be presented to the world publishers when a great number of people and organizations have endorsed it. We will include progress reports in the next issues of Good News Agency. As all of us know, each endorsement counts and we need yours, too. Just fill in your name at the end of the following page and send it back to us. Together, we can make it.
* * * * * * *
Next issue: 6 April 2001
* * * * * * *
The building of a just and peaceful world is man’s duty, just as its destruction could be determined by man.
In a democratic environment which tends to assign to the citizen-elector a growing responsibility for the directions of social development, the formation of a public opinion which is widely aware of the main events that happen in the world is the key for directing the efforts of humanity towards a global village based on unity in diversity and on sharing, fundamental qualities for the development of a responsible and sustainable social life.
In this perspective, the importance of the media is fundamental and the consequent social responsibility of editors cannot be based any longer on the only element which has so far been unquestioned: the search for company profits through the maximum possible diffusion of the media. This aim has so far prevailed over every other consideration, thus taking from the media the responsibility for the formation of an aware and balanced public opinion.
In pursuing the maximum possible company profits, the media have placed the accent on the dissemination of sensational and dramatic news, which appeal to the characteristics of a public seen as a tangled mass of emotions and mortify the interest of another part of the public, which has a quite different vision of life and of the information which describes it. This situation in the world of information is the most obvious evidence of a human activity which, with some enlightened exceptions, sacrifices quality and balance on the altar of quantity and immediate profit, ignoring those responsibilities of an ethical kind which that very activity of itself implicitly confers.
Today, however, the media cannot continue any longer to overlook the positive and constructive occurrences among that part of humanity - estimated at between 10 and 15 percent of the citizen-elector-contributors in the developed countries - which has by now adopted a social behaviour in harmony with the fundamental values of a fair and sustainable social development. To give voice also to the events which indicate in the world the response of humanity to the greatest problems of our time is a responsibility of the media which can no longer be put off, in order to allow public opinion to be formed on the basis of a range of information corresponding to all aspects of the reality in which we live.
Therefore, as is the custom for many other categories of great importance in social life, the public opinion consisting of that 10-15 percent of the population orientated towards the construction of a just and sustainable global village asks the media to adopt and respect the deontological code here laid down.
Ethical Code of the Media
1. It is the moral responsibility of the media to pursue the aim of disseminating information on every aspect of the reality in which we live.
2. The media must disseminate information with respect and consideration for all the public.
3. The information should be organized by distributing the “weight” of the different sectors so as to respect the right to knowledge of important social groups.
4. The information must reflect reality with a variety of news which mirrors the components of reality itself to the extent to which they define it.
5. The information must seek, as far as possible, the causes of the events in the determining behaviour of man.
6. The media have the privilege and the task of also setting the events reported in the context of their correspondence to the principles of responsibility and the search for the common good.
7. It is the privilege, task and responsibility of the media to do their best to emphasize the connections between the most significant world events.
The Ethical Code of the Media will be presented to the publishers of the world’s press, radio and television when it has been signed by a large number of signatories, such as:
- organizations of the United Nations;
- non-governmental organizations;
- voluntary service associations;
- journalists for whom the mandate of the editor represents a restraint;
- enlightened editors who have already showed agreement with the values of the Code;
- people who recognize the necessity and validity of the Code.
To express your agreement with this initiative, include your data here below and send this page to Good News Agency, email@example.com
I support the Ethical Code of the Media:
Name and surname
Organization (name and address)