UN envoy for least develop countries launches ‘Global Media Compact’ to raise profile

UN envoy for least develop countries launches ‘Global Media Compact’ to raise profile

In an effort to create greater public awareness of the world's 50 poorest nations, the United Nations today launched the 'Global Media Compact' to encourage international and local media companies to increase their coverage of developmental issues in vulnerable countries through innovative media initiatives.

The undertaking is a partnership between the UN and a U.S.-based media company, MediaGlobal, which today also launched its Web-based development channel, mediaglobalTV.org.

Announcing the launch before a gathering of Ambassadors of Member Countries and the media, UN envoy for Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, Anwarul K. Chowdhury, appealed to editors and owners of newspapers to feature stories that would raise international awareness of the issues of poverty, disease and hunger prevalent in these countries.

“It is unfortunate that the voice of the LDCs continues to get marginalized. There is, indeed, a need for increased focus on the everyday challenges facing millions of impoverished people in the LDCs. Their needs ought to be placed at the forefront of the global development agenda,” he said.

“A Global Media Compact would bring together editors of newspapers to advance the cause of human development and help their readership understand the suffering of the poor,” said Nosh Nalavala, Executive Director of MediaGlobal.

“Today much of the media offers an unbalanced coverage of developing countries in Africa and Asia. With this Compact we hope to engage powerful media organizations as partners,” he added.

MediaGlobal, in partnership with the UN, was launched in January 2006 as a nonprofit media company designed to create awareness in the global media of the issues of poverty, disease and hunger afflicting the poorest countries in Africa.

Member media of the global compact will be asked to commit themselves to a seven-point programme including “making alleviation of poverty, disease and hunger in poor and vulnerable countries a vital corporate priority,” according to a release from Mr. Chowdhury’s office.

Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, and Sierra Leone - based on their ranking in the UN’s Human Development Index - are the countries to be focused on initially.

“The Compact is not a regulatory initiative. It relies on editors and broadcasters to recognize the constraints of poor people in vulnerable countries and give coverage in their respective media - print or electronic,” the release emphasised.