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 Friday, November 01, 2013
PREAMBLE

We, the participants in the second Women With the Wave High Level Forum Series on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Media Inclusion of Women and Girls and Persons with Disabilities, held in Hanoi, Vietnam on the 23rd and 24th October, 2013, make this affirmation of commitment to its goals and outcomes and to the empowering of women and girls and persons with disabilities through media and ICTs.

The first Women With the Wave Forum was held in Seoul, Korea in October 2012.  From that two-day forum the Statement on Empowering Women through Media and ICTs was developed and supported by participants and sponsors.  The statement included a commitment to overarching goals in relation to the empowerment of women and girls to fully participate in, and have access to, the media and information and communication technologies (ICT). It also provided a number of potential initiatives for practical application across the region and a call for participants and sponsors to engage and promote these initiatives. In the second forum 2013 we recognise that another diversity group, persons with disabilities, should be targeted for digital inclusion and employment opportunities in the media and ICT and identified necessary measures to promote their digital inclusion and employment opportunities in media and ICTs.

Therefore, we support a reinforcement of the 2012 Women with the Wave Statement and a call to move forward to implement the updated actions arising from presentations and discussions from the 2013 forum. We also support the additional commitment and relevant activities and outcomes for persons with disabilities.

In thanking the organizers of the 2013 Forum, the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Vietnam Television (VTV) and other partners, we note that women and girls make up 50 per cent of the world’s population and there are one billion people living with some form of disability and that equal rights and opportunity underpin healthy economies and societies.
Further, we recognize that the media has a crucial role to play in promoting women and persons with disabilities’ full participation in every aspect of life and society and, to this end, we invite ITU and ABU to endorse this statement with a view to seeking to assist in the practical implementation of its recommendations.

We also call on intergovernmental agencies, in particular ITU, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific (ESCAP), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and UN Women (UNW), professional associations of broadcasters, especially the ABU, regional training institutions, such as the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) and the Asian Media and Information Communication Centre (AMIC), commercial businesses and Foundations, relevant NGOs and tertiary education institutions, including University journalism and communication departments, to take note of this statement and to undertake, where applicable, to provide support for its recommendations.

COMMITMENT

We are committed to promoting widespread and affordable access to media and information and communication technology (ICT) for women and girls and a gender inclusive media and ICT environment that empowers women and girls to fully participate and give access to expression and decision-making in and through the media and new technologies of communication by being able to:

- work in the media and ICT fields across all levels and occupational groups on and off the screen;
- have access to technological and digital platforms including multilingual and localised content;
- achieve a positive, non-stereotypical and balanced portrayal across all forms of media and technological platforms, including the recognition of women with ICT careers and girls who use ICTs for their empowerment.

We are committed to promoting widespread and affordable accessible media and information and communication technology and a more inclusive media and ICT environment for persons with disabilities by being able to:

- work in the media and ICT fields across a range of levels and occupational groups on and off the screen;
- have improved access to technological and digital platforms and use accessible media and  ICT including multilingual and localised content;
- contribute to a positive and balanced portrayal across media and technological platforms.

IMPLEMENTATION

Specifically, we declare support for the practical application across the region of the following agreed activities and outcomes of the Forum:

-development of a diversity action plan for ABU in 2014;

-implementation of the Broadcasting for All: Focus on Gender guidelines that include strategic and practical applications for use in media and ICT workplaces to promote and implement a gender mainstreaming corporate culture throughout organizations particularly focusing on policies and training that include workplace behaviour, work and family balance conditions of service, positive gender initiatives and career development;

-encouragement for the determining of a framework for the broad provision of training and access to technological and digital media by women and girls and persons with disabilities;

-applying existing research, surveys and findings of the portrayal, stories, faces and voices of the female population as well as persons with disabilities across the region and formulating a broad strategy for the application of fair representations across organizations and platforms and to change stereotypes in media content, language and presentation;

-championing media leaders who promote content and balanced images of girls and women and persons with disabilities;

-piloting UNESCO’s Gender Sensitive Indicators for Media (GSIM) as a practical tool to assess and encourage gender equality and women’s empowerment in media;

-collaborating with partners, such as the ITU, to promote women and girls in media and ICTs, including developing programming story lines with women and ICT careers, organising events on International Girls in ICT Day, promoting the Women’s Digital Literacy Campaign and supporting the recommendations of the 2013 Broadband Commission Working Group on Broadband and Gender;

-securing industry-wide commitments to take steps towards positive change to promote success stories on radio and television broadcasts;
-sharing existing resources amongst stakeholders, particularly in regard to gender and disability;

-gaining specific attention and assistance, from the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) through its various specialized departments and its member organizations, to the needs of smaller media institutions (such as in island regions and remote areas), thus enabling out-reach to women and girls and persons with disabilities and their empowerment in marginalized societies;

-development and distribution of educational modules for use in secondary schools, tertiary education institutions and other scholastic agencies (and, where applicable, by distance learning modes and techniques) to introduce students to gender and media/ICT issues, and the role of media in society;

-making use of accessible broadcasting tools such as the ITU report, Making Television Accessible and the ITU Standardization Bureau Focus Group on Audio Visual Accessibility toolkit to work toward accessible media and ICTs for persons with disabilities, including by setting targets for introducing accessible broadcasting, accessible emergency communications and supporting a campaign for the accessible broadcasting of the 2016 Paralympic Games.

-adopt measures to ensure the early warning system and disaster risk reduction programs are accessible for persons with disabilities and meet universal design principles and UNCRPD, including provisions for access to alternative communication systems.

CONCLUSION

We recall the inspirational discourse of the two-day ABU/FES/ITU/UNESCO/VTV sponsored Women With the Wave High Level Forum and, in particular, the successful media and ICT case studies and models shared by speakers from throughout the region. The collegiality of fellow Forum participants, the professionalism of the videos and films they exhibited to the Forum, the commitment of keynote presenters and the atmosphere of optimism expressed by all present have reinforced our belief that affirmative action on the Forum recommendations is vital to ensuring the forward progress of the empowerment of women and girls and people with disabilities through media and ICTs.
To this end, we call on all who can assist to recognize the digital wave now sweeping the world and to join us in supporting the preparation of women and girls and people with disabilities for the opportunities and benefits which the knowledge society is now bringing to families worldwide and which will do so even more in the future.

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