RFK Training Institute Concludes Social Media & Human Rights Course
(2012-06-19) Today, Tuesday, June 19 2012, was the closing day of the first international course in English on the theme "Human Rights and Social Media: Smart dissidents Can Create Change?" held the at the Robert F. Kennedy Center at Le Murate in Florence. The course was held as part of the activities of the European Centre for Higher Education and Education for Human Rights and the Freedom of People, in collaboration with the City of Florence represented by Mayor Matteo Renzi and the United States Embassy in Italy represented by Ambassador David Thorne, successfully inaugurating the project "SMART DISSIDENTS." The project has involved some of the most prominent experts in international law and human rights invited to answer the question: "Can digital dissidents create change?" Among the course participants, numerous journalists, media professionals, activists, teachers, post-graduate students, and bloggers were in attendance, for a total of about 70 people, coming from all around the world.
At 2.30 p.m., the main Chairs presented their conclusions drawn from these fruitful two days of workshops and professional and cultural exchange. Within the same Open Session, the winners of the prestigious "ROBERT F. EUROPE KENNEDY JOURNALISM AWARD" were awarded, in partnership with the city of Florence:
- Renata Radic-Dragic: Sarajevo - Bosnia (for the Social Media category)
- Majid Saeedi, Tehran - Iran (for the Photojournalist category)
- Carmel Delshad and Kirsti Itameri, New York - U.S. (for the University category)
- Dunia Bousati, Florence - Italy (for the Italian High Schools category)
Conclusions:Can digital dissidents create change?
“Yes we can, and we are doing it right now. People are really eager to get involved in change both online and off-line." Bernardo Parrella, Italian freelance journalist and activist on media and digital cultures.
“The importance of understanding social media offers a window of opportunities, but we need to be aware that the government and corporations, which are very well funded, are behind us and are ready to use technologies to oppress us." Vaughan Smith, Chief Frontline Club Journalism
“The Human Rights movement is always seeking for new creative tools for accountability and strengthening rights. And the tools that we discuss here are exactly what the Human Rights movement needs to move to the next level of its engagement." Louis Bickford, Secretary general for the European operations of the RKF Center
"Yes, if they use new tools such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, knowing all the limits of them. And if they always verify their digital sources before spreading it.” Tiziana Prezzo, Reporter Sky TG24
“ Of course. But never underestimate the other changes. It’s not only social media: there has been lots of changes in the last 50 year, it’s an ongoing process." Lis Howell, Director of Broadcasting and Head of the MA courses in Broadcasting and Television Journalism – City University
Among the other professionals in attendance:
- Catherine Jenkins, director of the Center for Law and Conflict Department, SOAS in London
- Daudi Were, technology strategist and activist in Nairobi
- Rana Husseini, Jordanian journalist for The Jordan Times
- Andrea Calderano, Researcher for the Center for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom-European University Institute - EUI
Among the special events, we would like to mention "La Traviata" by Giuseppe Verdi, directed by Andrea Battistoni, presented last night, Monday, June 18, by the RFK Center in collaboration with the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, in the presence of local and international authorities.
In addition, we would like to point out the screening of the film "The Green Wave" by Ali Samadi Ahadi (Iran, 2010), in collaboration with the Human Rights Nights Film Festival in Bologna, tonight at 9:00 p.m., held at Le Murate. Ahmad Rafat, Founding Member of Initiative for Freedom of Expression in Iran will introduce the screening for the audience.
Finally, the RKF is launching today a new App, that will accompany all users in the discovery of human rights through an interactive game.
PRESS OFFICE :
Viviana del Bianco