Note No. 5932
2 May 2005

Note to Correspondents

World Press Freedom Day to Be Commemorated at Headquarters 3 May, Seminar on “Fanning the Flame of Tolerance: The Role of the Media”

NEW YORK, 28 April (UN Headquarters) -- The third seminar in the Unlearning Intolerance series of the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) titled “Fanning the Flame of Tolerance:  The Role of the Media” will be held at United Nations Headquarters on 3 May 2005 from 9:50 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

This seminar is being held in the context of the Department’s commemoration of World Press Freedom Day, held each year on 3 May.  The seminar will consider ways to counter the effects of “hate” media and how the media can, should and, indeed, does educate people through reporting and confronting manifestations of intolerance around the world. It will be web cast live at

The seminar will be chaired by United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information Shashi Tharoor.  There will be a panel discussion offering different perspectives on how the press can inform and educate public opinion to challenge and “unlearn” intolerance, as well as participate in the effective confrontation of “hate” media.

Panellists will include Ambassador Mihnea Ioan Motoc of Romania, the current Chairman of the United Nations Committee on Information; Erol Avdovic, Senior Diplomatic Correspondent, Deutsche Welle, Bosnian Radio & TV and the Vjesnik daily; Alfonso Armada, United Nations and New York correspondent, Spanish News Daily, ABC; and Ghida Fakhry, New York Bureau Chief, Asharq Al-Awsat.  James Wurst, President, United Nations Correspondents Association, will act as a discussant.

During the meeting, Under-Secretary-General Tharoor will also release the "Ten Stories the World Should Hear More About”, an annual list by DPI that shines a spotlight on some of the important international issues and developments that often do not get sufficient media attention.

The programme is open to members of the public, non-governmental organizations and media representatives who register in advance.  Registration is free of charge and can be completed at Those in possession of a valid United Nations grounds pass, including delegations of United Nations Member States, United Nations-affiliated non-governmental organizations and media representatives need not register and are invited to join the meeting directly.

In conjunction with the seminar, a photo exhibit will open on 3 May at United Nations Headquarters.  Comprising the best news photos of 2004, the travelling exhibit presents all the winning images of World Press Photo’s worldwide photojournalism contest.  It is brought to New York with the support of World Press Photo Foundation and Getty Images.  The exhibit will remain on display in the visitors' lobby at United Nations Headquarters and will be open to the public until 6 June 2005.

Both the seminar and the exhibit have been organized by DPI’s Outreach Division.  The seminar series offers opportunities to discuss how intolerance, wherever it exists and for whatever reason, can be “unlearned” through education, inclusion and example.  The first seminar, “Confronting anti-Semitism:  Education for Tolerance and Understanding”, was held on 21 June 2004 and the second, “Confronting Islamophobia:  Education for Tolerance and Understanding” on 7 December 2004.  Coverage of both seminars can be found online at

DPI launched the “Unlearning Intolerance” series at the mid-point of the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World, proclaimed by the General Assembly in 1998. 

Part of the mission of the Department is to bring together voluntary organizations, educators and other components of civil society for discussions with the United Nations system on issues that are not just universal in their scope but also have a direct and palpable impact upon the lives of children, women and men everywhere.  This series falls squarely within that effort.  It also responds to a specific request from the Committee on Information that DPI help disseminate information relevant to the “dialogue among civilizations” and the “culture of peace”.

Free registration:  To register as a participant, please visit:

Contacts:  Vikram Sura ( 1-212-963-8274) and Sagine Damas (, 1-212-963-5956), Fax: 1-917-367-6075, Educational Outreach Section, Outreach Division, United Nations Department of Public Information.

Accreditation: For media accreditation, please visit:; Mr. Gary Fowlie, Chief, Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit, DPI; Tel: 1-212-963-6937/6934; Fax: 1-212-963-4642.

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