AIJC President Ramon R. Tuazon attended the 38th session of the UNESCO General Conference at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France. Mr. Tuazon was the Philippine delegate to Commission V of the Conference, which focuses on the communication and information sector of UNESCO.
The communication and information sector session was on 10-11 November 2015.
Mr. Tuazon also had one-on-one discussions with UNESCO officials, including Director Guy Berger of the Freedom of Expression and Media Development Division and Director Indrajit Banerjee of the Knowledge Societies Division.
During several interventions at the conference, Tuazon commended UNESCO’s unrelenting efforts to promote the safety and protection of journalists worldwide, including its lead role in promoting the UN Plan of Action for the Safety of Journalists. He called on
the UN body to complement safety and protection initiatives with programs that strengthen the criminal justice system and highlight the rule of law. According to Tuazon, an effective criminal justice system is a strong deterrent to impunity.
Mr. Tuazon also encouraged UNESCO to support the wider participation of scholars and researchers from different social sciences to examine the root causes of the culture of impunity in the killing of journalists and how best to address the issue from a comprehensive action plan. The biannual Director General Report on Safety of Journalists should also be given wider global media publicity.
On the Outcome Document for Connecting the DOTs (Internet Freedom of Expression, Access, Privacy, and Ethics), the AIJC president challenged UNESCO to also play a lead role in advocating for the enactment of a writ of habeas data (also known in other countries as writ of amparo) similar to UNESCO’s support for the enactment of Right to Information/Freedom of Information laws.
The writ of habeas data recognizes the right of individuals to demand from the state (and other actors) access to personal information collected about himself/herself. This also includes the right of the person to request rectification, actualization, and, even in justifiable cases, destruction of personal data being held. The writ is a potent tool available to protect privacy amidst growing unlimited data collection by government, business, and other powerful organizations.