UNESCO Launches Social Media Discussion Page for Freedom of Expression Toolkit


The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has launched a discussion group on the popular social networking site, Facebook, for the recently released “Freedom of Expression Toolkit: A Guide for Students”.

The discussion group was launched by UNESCO in conjunction with the 8th Youth Forum, a gathering of young men and women from countries all over the world, which took place at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France, from October 29 to 31, 2013.

Users of the toolkit could use the hashtag #FoEToolkit to participate in the discussion stream.

According to UNESCO, “The Freedom of Expression Toolkit is a tool to raise awareness among young people on the crucial issue that is freedom of expression. While many toolkits already exist, none so far have been written in an accessible language, directly targeting youth.”

The toolkit explores and discusses questions such as:

  • What is freedom of expression?
  • Why does freedom of expression matter?
  • When is freedom of expression at risk?
  • What are the conditions needed for freedom of expression to flourish?
  • What are the special roles of journalists in freedom of expression?
  • What about freedom of expression online?
  • What are the limitations of freedom of expression?

The Toolkit presents and explains the different concepts related to freedom of expression and complements the explanations with concrete examples and case studies. It also contains various hands-on activities which the readers can participate in.

UNESCO aims to raise awareness with the Toolkit on the topic of freedom of expression among the youth worldwide in the various practical activities, such as setting up a model press council, creating a blog, monitoring the news, celebrating World Press Freedom Day, or creating their own case-studies looking at their community or country.

UNESCO says it hopes to gather information from schools and youth groups around the world on how they are using the toolkit, and to foster dialogue process among those various groups via social media on the topic of freedom of expression.

The Toolkit is currently available online in English and Spanish while UNESCO says Arabic, French and Chinese versions are coming soon. The English version of the Toolkit is also available in a tablet computer-compatible HTML 5 version.

The theme of this year’s Youth Forum was “Youth and Social Inclusion: Civic Engagement, Dialogue and Skills Development”.

The Forum’s objective is to engage the youth delegations in formulating and reviewing policy on the topics of capacity development for the transition to adulthood, civic engagement, democratic participation and social innovation.

The conclusions and recommendations of the Youth Forum are expected to be submitted to the UNESCO General Conference, which began November 5, 2013.