Contribution to UNESCO's Multi Donor Programme on Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists
To reinforce the work of UNESCO with media organizations, journalists, governments, media regulators, judges, and other key stakeholders in strengthening freedom of expression, access to information, and the safety of journalists and ensuring that democracy does not continue to be undermined by a lack of reliable information and public discourse.
The Multi Donor Programme (MDP) on Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists focuses on two thematic areas with the objective of enabling a free and safe environment for a free, independent and pluralistic media, freedom of expression, access to information and the safety of journalists:
- Member States enhance legal and institutional frameworks related to the protection and promotion of freedom of expression online/off-line, right of access to information and safety of journalists, in accordance with international standards (and the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity) and through integrating a gender sensitive Approach;
- Member States have benefited from enhanced media contributions to diversity, gender equality and youth empowerment in and through media; and societies are empowered through media and information literacy programmes and effective media response to emergency and disaster.
In the Work Plan 2022, special focus is given to the Ukraine with the following activities: Emergency support to Ukrainian media: provision of protection equipment, support to a safety hotline, safety trainings, support to the relocation of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine and of the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine
Target group / Beneficiaries
The MDP mainly targets three categories of beneficiaries/target Groups:
- Duty Bearers (Governments, legislators, policymakers, lawyers and jurists’ associations, judges, law enforcement bodies;
- Right Holders (journalists and media professionals, independent and community media outlets/associations; academia (journalism/communication educational institutions); youth and gender equality organizations);
- Indirect/end beneficiaries at large (affected citizens).
- Spearheading the implementation of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity by:
- Supporting Member States to establish or improve mechanisms for prevention, protection and prosecution to bring justice to cases of murdered journalists;
- Strengthening journalists’ capacities to increase their safety when reporting from the field, by identifying and properly addressing online and physical risks;
- Producing resources, such as model curricula and training manuals with gender-specific perspectives and sharing best practices in order to improve journalists’ skills and knowledge on international standards for freedom of expression, investigative journalism, and conflict-sensitive reporting, among other topics;
- Sensitizing news organizations, media owners, and editors on the dangers confronting their staff, particularly those faced by local journalists;
- Assisting Member States in meeting international standards on freedom of expression, and deter attempts to unjustifiably restrict press freedom;
- Supporting independent, quality journalism to guarantee ethical reporting of facts and analysis;
- Empowering and helping Member States to equip citizens with Media and Information Literacy in order to foster critical thinking and awareness;
- Promoting universal access to information through transparent and proactive disclosure of official data by governments, which is proven method to effectively counter disinformation and misinformation.
The MDP on Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists was approved by the Executive Board, in its 200th session (Decision 19), to help facilitate UNESCO’s work to implement the Programme of the Organization’s Communication and Information Sector, as outlined in the Programme and Budget of the Organization (document 39 C/5 for 2018-2021 at that time), mainly under Expected Result 1 (Member States have adopted and/or applied relevant policies and normative frameworks to strengthen the environment for freedom of expression, press freedom and safety of journalists).
For implementation starting 2022, the MDP is aligned with UNESCO’s Programme and Budget for 2022-2025 (41 C/51) and support the implementation of the new Medium-Term Strategy for 2022-2029 (41 C/4). As this new structure aims at supporting better cooperation and facilitating synergies between programme sectors to make UNESCO’s actions more effective, it will also allow the MDP to contribute by responding to several outcomes at the same time, reasserting its inherent flexibility and contributing to the greater transversality of UNESCO’s action.
The pooling of funding under this programme promotes programmatic coherence, donor coordination, and gives UNESCO the flexibility to channel funds towards emerging programmatic priorities and adapt to the most pressing needs such as the current crisis. The clear advantage of this mechanism is that it allows UNESCO and its partners to achieve greater impact and sustainability whilst reducing transaction costs and fragmentation of support with a minimum of administrative delays.