The Netherlands is injecting 650 000 Euros into strengthening UNESCO’s work on safety of journalists and independent media.
Dutch Ambassador to UNESCO, Lionel Veer, confirmed the transfer of a first tranche of 400 000 Euros in a signing ceremony with UNESCO’s Assistant Director General for Communication-Information Frank La Rue on Wednesday 22 March.
"The Netherlands government wants to support the important work of UNESCO in the fight against impunity and strengthen the safety of journalists and in general the protection of freedom of speech and promotion of access to information,” said the Ambassador.
The signing took place during the 61st meeting of the Bureau of UNESCO’s specialized media development initiative, the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), and elicited strong applause from participants.
Welcoming the support, Mr La Rue underlined the value of the Dutch contribution in a global context “that is becoming increasingly difficult for freedom of expression and press freedom”.
For his part, Ambassador Veer noted that the allocation was almost ten times higher than what the Netherlands had been previously been contributing to IPDC annually, and expressed confidence that the money would be well spent.
He highlighted the value of IPDC projects to strengthen safety mechanisms for journalists in cooperation with UNESCO field offices in different countries, another to support Afghanistan’s right to information law, and several that promoted gender transformative journalism.
The Dutch funding will also help to support “IPDC Talks” events worldwide, in which dynamic speakers link the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to access to information and media development. They will also back meetings to strategize next steps for the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.