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World Press Freedom Conference 2020 - Call for Proposals


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Please read the following guidelines and click the button below in order to access the proposal form.

Proposal Form


Who can apply?

UNESCO and the Kingdom of the Netherlands invite Dutch and actors in other countries who are active in the fields of journalism, media development and freedom of expression, including freedom of artistic expression, to submit their proposals and contribute to the celebration of WPFD in 2020. Submitters can be civil society organizations, intergovernmental organizations, media, private sector, Internet intermediaries, policy and public affairs institutes, and universities and other knowledge institutions. Joint proposals are particularly encouraged.


What can you apply for?

Potential partner organizations are invited to submit proposals for the following two components of the World Press Freedom Conference: 

  1. On 22 and 23rd of April: break-out sessions lasting either 1 hour and 30 minutes or 2 hours
  2. On 24th of April: contributions to the World Press Freedom Festival, such as breakout sessions, workshops, training sessions, performances or other activities

Find more information on this below. 

Partners can expect an audience of about 1500 conference participants, including journalists and news media, policy-makers, NGOs, members of the judiciary, students, artists, businesses, academics and many others from all over the world who work in or for journalism. Sessions are normally open to everyone, but can be closed if that serves their purpose and motivation is made.


What kinds of proposals are eligible?

We welcome innovative and engaging proposals that support the main aim of the conference: to ensure that journalists can work free and independently, now and in the future. Key words are multi-stakeholder engagement, being forward-looking and action-oriented, sharing experiences, peer-learning, youth participation, diversity, opinion and debate, coalition building.

The deadline for submissions is January 19th, 2020


What is possible at the venue?

The World Forum in The Hague caters for interesting and innovative formats for your session and can host both smaller (40 up to 75) and larger audiences (150 up to 400). Please refer to the venue information here to find out about rooms, technical support, etc. 

UNESCO and the Kingdom of the Netherlands will prioritise proposals based on an evaluation against the criteria listed in this webpage, as well as on general grounds of relevance and appropriateness, and balance in the overall conference programme.



The first two days of the WPFC will have alternating plenary and break-out sessions. Proposals are invited for break-out sessions under the theme "Journalism without Fear or Favour". There are four possible topics:

  1. Editorial independence and media capture: 

    • Understanding and resisting new developments and traditional means of controlling the media that threaten the safety and ability of journalism to provide reliable facts, investigate sensitive issues, and reflect a range of views, and diverse cultural and artistic expressions.
    • Strengthening accountability of actors in tackling media capture, protect editorial independence and addressing impunity for attacks on journalists.
    • Potential for new business models and innovative approaches to diversify media ownership.
  2. Diversity and inclusivity in media:
    • Advancing diversity and gender equality in media production and media content.
    • Combatting diversity aspects of harassment and attacks against journalists, freelancers and artists both online and offline.
  3. Independent journalism and media in the digital age: 
    • Defending and elevating the role of Journalistic standards and ethical practices on digital platforms.
    • Countering hate speech, online harassment, and disinformation online.
  4. Journalism without fear or favour:
    • Stimulating innovation and best practices
    • Unleashing youth-driven change



The first-ever World Press Freedom Day Festival will give a dedicated platform in the wider celebrations of WPFD to a broader audience, targeting more particularly youth/students, the wider public, netizens, and everyone interested in the state of press freedom in 2020. The purpose of this event is to encourage these groups to participate in World Press Freedom Day celebrations, acquaint them with topical issues surrounding press freedom and explore ways they can contribute to the future of free and independent media. 

Sessions and workshops during the Festival will be structured in continuous tracks taking place throughout the day: 

  • Education: workshops, coaching, learning
  • Stories: films, music, literature, testimonies, innovations, exhibitions, performances
  • Debate: key notes, panels or participatory debates
  • Meet: meet-ups, Q&A’s, interviews

We invite partners to contribute to these selected tracks by submitting innovative and engaging proposals for the organization of an activity and/or series of activities taking place at the Festival. 



Selection criteria

  • Overall relevance to the conference theme and goals. Proposals are judged on their relevance to the theme / subthemes, aims and general spirit of the conference. 
  • Proposed speakers and moderators. Applicants are encouraged to carefully select appealing speakers and moderators and pay attention to balance in [panel]discussions. For panel sessions, only panels of maximum 4-5 persons are accepted. Persons able to share their own [field] experience are welcomed.
  • Innovative format. Out-of-the-box ideas and innovative formats are encouraged (storytelling, team debates, lightning talks, etc.) to ensure interactive and engaging discussions with participation of the audience.
  • Diversity. In compliance with UNESCO’s policy, the choice of panelists/ speakers must respect gender balance and diverse geographic representation in all sessions. 
  • Youth participation. It is strongly recommended to have at least one speaker < 35 years old in each session.

UNESCO and the Government of the Netherlands as Conference organizers will actively engage with the organizers of sessions, for instance on format, (Dutch) speakers, possible collaborations, etc.


Benefits for session organizers

  • Ensuring the design and planning of a session within this global event.
  • Branding amongst the conference supporters.
  • Sessions organizers become a partner of the World Press Freedom Conference 2020. 
  • Gaining access to an exceptional network of prominent international specialists in the fields of media development, journalism and the safety of journalists.
  • Being part of the largest celebration of press freedom in the world, which will be a valuable showcase for your organization’s work. 
  • Partners are awarded benefits, like the display of the logo of the partner, in return for their contribution to the World Press Freedom Conference. The benefits are distributed by the project team. Session organizers can expect their logo on the website, the conference-app and visually displayed at the conference venue.


Responsibilities of session organizers

  • Covering costs of travel, accommodation and other travel related expenses of moderators, speakers and facilitations of your session.
  • Contacting the moderator and speakers to address logistical matters.
  • Identifying a rapporteur to produce a 1-page report on the session, based on a template to be provided by the conference organization.
  • Regularly liaising with the conference organization in preparation of your session.
  • Ensuring all contributors are properly registered and accredited for participation. 
  • Please note that all persons who want to enter the venue need to go through the registration system that will be accessible via the UNESCO website. 
  • Please note that the Conference organization has no ability to change visa requirements or procedures.

Proposal Form