Interview

Defending freelance journalists from legal cases inhibiting their investigations

27/10/2020

Interview with Clothilde Redfern, Director, Rory Peck Trust.

UNESCO: Could you present yourself and introduce how you become committed to promoting media freedom?

Clothilde Redfern: “I have always been passionate about the role of journalism in supporting a fair and just society. I started my career working in print media at the International Herald Tribune in Paris; I then got involved in social issue documentaries and spent five years at UK broadcasters. I understand the impact that broadcasting can have and the value of public service television and media more widely. Media freedom is an essential pillar of a working democracy, and must be protected at all costs.”

UNESCO: What is the mission of the Organization you are working for?

CR: “The Rory Peck Trust supports professional freelance journalists, both on the job and in times of crisis, so they can continue to empower people to make informed decisions about their lives.”

UNESCO: What will you do thanks to the grant by the Global Media Defence Fund?

CR: “The grant from the Global Media Defence Fund will enable the Rory Peck Trust to launch a Legal Fees Fund to help freelance journalists fight spurious legal cases designed to inhibit their investigations.”

UNESCO: What will be the impact of this action?

CR: “Ten/twenty journalists will get the essential support necessary to cover legal fees to defend themselves in court and then hopefully be free to pursue their crucial journalistic work.”

UNESCO: Any suggestions/recommendations you would like to make to UNESCO as administrator of this Fund and to its donors?

CR: “The fund needs to be much bigger, but as well as money there is a huge need for governments to create special visas or other vehicles to protect investigative journalists who are targeted or threatened. It would be great to have safe havens for journalists.

My experience so far has been that the UNESCO team have administered this fund exceptionally well, with clear timely communications at all times.”