Reinforcing UNESCO’s actions in promoting media development in developing countries, the Bureau of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) is set next week to approve support for new project proposals submitted by more than a hundred local organizations worldwide.
The proposals range from strengthening the safety of journalists in South Asia and developing a training course on safety for journalists working in rural areas in Pakistan, to the creation of a gender and media course for students in Mexico.
Representatives from eight Member States will decide during the 62nd session of the IPDC Bureau Meeting in Accra, Ghana, which project proposals will secure financial support.
This year, 103 project proposals amounting US$2,351,148, were submitted for the Bureau’s approval. Africa has the biggest number of proposals, representing almost 40% of the submissions, followed by the Asia and Pacific with almost 30%.
With very diverse national and regional media contexts, each project has a clear contribution to at least one of the IPDC priorities. Capacity building for media professionals and media managers, including improving journalism education and supporting media pluralism and independence are among these year’s top priorities.
“Every year we see high enthusiasm among civil society groups in securing IPDC’s financial support. They know that in winning a UNESCO grant confers high status on the initiative, and helps implementation as well as leverage added support from other donors,” says Guy Berger, UNESCO’s Director for the Division of Freedom of Expression and Media Development.
“It is especially important to strengthen news media in these times where there is an explosion of low quality information and disinformation that threatens to drown out reliable and quality journalism.”
IPDC projects are transformative, providing stakeholders in the media freedom landscape with new skills that impact on the lives of others.
An example of projects funded in 2017 is one where more than 900 lawyers, journalists and human rights defenders from 42 African countries took part in a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) to learn about freedom of expression and safety of journalists.
In a project in Afghanistan, 71 media practitioners became trainers on the right to access information. In Pakistan, 31 high level participants agreed to establish journalist safety focal points within federal and provincial ministries.
Putting the media in the heart of migration crisis, the IPDC also in 2017 funded a media project to highlight the humanitarian crisis around the Rohingya refugees in Myanmar and Bangladesh. The project resulted in a series of reports that gave voices to marginalised Rohingya women, and also produced a set of guidelines for journalists in interacting with displaced communities and reporting on migration crisis.
This year’s IPDC Bureau Meeting, held from 30 April to 1 May 2018, takes place on the eve of World Press Freedom Day, of which the main celebration will also take place in Ghana on 2-3 May 2018. By convening outside Paris, the Bureau members will also be able to see the impact of IPDC support on the field, through a site visit to the local newspaper The Daily Dispatch, organization that once received the Programme’s support and in turn made a symbolic contribution three years ago.
IPDC is the only multilateral forum in the UN system designed to mobilise the international community to discuss and promote media development in developing countries. Since its creation in 1980, has successfully mobilised over US$105 million to strengthen the capacity of media in 140 countries.
You can follow the decisions of the Bureau by visiting this webpage: https://en.unesco.org/programme/ipdc/documents