Denmark supports safety of journalists in Africa and the Arab region

UNESCO and Denmark have signed a Funds-In-Trust Agreement on December 2020 of 2 million Danish Krone (approximately 320.000 USD), to implement the two-year project “Enhancing the Safety of Journalists in Africa and the Arab Region”.

The project aims to contribute to peace, sustainable development and democracy in the two regions by promoting actions to protect journalists, in line with the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity (UN Plan). The project activities will also focus on the UN Plan’s “Three Ps”: the prevention, protection, and prosecution of crimes and attacks against journalists.

Ambassador Staur expressed Denmark’s interest in increasing its collaboration with UNESCO based on strong projects with a human rights approach, including those related to freedom of expression, and also in creating synergies with other parts of the UN system particularly through the Universal Periodical Review exercise (UPR). The Ambassador and Director-General also discussed how UNESCO could enhance its work in the area of promoting and protecting the freedom of expression of scientists and artists, issues that, according to the Ambassador, should also be better reflected in the UPRs.

Freedom of expression under pressure

„The challenges faced by freedom of expression require a robust multilateral effort to be tackled. We therefore welcome Denmark’s commitment to our important work to ensure the safety of journalists worldwide,“ said Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General

„Human rights, specifically freedom of expression, are under pressure. The efforts to protect and promote the rights and fundamental freedoms of the professional groups under UNESCO’s mandate, namely journalists, scientific researchers and artists, are crucial as ever. This project can hopefully be a part of that,“ said Castern Staur, Ambassador of Denmark to UNESCO

Denmark’s contribution will complement the actions funded by UNESCO’s Multi-Donor Programme on Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists, a major UNESCO’s programme funding the organization’s work to protect journalists worldwide. Through MDP, UNESCO supports activities to promote the adoption and application of relevant policies and normative frameworks to strengthen the environment for freedom of expression and press freedom, and to enhance the safety of journalists, as well as to foster sustainable and independent media institutions. MDP is open to contributors.

Programme for Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists (MDP)

The MDP serves to further strengthen UNESCO work at a global, regional, and national levels, by channeling funds towards emerging priorities and the most pressing needs to achieve its mandate on freedom of expression. It enables UNESCO Communication and Information Sector to address complex issues through the design and implementation of holistic medium and long-term interventions at national, regional and global levels. The clear advantage of this mechanism is that it allows UNESCO and its partners to achieve greater impact and sustainability, whilst reducing fragmentation of activities in the same field.

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