Wednesday, March 23, 2016
On March 17th and 18th, UNESCO's International Programme for the Development of Communication held its 60th Bureau meeting. Albana Shala, programme coordinator at Free Press Unlimited, traveled to the headquarters in Paris to chair the meeting, on behalf of The Netherlands. Among the main topics discussed was the safety of journalists and IPDC's role in ending impunity.

Many people know UNESCO as a body that is about culture and education. Less well known is their International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) that serves in the interest of media professionals, as part of UNESCO's Communication and Information pillar. IPDC is a unique intergovernmental programme, that supports media developement and freedom of expression. One of the targets is to increase the safety of journalists worldwide. It calls on governments to end impunity against journalists and media workers. 

As an expert on press freedom and media development, Albana Shala holds the chair of IPDC. Boris van Westering, Head of team MENA/Eurasia at Free Press Unlimited, was present during the two day meeting and made some video impressions. Albana explains to Boris what the meeting is all about:

Boris also spoke with Mascha Wismans, who works for the Permanent Delegation of the Netherlands at UNESCO. In this video she speaks about the importance of the IPDC programme:

An important topic during this bureau meeting was safety for journalists and the ending of impunity. In 2015 alone, according to UNESCO records, 114 journalists were killed because of their reporting. Many of these cases have remained unsolved. According to Albana Shala, the member states of the UN have a crucial role to play in reversing this negative trend:

With the thematic debate on the role of the media in covering migration & refugees, the IPDC wants to stress the responsibility of media professionals to cover this important phenomenon in an ethical way. Outcomes of this debate can be read in this report.

Free Press Unlimited also wants to promote ethical coverage of migration and refugees in the media. For this purpose we intend to bring together Dutch media and our partners from the countries that we work in.

Further reading:
“News organizations standing up for the safety of media professionals”