The issues covered in the projects include long-term IPDC mandates including assessments of national media landscapes using UNESCO’s media development indicators, projects to promote the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity, Other projects address more recent concerns such as media viability, tackling disinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine, and safety measures in reporting on the pandemic.
The IPDC Bureau also approved nine Special Allocations, which are designed to provide seed funding for the implementation of activities proposed by the Secretariat in the programmatic areas covered by the IPDC.
These activities include launching a consultation on the impact of Internet platforms’ policies on the safety of journalists and media viability; supporting the implementation of key recommendations of a major interdisciplinary study on online violence against women journalists; and a project focused on enhancing the safety of journalists in Mosul as part of the wider UNESCO “Revive the Spirit of Mosul” initiative.
Both the projects and the Special Allocations will contribute to strengthening the standard-setting role of the IPDC, including within the context of the Windhoek+30 Declaration and the 10th anniversary of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity in 2022.
H.E. Ambassador Anna Brandt, IPDC Chair, opened the meeting commending “journalists on the frontline, often at risk of exposure to COVID infection themselves, [that] have sought to supply essential live-saving information to audiences in need of reporting they can trust”. Xing Qu, Deputy Director-General of UNESCO and Assistant-Director General a.i. of UNESCO’s Communication and Information (CI) Sector, recalled that “information is a public good to which everyone is entitled [and that it is] the foundation for effective measures to address any global emergency – from the health crisis to climate change.”
Both expressed thanks to all the donors that have contributed to the IPDC’s activities since 2019, namely: Andorra, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and ICESCO.
The Bureau welcomed the progress made in the area of resource mobilization and the ideas proposed to enhance the IPDC’s visibility. Following the Fundraising Strategy adopted at the 32nd IPDC Council session, the IPDC Secretariat’s resource mobilization efforts targeting the private sector secured commitments for two earmarked contributions. These are from Google, for supporting journalism education in Africa, and from the Internet Society, for applying UNESCO’s Internet Universality Indicators in three countries.
The IPDC Bureau also discussed ways that the IPDC Secretariat will enhance visibility by, among other things, revitalizing its public database of projects, building on its existing website putting a stronger focus on showcasing its work through human-centered stories, and making a better use of international days commemorated by the CI Sector.
The Bureau further brainstormed on how to improve the geographical representation and quality of project submission, in line with UNESCO’s Global Priorities (Africa and Gender Equality). The meeting also discussed the possibility of issuing a second call for proposals later in the year that will address the identified gaps.
This year’s Bureau meeting ended with a special session in which members expressed their thanks to Guy Berger, Secretary of the IPDC, who will be retiring later this year after 10 years of stewardship of the Programme.
Bureau members joined the IPDC Chair in highlighting Berger’s extensive knowledge of the media development challenges combined with a passion for the objectives the IPDC seeks to achieve.
Among his many achievements that were mentioned was the positioning of IPDC as a key player in promoting journalism education; strengthening its role in fostering journalists’ safety; and IPDC’s contribution to important discussions on issues such as Internet Universality, SDG 16.10, or media viability.
Established in 1980, the IPDC is the only multilateral forum in the UN system designed to mobilize the international community to discuss and promote media development in developing countries.