UNESCO: Could you please present yourself and introduce how you become committed to promoting media freedom?
Rebecca Vincent: I joined the organisation just over four years ago to open and run the UK bureau, then moved into this new global role this past summer. I have been working on human rights issues throughout my 15-year career, first as a diplomat, then for a range of NGOs. Freedom of expression has been a key focus in all of my work, and media freedom is a crucial part of that right.
UNESCO: What is the mission of the Organization you are working for?
Rebecca Vincent: RSF is an international non-profit organisation that defends and promotes journalistic freedom, independence and pluralism. Drawing on 35 years of experience, RSF alternates public interventions and effective behind-the-scenes actions. RSF works globally through its Paris headquarters and 16 country offices (7 bureaus, 6 sections and 3 representatives), its network of correspondents in more than 130 countries, its 15 local partner organisations, and its consultative status at the United Nations, UNESCO, the Council of Europe, the International Organization of the Francophonie and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
UNESCO: What will you do thanks to the grant by the Global Media Defence Fund?
Rebecca Vincent: The GMDF grant will enable RSF to develop its Justice for Journalists Task Force, through which we pursue creative litigation strategies to ensure accountability for crimes against journalists. In doing so, this funding will strengthen the impact of some of RSF’s key international campaigns.
UNESCO: What will be the impact of this action?
Rebecca Vincent: The impact of this action will be significant steps towards reducing endemic impunity for crimes against journalists, with a goal of achieving concrete results in specific cases. Direct beneficiaries will include all those connected to the specific cases taken up under the project, and the wider independent media communities in the target countries.
UNESCO: Any suggestions/recommendations you would like to make to UNESCO as administrator of the Global Media Defence Fund and to its donors?
Rebecca Vincent: “We welcome the launch of this new fund, and would encourage more states to contribute to the fund to enable UNESCO to provide more substantial support over the longer term.”