Finland helps UNESCO strengthen safety of journalists in Gaza
A UNESCO Flash Appeal project has received the funding of US$ 130,000 from Finland to strengthen the safety of journalists and press freedom in the Gaza Strip. In addition, Finland has provided US$ 530,000 for a two-year project in the Palestinian territory to increase awareness on the right to freedom of expression and access to information, to create a support network for media professionals, and to provide capacity building and career development for women journalists.
The current crisis in Gaza has had a critical impact on press freedom, highlighting the need to ensure protection of all media professionals, and respect for the independence and rights of journalists to exercise their professional duties in conflict situations.
UNESCO's Flash Appeal project will address the immediate needs for capacity building to increase safety awareness, offer psycho-social support to Palestinian journalists and cameramen, as well as provide them with safety equipment, including press signs, protective vests, helmets and first aid kits. In addition, a two-year project will create a support network for media professionals in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to monitor and address violations against press freedom, and provide opportunities for journalists to strengthen the professional capacities and exchange best practices.
A new training and career development programme for Palestinian women journalists will strengthen the professional, editorial and leadership skills of newly graduated and mid-career women journalists. The programme will provide training for women to prepare them to deal with the professional realities and challenges of the media environment; it will equip them with leadership and management skills in order to foster the promotion of women and gender equality in Palestinian media.
In February UNESCO donated 16 protective vests, helmets and PRESS signs to Palestinian media professionals in Gaza. Many local journalists and cameramen were reporting and covering the conflict in January without protective equipment in hazardous conditions while the international media was barred from entering the Gaza Strip.