» Gambian Security Forces to be Trained on Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists
29.05.2017 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

Gambian Security Forces to be Trained on Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists

From June 5-10 2017 in Banjul, the Gambia, the ARTICLE 19 West Africa Regional Office will organize, with the support of UNESCO and the European Union, two three days training for Gambian security forces on freedom of expression and the safety of journalists.

This initiative occurs in the framework of the project “Journalism and Media,” launched in October 2016, of the EU's Governance Programme, contributing with 691,583 euro (approximately equivalent to 35 million dalasi) to media reform in The Gambia. The overall objective of this project is to contribute to better democratic governance through improving freedom of the press and the quality of information available to the population. This project is part of a wider Governance Programme of 10 million euro (approximately equivalent to 500 million dalasi) financed by the European Union in the Gambia, which includes several components such as: (i) Access to Justice and Legal Education, (ii) Journalism and Media, and (iii) Public Financial Management.

The training is also part of a holistic protection programme for journalists and Human Rights Defenders that ARTICLE 19 is specifically engaged in since 2007.The training aims to improve the capacities of security forces in the Gambia to guarantee freedom of expression and the safety of journalists in the context of the implementation of the UN Plan of Action on The Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, coordinated by UNESCO and endorsed in April 2012 by the Chief Executive Board of all the UN bodies, the highest level coordination mechanism of the UN system. In the framework of this plan of action, the workshop aims to promote an enabling environment for freedom of expression, press freedom and the safety of journalists by facilitating media pluralism and participation, and by supporting sustainable and independent media institutions. The project also aims to strengthen international cooperation in the field of training security forces to uphold the freedom of expression rights of citizens, to better understand the role and function of journalists in democratic societies and establish professional working relationships with between these two groups.

This project is implemented in the framework of UNESCO's International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC). 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. The Programme not only provides support for media projects but also seeks an accord to secure a healthy environment for the growth of free and pluralistic media in developing countries. The efforts of the IPDC have had an important impact on a broad range of fields covering, among others, the promotion of media independence and pluralism, development of community media, radio and television organizations, modernization of national and regional news agencies, and training of media professionals. The IPDC strives to implement effective media projects that empower people to gain equitable access to knowledge and express themselves through free and pluralistic media.

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