» UNESCO and the EU partner to promote Media pluralism and professionalism in the Gambia
06.10.2016 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

UNESCO and the EU partner to promote Media pluralism and professionalism in the Gambia

©United Nations

October 6, 2016. Banjul, Islamic Republic of The Gambia

The European Union and UNESCO launched on October 6th in Banjul, Islamic Republic of the Gambia, a four-month initiative to reinforce the capacities of Gambian media professionals. 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 country, which includes several components such as: (i) Access to Justice and Legal Education, (ii) Journalism and Media, and (iii) Public Financial Management.

The project Journalism and Media of the EU's Governance Programme is contributing with 691,583 euro (approximately equivalent to 35 million dalasi) to the media reform in The Gambia. No other sector than the media has the outreach capacity for reaching decision makers and the general public. The overall objective of this project is therefore to contribute to better democratic governance through improving freedom of the press and the quality of information available to the population.

This project promotes excellence in journalism, and innovative curricula, as supporting journalism education is an important part of developing a free and independent media. The project also reinforces gender equality in the media through the selection of target groups for the training activities, and the development of training curricula and materials. It also directly contributes to enhancing human rights in the country, as the media have a tremendous power to influence a nation's political discourse, and a free and open media is essential to a healthy democracy.

In the Islamic Republic of The Gambia, as in many countries around the world, media professionals often lack the necessary resources and capacities to exercise their activities. Difficulty accessing information and lack of equipment and training are among the daily challenges faced by media professionals. This project is therefore addressing some of these issues, namely professional development and training, as well as gender inequality in media, and the economic viability of media houses. Primary beneficiaries of this project include independent media houses, the Gambia Press Union, and the University of the Gambia. Over a four-month period, professional capacities of the primary beneficiaries will be upgraded, and curricula development reform supported. Small-scale equipment will also be provided to media houses, newsrooms, and community radios.

UNESCO has been identified for the implementation of this project as this UN agency has a neutral mandate to support the fields of communication, media, and journalism, and a longstanding experience in capacity building of media professionals to meet international standards.

For further information, please contact Jean-Pierre Ilboudo, (jp.ilboudo(at)unesco.org)

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