Freedom of Expression

©Lafreneire, 2016

Freedom of Expression

UNESCO promotes Freedom of Expression in Eastern Africa as a fundamental human right as enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and as an enabler of all other rights. In order to make freedom of expression a reality, a legal and regulatory environment must exist that allows for an open and pluralistic media sector to emerge. There must exist the political will to support the media sector and rule of law to protect it. Furthermore, there must be laws ensuring right to information and safety of media workers and the eradication of impunity on cases against journalists. These elements, along with media professionals adhering to ethical and professional standards designed by practitioners, serve as the fundamental infrastructure on which freedom of expression can prevail to promote an enabling environment for a robust media in the region.

Based on UNESCO’s comparative advantage in the United Nations system and in recognition that no single player can address the myriad of challenges faced by the media in the region, UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa is contributing towards the coordination among media stakeholders in the region on a national basis. This is with a view to creating synergy among the various players, in promoting an enabling environment for freedom of expression, press freedom and journalistic safety through a combination of normative interventions and top bottom approaches. Efforts are joined with other media players, in building the capacity building of the media personnel, strengthening of independent media, the journalists associations and training institutions and support to policies that promote an enabling environment for freedom of expression to thrive.

Furthermore, UNESCO is supportingthe implementation of the UN Plan of Actionon Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunityand initiatives such as strengthening UN mechanisms in addressing freedom of expression concerns, raising awareness and fostering safety initiatives and knowledge sharing among the Member States are supported.

Support is also being provided to build the capacity of the media in carrying out self-regulation and in transformation of state broadcasters to public broadcasting service.

 Relevant Publications on this topic:


Documentary on Safety of Journalist in Somalia 2016

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