Promoting Freedom of Expression and Protecting Journalists in Palestine

© MADA

UNESCO Ramallah supports advocacy and facilitates technical assistance toward the adoption and implementation a legal and regulatory framework in accordance to internationally- recognized freedom of expression standards.

Raising awareness about the importance of this basic human right and guaranteeing the safety of journalists are priorities within the work of the Communication and Information sector work, which promotes the annual commemoration of World Press Freedom Day by local partners every May 3rd.

As part of a project funded by the Government of Finland to advance freedom of expression, the safety of journalists and empowerment of women in media in West Bank and Gaza, UNESCO Ramallah is collaborating with the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) to foster monitoring and reporting of violations of media freedoms, enable peer support networking and provide legal aid for journalists.

MADA contributed to form a united coalition defending freedom of expression and organized an awareness- raising campaign, an award competition and the distribution of a special poster on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day 2011 (which was celebrated with events held in Ramallah, Jerusalem and Gaza). A special photo gallery on attacks against journalists was also set up. Workshops for lawyers, lectures for media students in West Bank and Gaza, and three studies on media issues were also conducted by MADA.

Within the same project implemented thanks to support from Finland, UNESCO Ramallah supported Ma'an Network in the delivery of safety training courses for Palestinian journalists, photographers and cameramen in the West Bank and in Gaza. The trainings concentrated on practical and professional aspects of media coverage in hazardous situations.

Complementing them was the distribution of first aid kits, helmets and flak jackets among media professionals.

Actions like the above are critical in light of the severe dangers Palestinian journalists often face while covering news both in the West Bank and Gaza. The Finnish-funded project also included efforts especially focused on female working in the media sector.

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