Safety of journalists crucial in ensuring access to information for sustainable development

Safety of journalists remains crucial to ensuring that journalists are well and able to deliver quality and timely information to the public. Access to information is an important part of democratic societies and essential to the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. People need quality, accurate information to make informed analyses and decisions about their daily lives.

UNESCO Representative, Tirso Dos Santos emphasized this at a meeting with Tanzania Development Information Organisation (TADIO) – community media network in a meeting at UNESCO in Dar es Salaam.

For over a decade, UNESCO has supported the establishment and sustainability of community media in Tanzania and continues to set-up and build capacities of local radios that the government, UN and civil society have come to considerably depend on to reach populations, at times with lifesaving information. UNESCO builds their abilities to deliver quality, timely and gender responsive information to populations across the country and the sustainability of local radios and the community radio network- TADIO.  

Within the national UN development assistance framework, UNESCO leads outcomes for media development and access to information addressing democracy and good governance, women’s political participation and leadership and prevention of violence against women and children. This is in contribution to achieving the 2030 Global Goals, Vision 2025, national development plan and implementation of the National Plan of Action for the Prevention of Violence against Women and Children).

Safety of journalists is imperative to safeguarding the men and women who are in the frontline every day - to keep us updated and information, educated and entertained – ensuring that they work independent of fear from harm, illness and threats of retribution just for doing their jobs. Health and wellbeing is as essential to the media industry as it is in any trade.

Particularly, women journalists face a double burden: at risk as journalists and as women. 73% of women journalists participating in a UNESCO/ICFJ survey say they have experienced online violence in the course of their work. Prevention of violence against women in and through the media remains one of UNESCO priorities in the communication and information programme.

UNESCO reiterated support to community media development, including local radios in building knowledge societies in Tanzania.