UNESCO and the Foundation to Promote Open Society (OSF) have signed a partnership agreement to reinforce their commitment towards promoting freedom of expression and safety of journalists globally. The two-year agreement, which will last from 2018 to 2020, aims to reinforce UNESCO actions to promote freedom of expression, freedom of press, access to information and the end of impunity for crimes against journalists. The project will focus on raising awareness and facilitating vital dialogue to adopt policy reform on issues concerning freedom of expression and the safety of journalists worldwide.
The partnership proposes to bolster the outreach and impact of World Press Freedom Day, which is celebrated each year on 3 May, and International Day to Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’, which is marked on 2 November. It will enhance in particular cooperation and synergies between UN agencies, governments, civil society and the media. The agreement will also reinforce the implementation of the UN Plan of Action on safety of journalists and the issue of impunity.
OSI was one of the key contributors of previous commemorations of World Press Freedom Day and the International Day to end Impunity for Crimes against Journalists as well as the capacity-building project conducted to raise awareness of African judiciaries on freedom of expression and safety of journalists. The 2018 edition of the World Press Freedom Day, witnessed the participation of more than 900 people from 87 countries in Accra, Ghana, with about 80 parallel celebrations worldwide. Global celebrations of the conference have contributed to multi-stakeholder collaboration through the reinforcement of standards on freedom of expression. This includes support that was extended to critical research such as in the case of Internet Universality indicators and promotion of a dialogue between judges and representatives of civil society organizations and media.
The partnership agreement is consequent to the previous successful collaborations between UNESCO and the Foundation to Promote Open Society (OSF), which was aimed at strengthening freedom of expression, public access to information and safety of journalists globally with a focus on Africa.
This new partnership also expects to take great strides in the direction of promoting freedom of expression and realizing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, specifically Sustainable Development Goal 16.10 that recognizes the need to ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms.