CELE: Improving the Monitoring of Press Freedom in the Andean Region

Year when project approved: 
2010
Approved budget: 
US$16 500.00

Attacks on the press in the sub-Andean region are adopting increasingly indirect modalities, which require a more complex, ample and precise monitoring than has been traditionally conducted. Part of this problem is related to the arbitrary enforcement of laws and regulations dealing with the press, radio and television, as well as the aggressive intervention of government officials, and other covert forms of harassment that are difficult to objectively report. It is important to point out that there is no adequate record of the trials against journalists and media organizations. Furthermore, in the case of regulations or laws, it is necessary to ensure that NGOs have a greater capacity for legal analysis in order to detect violations. In consequence, this project intends to assist a group of non-governmental organizations that defend freedom of expression ?henceforth the Andean Group for Freedom of Information (GALI, Spanish acronym)? in elevating the scope and precision of the registration of violations of freedom of expression and of the press in the Andean countries ? Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia and Colombia. The organizations that make up GALI have built networks of duly trained monitors on a national level in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela, and monitors specialized in access to information in Colombia. These monitors have been working for the past few years, and due to the advances detected, GALI has agreed to move forward with an oversight plan with a more sophisticated common methodology that can help to obtain a better understanding of the phenomena that produce violations to freedom of expression and freedom of the press. CELE will develop the following products to comply with the project's general and specific objectives: an initial workshop between CELE and the organizations; a half-yearly analysis report on GALI's oversight work; a final report, which will contain specific recommendations on the improvement of the oversight instruments, a proposal for legislative changes or changes in the practices that the organizations should promote, and an evaluation, according to the data obtained to that moment, of the state of freedom of the press in the countries and during the period of the oversight; a final workshop for evaluation between CELE and the organizations.

Documents
Project details
IPDC Bureau meeting nº: 
54

Implementation status :

Project evaluated:

Project scope:

Budget
Budget code: 
354 RLA 5096

Source of funds:

Beneficiary
Beneficiary name: 
CENTRO DE ESTUDIOS EN LIBERTAD DE EXPRESION Y ACCESO A LA INFORMACION ? CELE (Center for Freedom of expression and Access to Information Studies) Facultad de Derecho (Law School)
Beneficiary address: 
University of Palermo - Ricardo Popovsky Mario Bravo 1050 Buenos Aires (C1175ABZ)
Beneficiary phone: 
(5411) 5199-4500, int.1207
Location and contacts
UNESCO
Responsible UNESCO Regional advisers: 

Rosa M. González, Adviser for Communication and Information in the Andean countries, r.gonzalez@unesco.org;

UNESCO Field Office:

Project contacts: 

Ricardo Popovsky, President of the University of Palermo Foundation, rpopov@palermo.edu;

Project place: 
FUNDAMEDIOS of Ecuador, the National Press Association of Bolivia and El Instituto Prensa y Sociedad (The Press and Society Institute) in Peru, Colombia and Venezuela
Photo gallery
Follow-up and achievments
Summary of the project implementation: 

CELE organized the first workshop of organizations of the Andean Group of Freedom of information (GALI) in Quito on 25-26 November 2010 to evaluate the current monitoring mechanisms being used to monitor violations of freedom of expression in the region. As a first result of this project, the GALI member organizations widened the scope of issues covered by the freedom of expression monitoring mechanism, to include legal and administrative processes against journalists, mandatory broadcasting of governmental content, sudden withdrawal of public advertising and arbitrary cancellation of radio and television licenses. Moreover, GALI identified the need to evaluate the freedom of expression legal framework prevailing in each country, in order to identify their strengths and weaknesses. For this purpose, the implementation of some UNESCO's Media Development Indicators, particularly category 1, was proposed, since this instrument can contribute to assessing, in a precise manner, whether national legislation on freedom of expression and access to information meet international standards. CELE will initially monitor these new issues from November 2010 until June 2011. In July 2011 there will be a second meeting of the GALI organizations in order to assess progress and / or problems encountered during that period. The scope of the new monitoring system will then be finally decided as well as the strategies to be implemented to improve the current mechanisms. The scope of the new monitoring system will then be finally decided as well as the strategies to be implemented to improve the current mechanisms.