IPDC project priority: Promoting Freedom of Expression and Media Pluralism

The media environment in Egypt was characterised by severe repression under the former ruling president, Hosni Mubarak. In terms of press freedom for example, Egypt was ranked 130th out of 196 countries globally by Freedom House in their Freedom of the Press 2010 Report. Despite the fall of the regime following the January 25th uprising, a lack of freedom of expression remains in force today. Traditional media as well as citizen journalism have played an important role in setting the stage for change in the country. In the upcoming period, and in the context of the transition towards...

This project aims to address some of the objectives of the UN draft Plan of Action arising from the UN Inter-Agency meeting on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, particularly the dissemination of a best practices guide on the safety of journalists as well as the training of journalists. By working with expert contacts in the safety field and drawing on its own experience, the International News Safety Institute (INSI) aims to reach at least 2,000 journalists and media workers, in addition to governments and military across the world, with this comprehensive reference...

In Tunisia, both the print press and broadcasting were tightly controlled by public authorities. The mainstream press toed the party line and authorities regularly blocked access to alternate news sources. In the wake of the January 2011 popular revolt, many journalists have been able to enjoy new-found freedoms. The new government will now be faced with the difficult task of ensuring a smooth democratic transition, involving: 1) Creating a favourable environment for the media to fulfil their democratic potential will be essential in this process. 2) Putting in place new media laws. These...

Liberian media has grown in terms of numbers, but is left wanting in terms of quality. There are more than thirty daily, weekly, bi-weekly and other sporadically-produced publications on the newsstands; twenty radio stations, six television stations and over fifty community radio stations across the country. This development points to media pluralism, but the problem associated with this growth lies with professional standards and capacities of those who man these institutions to enable them to respond to the needs of the public. There are at least three universities in the country...

2012 is an election year in post-conflict Sierra Leone. Given the deep scars of the past, peace is fragile and the electoral period could see a relapse into violence if, inter alia, the people feel disenfranchised in any way. Access to credible and objective information is crucial. The country’s fledgling democracy still lacks the maturity to handle political tolerance there is therefore the need for a sustained media campaign. The media landscape is generally free as there is no blatant government interference, however a number of the media outlets, particularly the print media, are...

The number of journalists killed in Africa in the line of their duty, deliberately, in crossfire, and combat related circumstances has been increasing year in year out. According to the International News Safety Institute, some 199 journalists and media workers were killed in Africa between 1990 and 2006. In 2009 more journalists and associated media workers were killed than during the years before. Other journalists were attacked, arrested, injured, kidnapped or detained. These deadly attacks have brought to light that media houses in Africa do not have adequate policies and resources to...

Media in Egypt occupy a highly influential position within the Arab world, and on a superficial level Egyptian journalists enjoy the right to exercise press freedom, as guaranteed within its Constitution. The reality under the governance of Hosni Mubarak however, saw the press regularly subject to restrictive laws which violated international press freedom standards. In Tunisia too, both the print press and broadcasting media were under tight government control, with President Ben Ali's authorities controlling access to news sources and ensuring online censorship. The recent popular...

Access to information is of paramount importance in enabling economic, political and social development of Central Asian countries in their fight against corruption. In recent years, developments have been made in this area, with the passing of laws on Access to Information in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan occurring in 2006 and 2008 respectively, and discussions for a law on Access to Public Information in Kazakhstan being initiated in 2010. In spite of this progress however, Central Asian mass media continue to encounter problems in accessing information, with the 'Adil Soz' Foundation...

In spite of India's strong constitution and judicial rulings in favour of press freedom, journalists in insurgency-affected parts of the country are often intimidated into silence by the special measures put in place by local administrations in these areas. They are frequently deterred from reporting on common issues of governance and unsure of the permissible limits of free reporting thus resulting in an inability to reflect a wide range of opinions and perceptions in their work. This project aims to address the situation by providing training workshops to 60 journalists from insurgency-...

The Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region continues to rank poorly in terms of political rights, civil liberties and press freedom, with harassment and threats towards journalists and human rights defenders being a routine occurrence. Instead of improving, the situation is worsening with governments clamping down recently on online freedom of speech leaving journalists too afraid of retribution to report honestly and critically. The International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) works actively to fight this oppression of freedom of expression by emphasizing organizational capacity-...

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