• ONU Mali

Promotion of Freedom of Press: UNESCO launches the assessment of media landscape in Mali

For the promotion of freedom of the press, the UNESCO Office in Mali in collaboration with the Ministry of Communication in charge of Relations with the Institutions, Spokesperson of the Government and the School of Journalism and Science of Communication have launched on July 26, 2019 at Hotel Azalai Bamako the UNESCO / SIDA project: "Strengthening the contribution of media for a future of sustainable development."

The challenges of communication during conflict and post-conflict situations are unique to each country. The armed conflict that affected Mali a few years ago has had a negative impact on the safety of journalists. In April 2013, the United Nations Security Council established the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), with the aim of supporting the country in its reconstruction efforts, ensuring security and stability as well as promoting and defending human rights.

It is in this context that the UNESCO Office in Mali with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), and in partnership with the Ministry of Communication, in charge of Relations with Institutions, Spokesperson of the Government and the School of Journalism and Communication Sciences have officially launched the project "Strengthening the Contribution of Media for a Future of Sustainable Development" for a period of one year.

Mr. Yaya Sangaré, Minister of Communication, in charge of Relations with the Institutions, Spokesperson of the Government chaired the ceremony. Alongside him were Mr. Saip Sy representing the Head of the UNESCO Office in Mali, Mr. Elvis Michel Kenmoe, Communication and Information Advisor at UNESCO Regional Office in Dakar, and Mr. Alassane Diakité of the School of Journalism and Communication Sciences. Various press associations, traditional and online media, young men and women journalists, as well as other civil society actors took part in the ceremony.

In his opening address, Mr. Sy on behalf of UNESCO thanked SIDA for its financial support, as well as the Ministry of Communication, in charge of Relations with the Institutions, and the School of Journalism and Communication Sciences of Mali for their involvement in the implementation of the project. He argued that the project would contribute to the "promotion of freedom of expression, to allow for plurality of voices, ensure transparent governance, fight against oppression, end conflict and alleviate poverty.”

He assured that in the search for a solution to the problems of journalists' insecurity, UNESCO intends to implement two other projects this year on the safety of journalists, with the aim of supporting Mali in promoting the freedom of the press. Finally, Mr. Sy said, "these different projects will contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals through the promotion of the importance of public access to information and fundamental freedoms of free, independent and pluralistic media, with professional journalist.”

The Minister, for his part, thanked partners including UNESCO and SIDA for the efforts made in the implementation of the project. For the minister, the ceremony is "in the global context of the actions undertaken by the government and its technical and financial partners to promote the safety of journalists.” He then recalled how important journalism is in a country. Thus, he says, "a quality journalism informs and informs citizens about the problems that affect them, empowers institutions and contributes to peace and democracy by giving voice to the whole of society."

The main activity of the project will consist of conducting a comprehensive analysis of the national landscape on the safety of journalists in Mali in relation with the Journalists’ Safety Indicators (JSI) approved by the International Program for the Development of Journalism (IPDC). The JSI evaluation will provide an evidenced-based information on the state of media security and impunity in Mali.

During the ceremony, a presentation of the project followed by discussions allowed participants and future journalists to understand better the objectives, expected outcome, and activities of the project. A research team will conduct the evaluation under the coordination of a steering committee. In order to ensure quality work, the research team members will take part in workshops designed for capacity building on the UNESCO indicators by a UNESCO Specialist. Once the assessment methodology developed by the research team is validated by the national steering team, the researchers will start collecting and analyzing data.

By the end of the project, this assessment in Mali will result in the formulation of a series of evidence-based recommendations aimed at helping policy makers and media development actors to address identified gaps and foster free, independent and pluralistic media environment.

It should be noted that this project with a global budget of more than one million US Dollar will last one (01) year and is implemented in 19 countries in the world, including 9 in Africa that are: Gambia, Kenya, Mali , Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Benin, Burkina Faso, Senegal.

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