The Netherlands will continue to strengthen safety of journalists and access to information

Within the framework of UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), The Netherlands announced a new grant to support projects in the field of monitoring and reporting on SDG Indicator 16.10.1 (safety of journalists) and SDG Indicator 16.10.2 (access to information).

Sustainable Development Goal 16.10 calls for global progress on “public access to information and fundamental freedoms”. The set of projects to be supported with Dutch funding aim to enhance public access to information along with the freedom of journalists to work without fear of attack.

The Dutch support comes at a timely moment as violence against journalists and the number of journalists killed has seen an increase in the past few years. In particular, the Dutch funding will support the establishment of new, or strengthen existing, national monitoring systems on the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity so as to generate reliable and updated information, which tracks developments and trends in targeted countries. This work is in line with the recently adopted decision by the 31st IPDC Council (November 2018), which invited UNESCO’s Director-General to enhance current monitoring of safety of journalists in order to align and reinforce synergies with the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and the overall reporting on SDG Indicator 16.10.1.

Furthermore, the Dutch contribution to the IPDC will facilitate the monitoring and reporting on the implementation of Access to Information (ATI) laws at the national level. Within the UN, UNESCO is the custodian agency for SDG Indicator 16.10.2 and reports accordingly to the UN Secretary-General on the adoption of ATI guarantees by countries.

In line with IPDC Council decision encouraging the Secretariat to develop a mechanism that can involve and support Member States in data-collection and reporting on access to Information, the IPDC is currently moving further to monitor the implementation aspects of ATI laws at country level, in collaboration with the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS).

The data collected for 16.10.2 through national mechanisms will pay an important role in mapping global progress towards SDG 16 and in conducting advocacy, both at national and international levels, on how access to information contributes to achieving sustainable development goals. 

The IPDC is a unique multilateral forum in the UN system designed to promote independent media development and access to information. The Programme not only provides support for concrete media development projects but also seeks an accord to secure a healthy environment for the growth of free and pluralistic media in developing countries.