Paraguay promotes a project to strengthen journalism and access to information

With the support of UNESCO's International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), the proposal seeks to generate knowledge about access to public information and raise awareness about safety in the practice of journalism, as key factors in achieving the 2030 Agenda.

The Institute of Environmental Law and Economics (IDEA) is UNESCO's counterpart in the Republic of Paraguay to execute a project that seeks to expand citizen knowledge about access to public information, while raising awareness and informing about journalists’ safety while practicing their profession, to fulfil the 2030 Agenda’s mandate.

This project, entitled "Monitoring the fulfillment of SDG 16.10 Access to Information and Safety of Journalists", is one of the 18 initiatives that were presented from Latin America last June to UNESCO’s IPDC, the only Intergovernmental Initiative of the United Nations devoted to promoting independent media, mainly in developing countries. On that occasion, 55 projects were approved to strengthen the work of journalists worldwide.

For this opportunity, Paraguay will develop a tool for monitoring and follow-up on national commitments to this objective, as well as disseminating materials consciousness raising about rights regarding Freedom of Expression.

The importance of this project is linked to the Paraguayan reality, which reveals that, in access to information, although considerable progress has been made in recent years with Law No. 5282/14 on transparency, there are still challenges to be addressed to better guarantee effective exercise of this right.

Likewise, the reality of violence against journalists and social communicators points to a situation that calls for special attention, especially in border areas with Brazil, as described by the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the IACHR/OAS in reports of recent years. A significant number of journalists killed for their work in the last 30 years, and cases of aggression, threats, attacks and violent harassment against press workers are part of the statistics that support the importance of the purpose of raising awareness through this project.

The project will include workshops for journalists, organized citizens and university students on the aforementioned topics, as well as an International Seminar with the participation of national and international speakers on issues of Freedom of Expression, Access to Information and Safety of Journalists within the framework of the SDGs.

With these training events, the target audience will be able to acquire knowledge to understand and manage the tools to evaluate the Paraguayan State's compliance with the commitments of SDG 16, particularly in the field of journalists’ safety and the right to information. It also seeks to form a basic critical mass of citizens and students who can promote or reform public policies in order to improve key aspects of SDG 16.