UNESCO and ARIJ join hands to enhance the safety of investigative journalists in the Arab region

UNESCO and Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ) launched in January 2022 a new project entitled “Aman360” (“Safety 360” in Arabic), marking the 10th anniversary of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. Aman360 will deploy innovative methods to enhance the safety of investigative journalists in the region, including safety guidelines, webinars, training sessions, safety clinics and a hotline service.

The project was created within the framework of a Funds-In-Trust project funded by Denmark entitled “Enhancing the Safety of Journalists in Africa and the Arab Region”, and UNESCO’s Multi-Donor Programme on Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists (MDP).

Within the media landscape, investigative journalists play a particularly crucial role. They uncover malpractice, fraud, corruption, and human rights abuses, thereby promoting transparency and accountability in society. For this reason, they are particularly vulnerable to threats, violence, and killings which in turn underlines the importance of enhancing their safety through different means.

ARIJ has been active for 15 years in fostering a culture of safety and leads a network of investigative journalists across the region. It has trained more than 3.500 journalists and supported the production of over 650 investigations. It will be joined in its efforts on the ground by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the world’s largest organization of journalists. UNESCO will implement Aman360 in the MENA region, with a particular focus on Algeria, Iraq, Mauritania, Palestine, Tunisia, and Yemen.

Since its formal creation in 2017, the MDP has implemented actions aiming at enhancing freedom of expression, access to information and the safety of journalists in over 35 countries. As part of its focus on safety, it has held numerous capacity-building activities (including physical and digital safety trainings), produced dedicated resources, and supported safety mechanisms at national and regional levels. Thanks to the MDP, UNESCO has been an active player in protecting freedom of expression and the safety of journalists in the Arab region in countries such as Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen. The Aman360 project comes to complement pre-existing initiatives, and will also serve to reinforce the implementation of the Hague Commitment to Increase the Safety of Journalists and of the Global Drive for Media Freedom and Safety of Journalists, launched jointly with OHCHR in 2021.

About the Multi-Donor Programme for Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists (MDP)

The MDP serves to further strengthen UNESCO work at a global, regional, and national levels, by channeling funds towards emerging priorities and the most pressing needs to achieve its mandate on freedom of expression. It enables UNESCO Communication and Information Sector to address complex issues through the design and implementation of holistic medium and long-term interventions at national, regional and global levels. The clear advantage of this mechanism is that it allows UNESCO and its partners to achieve greater impact and sustainability, whilst reducing fragmentation of activities in the same field.

Source: UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

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