UNESCO programme grants funding to 62 new media projects in developing countriesUNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) granted more than US$1.5 million to 62 media projects in developing countries and countries in transition at its meeting at Headquarters, (March 29 – April 2). It also awarded the 2003 IPDC-UNESCO Prize for Rural Communication to Radio Toco, the first and only community-based radio station in Trinidad and Tobago.
The projects include broadcast, print and electronic media, as well as training programmes. In Timor-Leste, for example, a training programme for community radio has been granted US$30,000 to provide training in current affairs reporting and documentary production to 12 radio journalists a year with the purpose of producing independent and balanced programming.
A different aspect of work supported by the IPDC is illustrated by the Media for Transparent Governance project in Mongolia, which has been granted US$40,000 to provide training workshops for 20 to 30 radio and television editors and managers and sensitize them to the social and economic impact of corruption. Twenty to 30 newspaper, radio and TV journalists will furthermore be trained to investigate and raise public awareness about corruption and the obstacles it poses for education, health and other national development priorities. A number of news reports, radio and TV anti-corruption spots aimed at awareness-raising will be produced and an analysis of the media content on the subject will be conducted.
In another example, the Brazilian Network for Press Freedom was granted US$ 25,000 to exchange information and monitor press freedom in Brazil, promote initiatives that stress the importance of press freedom for democracy and support action against impunity in the cases of crimes against communication professionals. The network and its website will disseminate information that is presently only available to journalists and facilitate cooperation between Brazilian and international free press networks.
In the Central African Republic, the IPDC has approved US$50,000 to rehabilitate Radio Centrafrique which was devastated by the civil war. The funds will be used to acquire appropriate equipment and provide training to radio personnel.
The IPDC also granted funding to three projects in Afghanistan: for training at and reform of the Bakhtar Information Agency (US$67,000); the establishment of a traning centre at Radio-Television Afghanistan (US$30,000); and further development of a women in the media network (US$20,000).
Norway, the second largest donor to the IPDC, expressed full satisfaction with the dynamic reforms1 recently undertaken by the Programme and pledged to provide funding to its Special Account. Denmark, Greece, and the Republic of Korea made similar pledges. A number of countries also expressed their intention to explore funding possibilities including some developing countries.
On the recommendation of the IPDC Bureau, Chairperson Torben Krogh (Denmark) presented the 2003 IPDC-UNESCO Prize for Rural Communication to Radio Toco 106.7 FM of Trinidad and Tobago.*
The winner of the US$20,000 Prize focuses on community concerns such as parenting and early childhood education, public health, HIV and AIDS, job motivation and entrepreneurship, particularly for youth. Since its establishment in 1997, Radio Toco has developed into a veritable laboratory for community mobilization and community broadcast training in the fight against poverty and the promotion of sustainable human development, said Mr Krogh as he awarded the Prize. “Women-driven, it is independent and a model in self reliance in the Caribbean,” he declared, adding: “Radio Toco is fully recognized as an outstanding FM medium for information sharing and exchange amongst the rural communities of North-eastern Trinidad.”
Representing Radio Toco, the station’s Coordinator, Michael Als, said that the Prize was an important landmark for the further development of the community radio which, he hoped, would gain recognition as a “sustainable partner of development agencies’ working to get communities take ownership of projects.”
During the session, the IPDC hosted a thematic debate on the Promotion of Pluralism and Good Governance through Media Development.
The IPDC is the only multilateral forum in the UN system to promote media development in developing countries. It provides funding from voluntary contributions by donor countries while working to secure a better environment for the growth of free and pluralistic media in developing countries.
The IPDC consists of an Intergovernmental Council of 39 member states elected by UNESCO’s General Conference and of a Bureau of eight member states nominated by the Council. The Bureau meets annually to appraise, select and approve funding for media projects. The Council meets every two years. Since its inception in 1980, the IPDC has supported some 1000 projects in 135 countries.
* photographs of the prize-giving ceremony can be obtained from UNESCO’s Photo library: Ariane Bailey +33 (0)1 45 68 16 86 firstname.lastname@example.org and television footage from the Audiovisual Service, Carole Darmouni: +33 (0)1 45 81 73 58 email@example.com
For more information see: http://www.unesco.org/webworld/ipdc