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Promoting Freedom of Expression in Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen

© UNESCO - Library (before) 2013.

With financial support from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, UNESCO is implementing a project in the Arab region to strengthen legal and regulatory frameworks to promote freedom of expression, freedom of information, and press freedom. Project activities will also focus on building professional and institutional capacities in journalism, as well as ensuring that media professionals, citizen journalists and bloggers can work free from threats, and that crimes committed against them are brought to justice. The project also seeks to advance gender equality in and through media in the target countries, as well as to foster freedom of expression and enhanced access to information for displaced Syrian youth.

Countries involved in the program include Egypt, Libya, Morocco, the Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia and Yemen.

Overview of Activities

High-level officials, judges, legal experts, academics and civil society advocates from the region are sharing knowledge, gaining skills, and strengthening networking, jointly working towards the establishment of a regulatory system conducive to freedom of expression, pluralism and diversity of the media. The project is facilitating needs-assessments, technical support, dialogue and awareness-raising at the country level so that laws and policies guaranteeing press freedom, freedom of information and editorially independent Public Service Broadcasting can be effectively adopted and implemented. Support also involves training for security forces and journalists, as well as the development of codes of conduct, standard procedures and practical resources to enhance respect for media professionals’ rights.

UNESCO is also reinforcing journalism education in different countries through its Model Curricula. These training resources help strengthen skills in investigative journalism, media ethics and self-regulation, while also fostering the safe use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) by media professionals, citizen journalists and bloggers, thus reinforcing critical coverage of local developments.

To advance gender equality through freedom of expression and access to information, the project leverages the role of media as platforms to foster the rights and dignity of women. Training and exchanges introduce gender-sensitive approaches to sensitize media professionals and reinforce their capacities when producing audiovisual content, as well as in formulating policies and strategies for media outlets to promote gender equality. One resource in this area is the recent UNESCO publication Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media.

Two Youth Information Centres (YICs) for displaced Syrian youth are being established in the North of Lebanon and at Al Zaatari Camp in Jordan, providing Syrian youth with a place to learn, access information, and express themselves. The project will also include the creation of an interactive online map of Egypt, to improve access to information on local centres providing healthcare, fresh water and literacy services.

Development partner

Project Timeline

30 January 2013 30 May 2016


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