Sweden steps up in UNESCO on media development

Lars Tallert, Fojo Head of Policy and International Development.

The Swedish Ambassador to UNESCO, Anna Brandt, was elected new President of UNESCO’s programme for media development (IPDC). She was elected at the IPDC Council’s meeting in Paris on 21-22 of November, where Fojo’s Head of Policy and International Development, Lars Tallert, participated as the representative of Sweden.


The International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) is intended to contribute to sustainable development, democracy and good governance by strengthening the media, believing that media can contribute to increasing transparency, dialogue and accountability. This makes the IPDC Council one of the most important UN-bodies for policy discussions on freedom of the press and media development.

The Swedish presidency means that Sweden steps up its global role of promoting press freedom and media development. And even though far from all of the 39 countries represented in the Council are favoring free press, the Swedish presidency was strongly supported by all members. As Sweden is also the leading financer of UNESCO, this adds to increased possibilities to make a difference.

At the meeting in Paris, a special report on the safety of journalists and the danger of impunity was presented. The report shows that the majority of the killing of journalists in 2017 did not happen in conflict zones, but in peaceful areas. And the journalists killed were often carrying out investigative reporting on suspected corruption and abuse of power. This is of course a very worrying trend.

The report also reveals that women journalists are affected by sexual harassment, sexual violence and threats of violence to an increasing extent. The recent study by Fojo and other similar studies display that women journalists are particularly affected by online harassment.

This year, more than 4 billion people are connected to the Internet. Within a few years, more than 3 billion will interact on social media. UNESCO’s response to this development is a tool called the “Internet Universality Indicators”, that was adopted at the meeting. The Internet Universality Indicators can be used by governments, media and civil society to develop a better Internet according to the ROAM-principles, stating that the Internet should be:

  • Based on Human Rights (R)
  • Open (O)
  • Accessible to All (A)
  • And nurtured by multi-stakeholder participation (M)
Fojo Media Institute
Fojo is an independent institution at the non-profit public Linnaeus University, one of Sweden’s biggest universities. In this capacity, Fojo stands free from commercial and political interests, free to make independent decisions on how to serve journalism, freedom of expression and democracy. Fojo works to promote free, independent and professional journalism around the world.