Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General and Finnish Ambassador Antti Kuosmanen signed an agreement on January 30 according to which Finland will support UNESCO’s project to promote freedom of speech in Northern Africa and the Middle-East. The project, supported by Finland with 2.3 million euros, will be carried out in six countries: Egypt, Libya, Marocco, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen, in shorter periods throughout three years in 2013-2016.
Irina Bokova thanked Finland for the support and said it could not have happened at a better time. Countries involved in the Arab Spring are in need of this kind of support.
With this project, UNESCO helps the above-mentioned countries in renewing media traditions as well as media legislation.
The goal of the project is to ensure media representatives, journalists and bloggers, a safer working environment and to further develop their skills in relation to technology. Finland’s emphasis is particularly on the role of women and on every citizen’s right to information.
UNESCO’s responsibility within the United Nations is to encourage freedom of speech and ensure the safety of reporters. Finland is already a supporter of UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication. Its goal is to promote free communication in developing countries.