Which results did we achieve in 2016? Did we help journalists to protect themselves and their sources more effectively? Do people in conflict areas currently have better access to reliable information? And have we succeeded in training more female journalists? Allow us to give you a look behind the scenes through the following ten stories. Feel free to browse the world map for other projects and stories about our work.
It may not sound exciting, but it’s important nonetheless
Another thing we wish to emphasise: at Free Press Unlimited, we do our utmost to structurally improve conditions for freedom of speech. We hope to change legislation and regulations relating to press freedom, so that journalists around the world can do their work freely and safely. We are ‘in it for the long haul’ – which is why we are patiently lobbying, both in the Netherlands and internationally, and building a broad-based opposition against legislation that restricts freedom of the press and freedom of speech. Doesn’t sound very exciting? Perhaps. But this kind of work is crucial nevertheless if you want to help provide objective, unbiased information to people all over the world – from the Netherlands to Morocco, and from Syria to South Sudan. And we often work together with other parties, from our local partners to international organisations such as Amnesty International and Article 19.
In the Netherlands and Europe too, we regularly contribute to discussions regarding policies that threaten press freedom and/or freedom of speech. In 2016, we strongly opposed the plan to set up a broad data trawl within the Netherlands’ new Intelligence and Security Services Act (Wet op de Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdiensten, Wiv). And together with other organisations and our supporters, we called on the EU to refrain from curtailing free access to the internet. This would only benefit a number of major telecom corporations that want to stretch the boundaries of net-neutrality (i.e. give priority to paid services on the digital highway).
We also protested against the sentencing of the Luxleaks whistleblowers. And together with 170 other organisations and companies around the world, we called on government leaders to support the encryption of digital data transfers. Without this encryption, journalists won’t be able to do their job effectively, and whistle-blowers will be very wary about posting their information on platforms like GlobaLeaks. Our recent influencing efforts were strengthened by the fact that for the past two years, Free Press Unlimited has supplied the Chair for the inter-organisational consultation platform Breed Mensenrechten Overleg. Likewise, we also supplied the Chair of the Global Forum for Media Development (until October 2016) and the Chair of the Council of the International Programme for Development of Communication (IPDC).
We are proud that in late 2016, our programme coordinator Albana Shala was invited to serve a second term as the Chair of the Council of UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC). Such a second term is quite uncommon, but Albana has learned to expect the unexpected: two years ago, she was already the first woman to be elected to this position.
Our five themes
In late 2015, Free Press Unlimited determined which five themes we and our partners believe are crucial to our joint activities. All our projects and programmes can be assigned to one of these distinct themes:
We believe that two of these themes are so crucial for our mission that they are inextricably bound up with each of our activities. Because what would universal access to information amount to, if half the world population (women) is treated as second-rate? And how can journalists continue to inform the public if they are in constant fear of their safety? These two basic themes are consequently given a place in virtually every project we undertake.