Report of the Supervisory Board

The Supervisory Board of Free Press Unlimited operates remotely. This gives the Board of Directors space to actually direct the organisation and support independent media financially and strategically. Where necessary, the Supervisory Board provides counsel when asked and gives unsolicited advice. In 2018, the Supervisory Board convened three times.

In the area of finance, there is more direct interaction between the directors and the financial expert from the Supervisory Board through the audit committee. The committee reports directly to the supervisory board and was consistently positive throughout 2018.

The remuneration committee, consisting of the chairman of the Supervisory Board and Corine de Vries, held appraisal and performance reviews with the two directors. The conclusion of the conversations was that the two board members functioned excellently, both individually and together as a board.

The Supervisory Board – and especially the member appointed by the works council – also spoke with representatives from this council. These discussions were seen as fruitful and gave the Supervisory Board additional insight into the functioning of Free Press Unlimited. The Supervisory Board believes the establishment of a works council was a good decision and that there is a good relationship between the council and the Board of Directors.

Despite the good news, 2018 also brought worries. These concerns centred on Radio Dabanga and Radio Tamazuj and were mostly due to financial reasons. Recent developments in Sudan, where Radio Dabanga broadcasts, underline the importance of independent media once again: since early December there have been continuous demonstrations, human rights are still being violated and it appears to be very difficult to end the country’s war. Now more than ever there is a need for independent radio that is freely accessible and the reporting of which can positively influence the national debate. The Supervisory Board did decide that both Radio Dabanga and Radio Tamazuj, which broadcasts in South Sudan, have to become independent in order to decrease liability. The supervisory board would like to see Radio Dabanga and Radio Tamazuj stand on their own two feet and continue their work that way.

Unfortunately Free Press Unlimited received critical press coverage on two occasions in the past year: in January 2018 on the website of De Correspondent and in October in VillaMedia. The Supervisory Board was able to assist the Board of Directors with advice and practical measures.

There are also good developments. Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stef Blok, freed up €1.45 million to provide legal assistance to journalists in emergency situations. The minister allocated the funds for Free Press Unlimited’s programme Safety for media professionals. Free Press Unlimited has long advocated for such a fund and welcomes the ministry’s decision.

Joop Daalmeijer – Chairman Supervisory Board Free Press Unlimited.