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Source: European Union (EU)
25 July 2007


Ramallah
25 July 2007

European Union launches € 850,000 programme to support Palestinian journalists

A ceremony was held today in Ramallah to mark the launch of an €850,000 project to provide support and training for 220 Palestinian media professionals over the next two years. The project, which is funded by the European Commission (80%) and the Dutch government (20%), will be implemented by the BBC World Service Trust, in partnership with the International Federation of Journalists and the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Speaking at the launch, Mr Roy Dickinson, Head of Cooperation at the European Commission's Technical Assistance Office for the West Bank and Gaza, said "Palestinian journalists recently demonstrated courageous solidarity with one European journalist, and so it's a great pleasure for the European Union, through this project, to be able to demonstrate our solidarity with Palestinian journalists." Mr. Frans Makken, Head of Mission at the Dutch Representative office to the Palestinian Authority, added "Transparency and democracy go hand in hand; hence objective journalism is key to the democratic process in the Palestinian Territories. The importance of this training project for journalists therefore can not be overstated."

The objective of the project is to help increase the level of networking and dialogue between media professionals in the West Bank and Gaza strip, at a time when journalists often face difficulties in reporting objectively and safely from the ground. The project will involve some 220 media professionals and will work closely with the Palestine Journalist's Syndicate. The project’s activities will lead to increased cooperation and mutual support between journalists, an agreed understanding of the role of the journalist and media in a democratic society and the role an effective journalism association can play, and an agreed set of recommendations for effective sector support structures, coordination and self-regulation.

Simon Derry, Regional Director for the BBC World Service Trust, said at the launch that "The BBC is delighted to carryout this initiative in cooperation with the International Federation for Journalists and UNESCO, working closely with Palestinian journalists on the ground.

Through this project, funded by the EU and the Dutch government, over the next two years the BBC will engage with media practitioners to provide them with the skills and professional capacity necessary to produce interactive programming that cover key social and political issues of concern to the public; increase levels of networking and dialogue among journalists; and particularly with the IFJ we will work to secure agreement with all stakeholders on recommendations for the future of an effective and independent professional association for the industry.

I am really excited by this project and I hope we will be able to work with Palestinian professionals from across all media to make it a great success."

Oliver Money-Kyrle, Director of the Projects Department of the International Federation of Journalists, added that "We believe this project provides an excellent opportunity for Palestinian journalists to help strengthen and build an effective, independent and representative journalists' union, essential for defending their rights and interests."

The European Commission contribution to the project (€679.797) is provided through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR). The EIDHR is a European Union programme that aims to promote and support human rights and democracy worldwide.


For further information, please contact:
Alix de Mauny
Press and Information Manager
European Commission
{ HYPERLINK "mailto:Alix.de-mauny@ec.europa.eu" }
054 749 8678


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