Freedom of Opinion, Freedom of Expression and the Right to Information are basic human rights. The European Union (EU) considers these to be cornerstones of democracy in any society, and incorporates them in democracy support in the EU’s partner countries around the world.
On this basis, in January 2017 a partnership between DEVCO section B1 and a consortium consisting of Particip (Lead Company), Article19, Deutsche Welle Akademie, European Partnership for Democracy, Free Press Unlimited, and the Thomson Foundation established the Technical Assistance (TA) facility “Media and freedom of expression in the framework of EU democracy support”. Its main goal is to ensure that issues of freedom of expression, right to information and free media are incorporated in the EU Democracy Action Plans and the Human Rights and Democracy Country Strategies and are implemented as part of the democracy support. The activities will be implemented over 36 months.
Constantly seeking to adapt to changing political contexts and conditions in the global media sector, the main thematic focus of the TA will be the access to information, the online media and new technologies, the responses to changing media landscape, and the public service media. The EU Delegations and EU Member State missions’ staff, alongside broadly defined media actors in cooperation countries will be the two main target groups.
Although the TA is not limited to a specific geographical area, priority will be given to countries where EU Delegations have implemented the pilot exercise of the EU Agenda for Action on Democracy Support, namely Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Morocco, Tunisia, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Paraguay, Myanmar, East Timor, and Fiji. Yet, particular attention will also be addressed to countries where the Election Observation Missions from the EU and OSCE/ODIHR have found needs in the fields of media development, freedom of expression, and right to information.