The United Nations cultural agency has provided more than $1 million to dozens of media projects in developing countries this week, with a view to helping promote the acceptance of free, pluralistic media.
The eight-member Bureau of a UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) communications development programme met early this week and voted to give $500,000 to broadcasters in the tsunami-devastated Indonesian province of Aceh to get their stations back up and running.
Seventeen other projects in Asia and the Pacific, besides the grant to Indonesia, received $293,000 from UNESCO's International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) from funds provided by voluntary donors.
A total of $308,000 from IPDC would go to 17 projects in Latin America and the Caribbean, including $45,000 for establishing community multimedia centres in Haiti and Grenada.
The IPDC granted $120,000 to six Arab media projects, including three Palestinian ones. An unspecified additional amount would go to five other Arab projects from "eventual funds-in-trust financing."
Thirteen regional and national projects in Africa would receive $319,000, three of those being efforts to monitor press freedom and freedom of expression.
The IPDC comprises an Intergovernmental Council of 39 Member States, elected by UNESCO's General Conference and scheduled to meet every two years, and a Bureau of eight Member States nominated by the Council. The Bureau meets annually to appraise proposals and allocate funding for media projects.
Last year the IPDC's Bureau granted $1.84 million to 66 projects.
Since its establishment in 1980, the Programme has supported over 1,000 projects in 137 countries.