On Press Freedom Day, UN and Guinea-Bissau journalists' union call for media support in the face of the pandemic
In a statement, disseminated through Guinea-Bissau radios, the president of SINJOTECS, Indira Correia Baldé congratulates colleagues for their work during the pandemic, taking great risks, which he describes as “an act of courage and a demonstration of responsibility who deserves my joy as a representative of the class.”.
“In the past two years the work of journalists in Guinea-Bissau has been marked by episodes that injure Press Freedom, based on verbal attacks, insults on social media, intimidation and physical aggression. These factors are compounded by the poor financial conditions of the Media, which translates in a clear dependence of journalists from political and economic power”, warned the president of SINJOTECS.
"To overcome this challenge, the State must create conditions to build a true business model for the Social Communication sector based on the criteria of public service and included it in the general state budget", proposes Indira Correia Baldé. Recently, the Secretary of State for Social Communication allocated funds to journalists in Guinea-Bissau for their protection during the pandemic.
In its statement, SINJOTECS joins the International Federation of Journalists and the organization Reporters Without Borders, which alerted the UN to a 'wave of press freedom violations', and echoes the words of the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Press that also stated in a statement that "the criminalization of journalism must end."
SINJOTECS also reverberated the words of the UN Secretary-General, who recalled that "Journalists and media professionals are crucial to helping us make informed decisions." “As the world fights the COVID-19 pandemic, these decisions can make the difference between life and death.”, Stressed Guterres in his video message to mark World Press Freedom Day under the theme “Journalism without fear or favor”.
Guterres called on governments - and society as a whole - to ensure that journalists can do their job during the COVID-19 pandemic. The heads of the UN and UNESCO also warned about the wave of rumors that took over the planet during the crisis - classified as "infodemia".
SINJOTECS is one of the implementing partners in a 800,000 dollars’ worth Project to support the media sector in Guinea-Bissau - “Boosting the media sector for greater peace and stability in Guinea-Bissau” - financed by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund united and implemented by UNIOGBIS and UNDP.
Among other activities, the project supported the creation of the first professional journalism course at the School of Arts and Crafts of Quelele in Bissau where it helped to build and equip a multimedia center; supported a women’s radio - Radio Mulher de Bafata; promoted investigative journalism through grants; and the creation of a Consortium of Media for Innovation which manages the multimedia center and provides support and equipment to the networks of journalists - Sinjotecs, Order of Journalists, community radio network and network of women journalists.
The Project has also supported the work of Fact Checking teams, both for the elections and during the COVID-19 pandemic and provided technical support for the review of the legal and regulatory framework of the media sector.