Journalism education gets IPDC backing

The 39-member council of UNESCO’s IPDC has urged the Secretariat to seek increased partnerships and funding for journalism education, based on “the strong record of work to date”.
The acronym IPDC stands for the “International Programme for the Development of Communication”, which has served over 40 years as a mechanism to address challenges in media development.

The IPDC’s multi-part Decision, available here, “noted with interest” the Paris Declaration on the Freedom of Journalism Education. This was adopted in 2019 by 600 participants from more than 70 countries at the 2019 World Journalism Education Congress (WJEC) which was opened by UNESCO’s Director General Audrey Azoulay.

The IPDC’s council also urged that there be a series of “consultations with all relevant stakeholders on current challenges of journalism education”.

A background document prepared for the IPDC explained the achievements of UNESCO work on journalism education, including with the WJEC. This recognised the potential to build “on the momentum of UNESCO’s engagement with the 2019 World Journalism Education Congress”, in order to amplify the Organization’s work in 2021-2022.

The document continued: “Such a symbolic step would enable strong buy-in from journalism educators and trainers, creative partnerships, and high impact on journalism education”. It listed potential outputs such as new curricula being developed that could “be expected to cascade into improved news production, and thereby benefit the public through enhancing the supply quality and specialized journalism”.

In the wake of the Decision, UNESCO has begun talks with the WJEC about practical follow-up possibilities.

A further point in the IPDC Decision calls for “training trainers in order to amplify the use of UNESCO and other training materials as appropriate, which enable improved reporting on key subjects, and in line with IPDC priorities”. In addition, the secretariat is encouraged to develop “new training materials for journalism students and practitioners on key emerging issues, including aspects of quality, ethics and professionalism”.