World Association of News Publishers

Sweden and WAN-IFRA Announce Strategic Partnership

Sweden and WAN-IFRA Announce Strategic Partnership

Paris, France, and Darmstadt, Germany, 21 October – 2009-10-21

The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) today announced an ambitious strategic partnership to advance media development and press freedom worldwide.

The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) today announced an ambitious strategic partnership to advance media development and press freedom worldwide.

The agreement, which represents Sida’s first major partnership with a private sector organisation, will take advantage of WAN-IFRA’s unique position, knowledge and expertise as the global association of the world’s news publishing industry, in the defence and promotion of press freedom, quality journalism, editorial integrity and the development of prosperous businesses and technology.

The partnership will create and test new tools and methodologies for effective media development strategies to promote democracy and freedom of expression.

Among the activities are:

-  Intensive programmes in developing countries to help ensure the financial sustainability of local media. The work in these countries, yet to be designated, will include the development of business strategies for independent media in fragile situations and under authoritarian regimes; engaging with other media support organisations to achieve a systematic approach to media development; and “twinning” arrangements between executives in Swedish media houses and their peers in partner countries.

-  Methodology and policy development, including helping to determine where to support press freedom and access to information in a converging media landscape; assisting in the development of social investment programmes through assessment and advice; and providing advice on media support and strategies for donor organisations.

-  Support for initiatives that focus on female leadership in the media, with the strengthening of the management capacities of female newspaper executives in selected countries in Africa. This work will include an exchange programme between women executives at Swedish newspapers and their peers at African newspapers.

-  Campaigns to promote press freedom and freedom of expression worldwide, with the aim of raising international public awareness about critical press freedom issues. This will include monitoring press freedom by tracking persecutions, imprisonments and killings of journalists as well as censorship, suspension and banning of newspapers and other media.

-  Responding to attacks on press freedom and on journalists with quick impact projects in acute situations, as well as more predictable and pre-planned interventions in areas of strategic relevance.

“For Sida, the collaboration with WAN-IFRA represents a new strategic approach, in cooperation with the private sector, in the promotion of democracy and freedom of expression, “ said Anders Nordström, the Sida General Director. “Strengthening the management and economic independence of the media sector is of vital importance for domestic accountability. Only true independence can safeguard the media’s watchdog function.”

Timothy Balding, the Co-CEO of WAN-IFRA, said: “Sida is known world-wide for its profound commitment to freedom of the press as a fundamental condition of good governance, democracy and development. We believe that this partnership will bring a new impetus and effectiveness to our joint media development initiatives, which are designed to help build financially healthy media enterprises as an essential condition for the existence of a free press. Sweden and its media industry have long been among the world’s staunchest defenders of press freedom, and SIDA’s commitment to developing free and independent media reflects the country’s strong dedication to democratic ideals.”

WAN-IFRA, based in Paris, France, and Darmstadt, Germany, with subsidiaries in Singapore, India, Spain, France and Sweden, is the global organisation of the world’s newspapers and news publishers. It represents more than 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries. The organisation was created by the merger of the World Association of Newspapers and IFRA, the research and service organisation for the news publishing industry.

Inquiries to: Larry Kilman, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, WAN-IFRA, 7 rue Geoffroy St Hilaire, 75005 Paris France. Tel: +33 1 47 42 85 00. Fax: +33 1 47 42 49 48. Mobile: +33 6 10 28 97 36. E-mail:

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