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Director, division for freedom of expression, media development and media and information literacy

Overview of the functions of the post:

In just two decades, the ways in which people communicate and access and share information around the world have been completely transformed, especially due to the Internet and other technologies. This has greatly expanded opportunities for expression and participation in public debate, but has also led to an ongoing informational crisis where misinformation, hate speech and conspiracy theories abound, and independent journalism is facing financial ruin. This is coming at a time when freedom of expression is under attack in many quarters and journalists in particular are facing new and old threats in their quest to bring truth to light, with many paying the price of their lives. The risks for human rights, democracy and peace are grave.

The incumbent, under the direct supervision of the Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information (ADG/CI), is responsible for providing strategic vision, intellectual and operational leadership and resource mobilization for UNESCO’s global response to these challenges to ensure information can remain a common good in the digital age. They lead up the Division for Freedom of Expression, Media Development and Media and Information Literacy, within the UNESCO Communication and Information Sector, the mission of which is to implement the Organization’s global mandate within the UN system on freedom of expression, the safety of journalists and access to information within Member States. (The role of this vacant position does not include responsibility for UNESCO’s wider external communications, which is managed by the Division for Communications and Public Engagement.)

The incumbent is in charge of global programmes on the safety of journalists, press freedom, freedom of expression and the rule of law, as well as tackling current issues including hate speech and misinformation through the regulation of digital platforms, ensuring the viability and pluralism of independent media, and educating audiences through media and information literacy and digital skills. The incumbent also serves as Secretary of the Intergovernmental Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).

They do this in line with the Organization’s Medium-Term Strategy, Programme and Budget, and international development agenda, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the UN Action Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. As a key member of the Senior Management Team of the Sector, they advise ADG/CI on strategic, technical, operational, human resources and budgetary issues.

The incumbent exercises immediate supervision of the two Section Chiefs and one Unit Head and coordinates with the UNESCO Field Offices. They provide operational leadership to the Sections and Unit in the Division as well as the overall management of human and financial resources, planning and coordination of programmes and plans of action for the Division, including the mobilization of extrabudgetary resources and the establishment of partnerships, in line with the needs of the Regular Programme.

In particular, the incumbent will:

  • Provide intellectual, strategic and operational leadership for the Division, including the IPDC, in the pursuit of its main goals.
  • Be accountable for the management of, and technical leadership to, the Division’s activities.
  • Ensure coordination and liaison with the other Division of the Sector, i.e. the Division for Digital Inclusion and Policies and Digital Transformation, to promote cross-sectoral engagement, strategies and frameworks, by applying agile methods.
  • Execute leadership and overall management by:
    • Overseeing the development and implementation of the Division’s programme strategy, goals and objectives, including a result-based approach, in translating the approved mandate of the Division into an effective programme delivery plan to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in operations by: 
      • Providing support to capacity-building and policy development of Members States in the field of media and information literacy.
      • Promoting media pluralism and diversity, enhancing media policies, journalism education and support for community media.
      • Developing programmes on freedom of expression and the rule of law, the transparency of digital platforms and addressing hate speech and misinformation.
      • Developing standard-setting frameworks for freedom of expression and freedom of the press, including in the context of online environments and conflict and post-conflict areas.
      • Addressing the gender issue in and through the media, as well as media responses to terrorism, crisis and emergency situations and natural disasters.
      • Overseeing contributions to the relevant documents of the General Conference and the Executive Board, such as the Medium-Term Strategy (C/4) and the Programme and Budget (C/5).
      • Advising the ADG/CI on the follow-up to conferences and on all matters within the mandate and responsibilities of the Division.
      • Reporting on the activities of the Division and providing briefings and information as may be requested.
      • Participating in the analysis and evaluation of the activities of the Division.
  • Ensure resource mobilization, outreach and partnership development by:
    • Building alliances and strategic partnerships and overseeing resource mobilization by:
      • Ensuring primary responsibility for the Development of the Division’s partnership strategy, with the Sector’s wider approach, and interface with BSP in establishing and maintaining a high-level network of interlocutors, including governments, UN entities, companies, civil society, regional bodies, NGOs, opinion leaders, foundations and high net worth individuals.
      • Identifying and creating opportunities for resource mobilization and actively raising extrabudgetary funds to ensure maximum impact for the Division in line with its Medium-Term Strategy (C/4) and Programme and Budget (C/5).
      • Identifying, proposing and creating partnerships to enhance the Sections’/Unit’s work to achieve results and impact, giving guidance to CI Field Office colleagues.
      • Overseeing the preparation of sound proposals for fundraising, targeting a variety of potential donors.
      • Cultivating the international reputation and impact of the Division through a strong communication and outreach strategy.
  • Manage the Staff of the Division by:
    • Leading, managing and co-ordinating the activities, budget and staff of the Division in order to achieve the relevant expected results laid down in the Programme and Budget by:
      • Distributing budget and tasks within the Division.
      • Establishing internal guidelines and procedures.
      • Monitoring and evaluating the performance of the Division’s staff.
      • Ensuring the continuous training and development of staff.
  • Act as Secretary of the IPDC by:
    • Assisting the intergovernmental structure (Council/Bureau) in the completion of its tasks through networking, ensuring information flow and organizing statutory meetings.
    • Driving the outreach of the Programme through fostering contacts and joint projects with representatives of Member States, UNESCO’s intergovernmental bodies, civil society and the private sector.
    • Coordinating the implementation of the decisions of the Bureau and the Council including the administration of the IPDC Special Account.
  • Assume other duties upon request by:
    • Representing UNESCO in high-level internal and external meetings and conferences.
    • Replacing the ADG/CI occasionally.
    • Participating in senior management mechanisms established within the Communication and Information Sector and other structures of UNESCO.
  • Communication (Core)
  • Accountability (Core)
  • Innovation (Core)
  • Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (Core)
  • Planning and organizing (Core)
  • Results focus (Core)
  • Teamwork (Core)
  • Professionalism (Core)
  • Building partnerships (Managerial)
  • Driving and managing change (Managerial)
  • Leading and empowering others (Managerial)
  • Making quality decisions (Managerial)
  • Managing performance (Managerial)
  • Strategic thinking (Managerial)

For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework.

Required qualifications:


  • Advanced university degree (Master’s or equivalent) in communication and information, political sciences, international relations, or related areas.

Work Experience

  • A minimum of 15 years of relevant and progressively responsible professional experience in the field of partnerships and operational management, with a significant part of this period at an appropriate managerial level, of which preferably 10 years acquired at the international level.
  • At least 10 years of recognized experience in leadership and proven ability in planning and managing international projects or programmes.
  • Experience working on themes covered by the Communication and Information Sector, including freedom of expression and safety of journalists; universal access to information; media development and media and information literacy.
  • Relevant work experience with the United Nations, bilateral, international donors/agencies, non-governmental organizations, private sector companies and/or high net worth individuals.

Skills and Competencies

  • Knowledge of, and commitment to, the Organization’s mandate, vision, strategic direction and priorities.
  • A demonstrated knowledge of the current global information crisis and a clear vision of the response needed and the role for UNESCO within this.
  • Good knowledge of UNESCO’s programmes covered by the Communication and Information Sector, and in particular, freedom of expression, safety of journalists, media development, and media & information literacy and digital skills.
  • Analytical and organizational skills, including in establishing and implementing plans and priorities.
  • Demonstrated strategic planning and programme/project management abilities, including ability to identify key strategic issues, objectives, opportunities and risks; administer and manage significant financial and human resources; and exercise sound judgement and decision-making skills.
  • Proven ability to build collaborative partnerships and networks with diverse groups of organizations, including intergovernmental, public, civil society, private sector and high net worth individuals, particularly in the context of resource mobilization.
  • Capacity to provide leadership to guide and motivate staff, demonstrating a high sense of objectivity and professional integrity, as well as ability to build trust and to manage, lead and motivate a large and diverse body of staff in a multicultural environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity.
  • Ability to communicate effectively and persuasively, both orally and in writing, in front of a broad range of constituents with strong representational abilities.
  • Ability to engage in networking and to lead complex negotiations with diplomacy, tact and a sense of political astuteness.


  • Excellent knowledge of English or French and working knowledge of the other language.
Desirable qualifications:

Skills and Competencies

  • Good knowledge of the United Nations system.


  • Knowledge of other official languages of UNESCO (Arabic, Chinese, Russian and/or Spanish).
Benefits and entitlements:

UNESCO’s salaries consist of a basic salary and other benefits which may include if applicable: 30 days annual leave, family allowance, medical insurance, pension plan etc.

The approximate annual starting salary for this post is 152 484 US $.

For full information on benefits and entitlements, please consult our Guide to Staff Benefits.

UNESCO does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process.

To learn more and apply, please click here.

Status: Open

  • Employment

Organisation: Unesco

Deadline: 15/02/2023

Location: Paris, France


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