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Coordinating media assistance and journalism support efforts in Sudan

Status: Open

Organisation: Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD)

Deadline: Ongoing

Location: Remote

In light of the ongoing crisis in Sudan GFMD has initiated a series of information-sharing and coordination meetings for media and media development actors inside and outside of the country.

Using the experiences and lessons learned from our Lebanese and Ukrainian coordination efforts, the GFMD secretariat invited affected members and partners across the region to an online meeting on April 28. Participants from media organisations working in Sudan were asked to share their knowledge about the immediate needs and priorities of their colleagues on the ground. Topics discussed included:

  • The need for information about relocation efforts by international organisations to be translated into Arabic and disseminated via local channels
  • Alternative, reliable methods of getting cash into the country
  • Identification and mapping of the need for PPE on the ground. Mental health resources need to be translated into Arabic
  • Phone lines are often down, and journalists don’t have enough credit to transmit reports to their newsrooms. Venturing outside to buy credit is too dangerous
  • Several GFMD members are exploring the possibility of creating safe hubs for co-working for journalists either within or outside of the country
  • Identification and mapping of media-in-exile relocating outside of Sudan
  • Emergency funding: Identifying fundraising efforts for media and media workers in Sudan. If possible, redirect funds for international media development organisations to local organisations on the ground.
  • A second meeting was held on May 11 with the participation of several international agency representatives and reiterated the importance of continued information sharing and coordination of ongoing efforts.

The secretariat is in regular contact with the Journalists in Distress network (JiD) to ensure that all stakeholders are informed of available assistance and to share information about journalists in need of their help.

On the basis of these information-sharing calls, the coordination group members will continue to:

  1. Map and identify key local organisations that can coordinate and help in providing support locally.
  2. Provide information about resources/funding that Sudan media/journalists are able to apply for. Provide this information in Arabic and share it with journalists. (Maybe organise a unified easy form to apply for support, if possible, in Arabic).
  3. Keep coordinating and sharing information.

Three more meetings took place at the behest of GFMD members working there and reiterated the importance of continued information sharing and coordination of ongoing efforts. Members of the coordination group include GFMD members active in Sudan, representatives of the JiD network, the Sudanese Journalists Syndicate, international agencies, including UNESCO and UNHCR, and representatives from a media freedom-focused group consisting of members of the diplomatic community.

A restricted-access mapping spreadsheet based on previous coordination efforts in Ukraine and a GFMD Members & Partners – Sudan email list has been created with the intent of sharing the needs and priorities of organisations on the ground as well as available resources from international support organisations. With help from a volunteer, GFMD’s emergency funding and crisis resources were translated into Arabic at the end of May and distributed to the group´s members for further dissemination in the Sudanese journalist community. Initially, the number of requests for relocation and evacuation of journalists was low. However, since journalist safety has become an increasingly pressing concern, leading to a rise in numbers over the last months. To address this issue, GFMD facilitated a connection between the JiD Secretariat and representatives of the Sudanese Journalists Syndicate and 3ayin Media in May. The purpose was to expedite the identification and vetting of individual journalists.

In October, GFMD attended the CFI Sudan Coordination Conference in Paris, where participants expressed interest in GFMD facilitating the development of a White Paper on long-term support for Sudanese journalism. We are currently in the process of inquiring with our members if they would be interested in contributing to the development of such a White Paper. At the same time, we are gathering needs assessments, research, and other materials that may contribute to or inform the White Paper.

If your organisation is active in Sudan or is able to provide support to journalists and media workers in conflict, and you would like to participate in GFMD’s coordination efforts, please contact Anne Marie Hammer at amhammer@gfmd.info.

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