Russia’s Foreign Ministry said that it will provide $1 million over the next five years to an international programme that encourages free media in poor nations.
The investment comes amid accusations that Russia is suffocating domestic dissent in the run-up to this fall’s parliamentary elections by blacklisting independent news sites and raiding and detaining journalists more frequently.
The funding will be used to support UNESCO’s International Program for the Development of Communication (IPDC) in Africa, Latin America, Asia, and post-Soviet countries at a rate of $250,000 each year from 2022 to 2025, according to a statement released by the Foreign Ministry on Thursday.
Increased journalistic safety in violent conflict zones, improved journalism education and professional ethics, and combatting disinformation and ‘fake news,’ especially concerning the coronavirus epidemic, are among the important areas of focus, according to the ministry.
IPDC is defined as the UN’s “sole intergovernmental forum focused on defending the freedom of expression and supporting independent media in developing countries.”
In 1984, the United States withdrew from UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, citing corruption and gross inefficiency. In 2003, the United States rejoined the organisation. Leading Russian media and journalistic associations are expected to participate in the implementation of certain initiatives.