As the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) marks its 35th anniversary in 2022, we approach this year’s International Day of Democracy with gratitude and reflection. In light of this year’s UN-designated theme of media freedom, we celebrate and honor the work of independent journalists around the world.
To make good choices about their representatives, people need accurate information about what their government is doing, what candidates for office believe, what political parties stand for, and whether the government is using their authorities to advance the interests of society and its members – all of which are examined and debated in a free press. While there are many factors in ensuring an informed electorate – such as education and good digital literacy – without a free press, it is impossible to have a healthy democracy or free and fair elections. And as we grapple with the rise of dis- and misinformation, a free press is on the front lines in separating fact from fiction.
IFES is proud of our work supporting journalists around the world in developing their skills covering elections, integrating tech responsibly into their work, and maintaining their safety in difficult environments. IFES will continue to safeguard and advance the pillars of democracy, including a free press, through our creative partnerships, research, and work at the local level. Because in the end, democracy is not the work of a lone actor. It is only together that we can build resilient democracies that deliver for all. Happy International Day of Democracy!
- Tony Banbury, President & CEO
Did you know?
The IFES program Media Empowering Disability Inclusion and Access (MEDIA) includes a training curriculum and guidelines that address the impact media can have on building disability-inclusive societies. The guidelines provide practical knowledge about story angles, terminology and etiquette in writing about persons with disabilities in elections.
Journalists receive quick reference tools from the training, such as a guide to person-first language and story ideas on inclusive elections. When possible, IFES follows this training with a contest for the best photo or article. IFES has conducted trainings in Georgia, Fiji, Haiti, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Myanmar and Nepal.