Evaluation freedom of speech in Eastern Europe

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The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and specifically the Department for Europe and Latin America (Eurolatin) ordered a review and evaluation of three of Sida’s programs. The partner organisations have ongoing agreements within Sweden´s strategy for reform cooperation with Eastern Europe, the Western Balkans and Turkey for the period 2014–2020 and Sida wanted to evaluate the support within the portfolio of democracy and human rights and with specific focus on freedom of speech in Eastern Europe.

The projects included in the evaluation were
• The media institute FOJO
"Strengthening Free, Independent, Professional Media in Central and Eastern Europe”, 2017-2021.The projects seeks improved access to independent and balanced information in the Central and Eastern European region, as well as to supporting democracy, transparency and accountability. The specific aim of the operation is to "support the establishment of strategic alliances between non-state media actors in the region and strengthen their resilience so that they can continue to offer quality journalism as an alternative to disinformation".

“Investigative Journalism and Independent Media to Advance Accountability and Development", 2018-2022. Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania and Serbia as well as Turkey. The intervention aims at maximizing investigative journalism and the role of independent media as a trusted source of actionable information, to press for transparency and accountability, combat organized crime and corruption, and protect the rule of law and fundamental human rights.

• Internews
"Advancing Communications Creating Enhanced Secured Systems 2018-2021”, The project addresses challenges related to digital security in the media sector and among civil society actors in some of the Eastern Partnership countries and Turkey, as well as the lack of "audience research"

The primary intended users of the evaluation were Sida’s Unit for Eastern Europe, local embassies and the project management teams at the partner organisations.

The purpose or intended use of the evaluation was to help Sida assess progress, of three on-going programs and hence the organisations capacity to deliver good programs. The evaluation also reviewed whether the programs complement each other and pointed out overlaps.The objective of this evaluation was to evaluate the relevance, effectiveness and impact of the listed programs in regard to each other and formulate recommendations for future support under a new strategy.

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