The Panos Network is a grouping of six autonomous regional Institutes.

  • Committed to a world where communities build open, democratic and sustainable societies aimed at social justice, within and between countries, with free and diversified information and communication flows, including an independent and plural media,
  • with a shared mission, to ensure that information and communication are effectively used to foster public debate, pluralism and democracy within and between countries,
  • working with media and other information actors to enable people and communities to shape and communicate their own development agendas,
  • amplifying the voices of the vulnerable, marginalised and excluded people.

The Panos Network and its member Institutes contribute to sustainable development and democracy - at local, national and international levels - through the strengthening of media, information and communication processes and partnerships. They share the belief that:

  • The people most affected by global change – often the most marginalised societies and the most marginalised peoples within societies – should help shape and respond to such change.
  • Freedom and pluralism of information within societies are essential preconditions of sustainable development. A plural media and a plural civil society are vital information multipliers, and critical in ensuring genuinely democratic public debate.
  • Information is central to change, and people need and have a right of access to understandable, relevant and unbiased information so that they may play an informed and active role as citizens in democratic societies.
  • Informed inclusive public debate is an essential ingredient in the effective functioning of democratic societies.
  • People have a right to information that enables them to make their own minds up about issues according to their own circumstances, values, cultures and beliefs, and information must therefore include a range of perspectives from different sides in debates.
  • The process of producing and disseminating information (such as who produces it and who owns it) is often as important as the information itself, and analysis and reporting on issues should principally originate from people affected by those issues.

The current strategy of the Panos Network is based on three complementary goals:

  • Bridge the communication divide, in order to increase the access to information of vulnerable, marginalized and excluded people and to strengthen their voices to participate in and influence the development agenda at all levels;
  • create favourable conditions for policy debate and change on the basis of accurate, balanced and inclusive information;
  • build an innovative and effective global Network based on the principles of fairness, equity and respect for diversity.

On the basis of a strategic review conducted in 2013, followed by an internal assessment of strengths and weaknesses and an evaluation of priorities and opportunities, the Panos Network has decided to launch four pilot initiatives that build on the work of and methodologies employed by member Institutes, and that address critical development and social issues that are at present insufficiently covered and debated:

  • Homophobia and associated rights and diversity issues. Many people suffer discrimination and violence because of their sexual orientation, and communication can play a significant role in helping communities and societies to debate these issues and combat injustice.
  • Cultural innovation and popular forms of artistic expression for social change. All over the world, cultural innovators, especially younger artists, have developed entirely new ways of expressing and communicating social, political or environmental issues, and these voices should be respected and amplified.
  • Post-conflict situations and transitional justice. As countries and societies move from armed conflicts or repressive regimes, there is a need for a careful and progressive restoration of accountability and trust, for recognition of the rights of victims, and for introducing or restoring the rule of law. The media can support and strengthen this approach through information and debate.
  • Climate justice. Environmental change – and especially climate change – typically impact more drastically on poor and vulnerable people, communities and countries. Affected people must be given the opportunity to express their concerns and to be part of designing and implementing solutions that are fair, equitable and sustainable.

In addition to these new, joint pilot initiatives, each Panos Institute implements its own programmes, based on areas of interest and expertise, and on regional and global priorities and opportunities. Most Institutes have formulated strategic plans that provide direction for their respective programmes and organisational development. 

The six Panos Institutes currently comprising the Panos Network are located and have development activities in four continents (Africa, the Americas, Europe and Asia). The Panos Network works in both developed and developing countries. Institutes work in their own regions and are free to work elsewhere, guided by the Panos Network’s commitment to mutual cooperation and synergy and utilising an agreed regionalisation policy and Code of Conduct. They focus on the commonalities between and within societies.

Member Institutes work with a wide range of partners at local, national, regional and global levels. Panos projects and programmes are sometimes designed and implemented with other actors, to optimise the use of resources and amplify impacts. The ambition of the Network is to become the ‘partner of choice’ of a growing number of stakeholders (local beneficiaries, donors, operational partners, development agencies, NGOs, governments and national and international organisations).

The Panos Network has a strong and functional governance structure, and has adopted rules of conduct and procedure that govern and oversee its work. The highest organ of governance is the Panos Council, which includes two representatives from each member Institute.

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