* Any views expressed in this opinion piece are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
London (May 16, 2016) – The Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charity arm of the world’s largest news and information provider, today launched Place (Property, Land, Access, Connections, Empowerment), an innovative platform to boost coverage of land and property rights, one of the most under-reported issues worldwide. The new platform has been developed with support from Omidyar Network, the philanthropic investment firm founded by Pierre and Pam Omidyar.
Insecurity of land tenure and property rights is a major cause of global poverty and inequality and is strongly linked to the realisation of many development goals, including food security, economic empowerment of women, and climate change mitigation. Place aims to generate and curate trusted news and information on these issues, highlighting some of the complex dynamics related to property rights with the aim of making the subject accessible to a broader audience.
Place creates the world’s first global news team dedicated to coverage of land and property rights, and the launch of a new digital platform, featuring original articles, information, analysis and opinion pieces. The Thomson Reuters Foundation team will do reporting and will select and aggregate content, ensuring the site both informs and triggers debate.
“The lack of ownership or tenure is one of the world’s most silent crises and one with dramatic ramifications. The denial of such basic rights leads to exploitation and financial instability; it can destroy livelihoods, create inequality and even foment conflict. It particularly affects women who are not allowed to own or even inherit land in many countries,” says Monique Villa, Chief Executive Officer of the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “Through the generous support of Omidyar Network, our news will play a significant role in starting a global conversation on the subject.”
“The lack of property rights is not just a concern for developing countries,” says Peter Rabley, Director of the Property Rights initiative of Omidyar Network. “It poses a threat to global security by putting food supplies at risk, fuelling violence in ever-growing slums in major cities, reducing opportunity and economic empowerment, and increasing pressure on the environment. The issues linked to property rights are a concern for everyone, and this innovative project with the Thomson Reuters Foundation aims to address these issues by bringing them into the public domain and sparking a global discussion.”
Thomson Reuters Foundation journalists and videographers in Africa, India, Brazil and Britain will work with over 100 freelancers to produce daily news addressing issues such as the lack of land rights and its consequences, corruption, land appropriation, food security and human rights abuses. The team will also produce interviews with frontline thought leaders and compelling micro-documentaries to engage viewers through visually striking investigative stories.
The journalists are part of the larger editorial team at the Thomson Reuters Foundation, will report to Belinda Goldsmith, editor-in-chief, and will benefit from editorial guidance, mentorship, facilities and a global distribution network reaching an estimated audience of one billion readers a day.
Content generated by the team will be featured on news.trust.org, the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s website, and on place.trust.org, the new platform dedicated to land and property rights.
For more information on the project visit place.trust.org
About the Thomson Reuters Foundation
The Thomson Reuters Foundation acts to promote socio-economic progress and the rule of law worldwide. The organisation runs initiatives that inform, connect and ultimately empower people around the world: access to free legal assistance, media development and training, editorial coverage of the world’s under-reported stories, and the Trust Women conference.
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