|Type||Project of the United Nations|
The main purpose of this project of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is to create greater awareness and understanding of regional issues and events, and to contribute to better-informed and more effective humanitarian action, media coverage and advocacy.
It is widely used by the humanitarian aid community, academics and others who simply want to know what's happening in the world that doesn’t always make the headlines.
Editorial independence ensures impartial coverage, analysis and sourcing in news-rich Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East, providing a fresh perspective on the tapestry of people and events in these regions of the globe. Every IRIN article carries a disclaimer that it may not reflect the views of the UN.
Origin and development
IRIN came into being in 1995 after the Great Lakes refugee crisis resulting from the 1994 Rwandan Genocide overwhelmed the existing information management systems set up by the humanitarian aid community. With its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, it now covers 82 countries, including Papua New Guinea since 2008, for more than a million readers. IRIN has regional news desks in Nairobi, Johannesburg, Dakar, Dubai and Bangkok, with liaison offices in New York and Geneva. The agency is managed by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Its aim is to "strengthen universal access to timely, strategic, and non-partisan information so as to enhance the capacity of humanitarian community to understand, respond to, and avert emergencies."
The main users of IRIN news are people working in the humanitarian aid community, followed by academics, consultants, government officials and other media – newspapers and other print publications, websites, radio stations and television broadcasters - where other readers often pick up IRIN content.
Humanitarian news and analysis
There is also a range of multi-media services:
- PlusNews, a specialised HIV/AIDS news service
- IRIN Radio, which helps local radio stations develop content for communities in Africa and Afghanistan
- IRIN Film, which produces news footage for international media and short documentary films for advocacy
- IRIN Photogallery makes images available free of charge
- IRIN In-depth reports have covered sexual violence in conflict areas, refugee repatriation, landmines and the humanitarian fallout of climate change and the global food crisis.
IRIN covers the following countries:
AFRICA: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Western Sahara, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
ASIA: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam.
MIDDLE EAST: Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, OPT, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.
HIV/AIDS is a significant factor in many humanitarian crises. In 2001 IRIN created PlusNews, which has a specialised focus on people living with HIV and AIDS. The service has gradually expanded coverage to all of the IRIN countries. In 2004 a French version, PlusNews Français, was set up for West and Central Africa, and PlusNews Portuguese</ref>plusnews.org</ref> was launched in 2006. PlusNews now also provides news in Arabic. The service has become one of the largest providers of original HIV and AIDS reporting.
In many countries with humanitarian emergencies much of the population is in remote rural areas, and even those in cities are often too poor to afford a television or newspaper. Radio is the most efficient way of reaching the largest number of people.
IRIN Radio, set up in 2000 to work with local radio stations and enhance their reporting skills, produces audio programmes with partner radio stations and now operates only in Somalia.
Film and TV service
In 2003 IRIN created a short film on the impact of the Lord's Resistance Army in northern Uganda. Other films have covered female genital mutilation, the 2004 West Africa locust swarm, opium cultivation in Afghanistan and the humanitarian impact of climate change. Key media networks that have recently used footage include CNN, CBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, TV5, BBC and SABC.
Watch IRIN Documentaries Online.
IRIN has made its photo library of still images from humanitarian crises all over the world available for free online, in support of humanitarian advocacy.
When IRIN was established in 1995, the organisation depended heavily on e-mail communication. The online service is still supported by an email service and over 30,000 readers depend on personalised e-mail for delivery of IRIN's content.
The major funders of IRIN are the international aid agencies of Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Qatar, South Africa, Sweden and Switzerland, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and International Humanitarian City (IHC) in Dubai.
- "About IRIN: UN humanitarian news and analysis network launches Arabic service". Reuters. alertnet.org. July 24, 2007.
- Europa Publications Limited. Africa South of the Sahara 2004. Routledge. p. 1035
- Day, Peter; Schuler, Douglas (2004). Community practice in the network society: local action/global interaction. Routledge. p. 33.
- Ramcharan, B. G. (2008). Preventive diplomacy at the UN. Indiana University Press. p. 164.