‘It’s a great honour and very prestigious that the University of Gothenburg has gained a UNESCO Chair focusing on freedom of expression and media, something that is well in line with our vision to give emphasis to issues concerning freedom of expression and democracy,’ says Pam Fredman, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Gothenburg.

The UNESCO Chairs programme was introduced in 1992 to promote research and higher education between different countries’ universities in areas prioritised by UNESCO. The four-year appointment will enable Carlsson to focus on knowledge development within the field both in Sweden and internationally. She will also disseminate the new knowledge in the scholarly community and create meeting places between research, politics and practice.

‘Freedom of expression is a complex and difficult concept, and it is also one of the most politicised issues in today’s international arena. In order to achieve real results, the knowledge development and cooperation must be carried out in fertile contexts – this is not least a matter of democracy and human rights. This is the framework I’m going to work within,’ she says.

Carlsson sees both opportunities and challenges in the UNESCO Chair. It is meant to help prevent restrictions of freedom of expression – restrictions that in turn limit people’s human rights. This challenge cannot be successfully met without continuous knowledge about the situation in different parts of the world.

‘The objective is to contribute to a function that is independent of partisan interests and that regularly follows and reports on the freedom of media from a global perspective. The Nordic region is probably the only place in the world where such a function could gain legitimacy at the same time as it gives a real contribution to the development of democracy in the world,’ says Carlsson.

The Chair is based at the Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG), Faculty of Social Sciences. Carlsson will be succeeded at Nordicom by Ingela Wadbring, currently Professor of Media and Communication Studies at Mid Sweden University in Sundsvall. Wadbring will assume the directorship on 1 February 2015.

More information about the UNESCO Chairs
There are currently over 760 UNESCO Chairs at more than 850 academic institutions in 134 countries around the world. Ulla Carlsson is Sweden’s seventh holder of a UNESCO Chair. Since 2008, the University of Gothenburg has had a UNESCO Chair in Early Childhood Education and Sustainable Development (Ingrid Pramling Samuelsson).

For more information please contact:
Ulla Carlsson, tel. +46 (0)31 786 12 19, e-mail: ulla.carlsson@nordicom.gu.se