IRIN’s principal role is to provide news and analysis about sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia for the humanitarian community.
The networks target decision-makers in relief agencies, host and donor governments human-rights organisations, humanitarian advocacy groups, academic institutions and the media. At the same time, IRIN strives to ensure that affected communities can also access reliable information, so they can take informed decisions about their future.
IRIN (Integrated Regional Information Networks) is part of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, but its services are editorially independent. Its reports do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations and its agencies, nor its member states.
Based in Nairobi, Kenya, IRIN was founded in 1995 to improve the flow of vital information to those involved in relief efforts in the Great Lakes region following the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
IRIN’s area of geographical coverage has increased steadily since then. So too, have the range of subjects covered and the number of services offered.
The core news and analysis service is distributed free of charge to subscribers by e-mail, and via the website www.IRINnews.org. This is now complemented by a range of other multimedia services:
PlusNews, a specialist news and analysis service on HIV/AIDS.
IRIN Radio, which is helping to develop the programming of radio stations in Africa and Afghanistan.
IRIN Film & TV, which produces short documentary films on humanitarian issues and news footage for media.
IRIN Photo provides a public gallery of photographs relevant to humanitarian crises. Print-quality photos can be downloaded free of charge.
IRIN has a growing worldwide readership of millions through these services.
Most of IRIN’s output is in English, with a limited French service. PlusNews produces material in English, French and Portuguese. IRIN radio produces programmes on over a dozen languages. Plans for humanitarian news and analysis output in Arabic are well-advanced.
Areas covered by IRIN include parts of Asia, the Middle East and all of sub-Saharan Africa.
IRIN’s reporting is underpinned by rigorous editorial standards. Strict controls are employed to ensure that its reports are accurate, fair, carefully sourced and rich in perspective.
The regional desks in Nairobi, Johannesburg, Dakar and Dubai are staffed by experienced journalists, who travel frequently within the countries they cover to report directly from the humanitarian frontline.
Their research and writing is supplemented by news reports and features from an extended network of staff in sub-offices and freelance correspondents in the field. They give IRIN a permanent presence on the ground in every hot spot, and enable the networks to continue reporting directly from areas deemed too insecure for the UN’s international staff to visit.
Set up in 2003, the IRIN Analysis Unit examines key issues that often cut across national boundaries, by producing special in-depth reports and publications. Recently, these have examined issues such as water crises, transitional justice, small arms and youth in crisis.