Safety of journalists

Press freedom and the space for independent media are under threat, as stipulated in various UN resolutions addressing journalist safety. UN Sectary-General Guterres stated that ‘civic space has been shrinking worldwide at an alarming rate. And with anti-media rhetoric on the rise, so too are violence and harassment against journalists, including women … When media workers are targeted, societies as a whole pay a price.’  Governments practise legal intimidation and censorship of dissenting voices, also in the digital space. Criminal gangs threaten those who report on corruption. The result is that journalists exercise self-censorship, leave the profession, disappear into exile or stay silent. This is a deliberate attack on civic space that requires a cross-cutting approach to safety of journalists.

This Safety Resource Space is the place to find information on the safety of journalists. It includes information on Free Press Unlimited’s safety-related activities, background information on the safety of journalists, practical resources, and best practices and examples of successful projects and approaches.

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Latest updates
New online course: Know Your Trolls
The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) created a course on online harassment for Totem, helping journalists to identify and prepare for online harassment, abuse and threats.

Safe and responsible reporting on COVID-19
This post provides an overview of resources, funds, grants, webinars and courses related to reporting in times of COVID-19.


Introduction to safety

Free Press Unlimited believes that a safe work environment is a basic need for independent media. It is imperative that journalists carry out their work free from violence and free from obstruction. A commitment to safety cuts across all of Free Press Unlimited’s activities.

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Dimensions of safety

Free Press Unlimited believes that safety should be approached as a comprehensive concept that has physical, psycho-social, digital and legal dimensions. As these dimensions of safety impact on each other, it is important to adopt an inclusive approach, that also takes gender into account.

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Four pillars of safety

Free Press Unlimited directs its efforts to address safety along four different pillars, being support to journalists in distress, capacity development, tools and resources, and advocacy and campaigning.

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International instruments

Free Press Unlimited’s work on the safety of journalists builds upon a number of key international instruments, which reflect international commitments to further the safety of journalists.

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Networks and coalitions

Free Press Unlimited works together with other like-minded organisations in a number of international networks and coalitions in order to contribute towards journalist safety, both locally and internationally.

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Evidence base: Safety of journalists

Found 25 Results | Page 1 of 3
Source Year Country Author Type
‘This can save our lives’: safety training for El Salvador’s local journalists 2019 El Salvador Free Press Unlimited story/stories
Nicaragua: psychological support for Confidencial’s journalists 2019 Nicaragua Free Press Unlimited story/stories
Righting Gender Wrongs: A Study of Law Enforcement Responses to Online Violence Against Women 2018 India IT for Change research report
For investigative journalists in Indonesia ‘the threats are real’ 2019 Indonesia Free Press Unlimited story/stories
Online safety for female journalists in Pakistan 2018 Pakistan Free Press Unlimited story/stories
Tracker registers violence against journalists in Nigeria 2017 Nigeria Free Press Unlimited story/stories
Safety of Journalists and the Fighting of Corruption in the EU 2020 Denmark, Europe, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden McGonagle, T. et al. policy recommendations, research report
Combating Violence against Women Journalists Global report
Een onveilig klimaat – onderzoek bedreigingen van vrouwelijke journalisten (research to threats of female journalists) 2019 Netherlands Dr. M.W.A. Odekerken & L.E. Das, MA briefing
The Fight Against Impunity 2019 Global Free Press Unlimited evaluation
Targeting the Messenger: Journalists Ensnared by National Security Legislation 2019 Europe Mapping Media Freedom report
Intensified Attacks, New Defences: Developments in the Fight to Protect Journalists and End Impunity 2019 Global UNESCO report