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 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 12 Results | Page 1 of 1
Source Year Country Author Type
Targeting the Messenger: Journalists Ensnared by National Security Legislation 2019 Europe Alessio Perrone (Index on Censorship) report
The Holistic Security Manual Worldwide Tactical Tech Manual
Intensified Attacks, New Defences: Developments in the Fight to Protect Journalists and End Impunity 2019 Worldwide UNESCO report
Fear, Trauma and Local Journalists: Cross-border Lessons in Psychosocial Support for Journalists 2019 Latin America, MENA, South and Southeast Asia Michelle Betz & Paul Beighley (International Media Support) report
Newsroom Best Practices for Addressing Online Violence Against Journalists 2019 Finland, Germany, Poland, United Kingdom International Press Institute report
Legal Responses to Online Harassment and Abuse of Journalists: Perspectives from Finland, France and Ireland 2019 Finland, France, Ireland OSCE - Office of the Representative on Freedom of the Media & International Press Institute report
Online Harassment of Journalists: Attacks of the Trolls 2018 Worldwide Reporters Without Borders report
Violence and Harassment against Women in the News Media: A Global Picture 2014 Global Alana Barton, Hannah Storm report
Attacks and Harassment: The Impact on Female Journalists and Their Reporting 2018 Global Michelle Ferrier report
Defending Journalism: How National Mechanisms Can Protect Journalists and Address the Issues of Impunity. A Comparative Analysis of Practices in Seven Countries 2017 Afghanistan, Colombia, Indonesia, Iraq, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines International Media Support (IMS) report
A Changing Asian Media: Assessing Challenges and Opportunities for Evolving Media in South and Southeast Asia 2017 South and Southeast Asia International Media Support and Fojo Media Institute external publication, Media development assessment
An Attack on One is an Attack on All: Successful Initiatives to Protect Journalists and Combat Impunity 2017 Global, Worldwide Larry Kilman (UNESCO) case studies, story