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 report on internet shutdowns
Access Now launched its new report for the #KeepItOn campaign on internet shutdowns in 2021. More information on internet shutdowns and digital safety more broadly can be found here.

New online course
A new course was launched on the Totem platform: Human Rights Documentation.


Credit: Free Press Unlimited/Joris Bulckens

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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Credit: Marloes van 't Pad Bosch

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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Credit: Free Press Unlimited/Joris Bulckens

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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Credit: Romy van den Boogaart

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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Credit: Sandro Weltin

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 78 Results | Page 1 of 7
Source Year Country Organisation Author
Investigating the killing of Elisabeth Blanche Olofio 2022 Central African Republic Free Press Unlimited A Safer World For The Truth
Gender Violence Against Journalists 2022 Brazil Abraji
Journalism is a public good 2022 Global UNESCO Berger, G. et al.
The Chilling: What More Can News Organisations Do to Combat Gendered Online Violence? 2022 Global UNESCO Posetti, J. & Shabbir, N.
The Chilling: Assessing Big Tech’s Response to Online Violence Against Women Journalists 2022 Global UNESCO Posetti, J., Bontcheva, K. & Shabbir, N.
The Return of Digital Authoritarianism: Internet Shutdowns in 2021 2022 Global Access Now
Safety of Women Journalists in Bosnia-Herzegovina: Perceptions, Experience and Understanding of Safety and Gendered Safety Risks 2022 Bosnia-Herzegovina Free Press Unlimited Aziz, M., Josimovic, N. & Mednansky, A.
Equally Safe: Towards a Feminist Approach to the Safety of Journalists 2022 Global Article 19 Robinson, J. & Yoshida, K.
Reset Required? Evaluatinging the Media Freedom Coalition after its first two years 2022 Global University of East Anglia, City University of London and University of the Philippines-Diliman Myers, M; Scott, M; Bunce, M; Yassin, L; Fernandez, M.C.; Khan, R.
Safe. Strong. Viable. The Symbosis Between Media Safety and Media Viability 2021 Burkina Faso, Lebanon, Mexico, Philippines Deutsche Welle Akademie Aldenrath, P. et al.
Investigating the killing of journalist Regina Martínez Pérez 2021 Mexico Free Press Unlimited A Safer World For The Truth
Investigating the killing of journalist Zubair Mujahid 2021 Pakistan Free Press Unlimited A Safer World For The Truth