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 resource
The Coalition Against Online Violence has just launched the Online Violence Response Hub, a project of the IWMF with ICFJ. This hub is a robust resource center where women journalists – and newsrooms – can find updated research, emergency assistance, and easy-to-follow recommendations for their specific situation.

New online courses
Two new online course were launched on the Totem platform:
How to protect your identity online and Secure your devices.


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 63 Results | Page 1 of 6
Source Year Country Organisation Author
Evaluation report of the Money Trail project 2021 Impactrack & Bureau TIJ Becker, S., van den Berg, I., de Rooij, A., & Sloot, H.
First Quarterly Report 2021 Global Coalition for Women in Journalism (CWFIJ) Nazish, K. et al.
No Excuse for Abuse: What Social Media Companies Can Do Now to Combat Online Harassment and Empower Users 2021 United States of America PEN America
The Chilling: Global Trends in Online Violence Against Women Journalists 2021 Global UNESCO Posetti, J. et al.
No News Is Bad News Programme Evaluation 2021 Global Free Press Unlimited Myers, M, et al.
The Global Expression Report 2021: The state of freedom of expression around the world 2021 ARTICLE 19 ARTICLE 19
Wanted! Real Action for Media Freedom in Europe 2021 Europe Council of Europe Platform to Promote the Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists
Murders, Physical Assaults & Online Harassment: Silencing Journalism in Somalia. Somalia Annual Press Freedom Report 2020 – 2021 2021 Somalia Federation of Somali Journalists (FESOJ) Federation of Somali Journalists (FESOJ)
Safe. Strong. Viable. The Symbosis Between Media Safety and Media Viability 2021 Burkina Faso, Lebanon, Mexico, Philippines Deutsche Welle Akademie Aldenrath, P. et al.
Internal Evaluation Reporters Respond and Legal Defense Fund (2018-2019) 2020 Global Free Press Unlimited Aziz, M.
Media Pluralism Monitor 2020 2020 Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Eastern Europe, Estonia, Europe, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF), European University Insitute Brogi, E. et al.
Journalism in Bangladesh during Corona Pandemic 2020 Bangladesh South Asia Center for Media in Development (SACMID) Sultana, A. et al.