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 62 Results | Page 2 of 6
Source Year Country Organisation Author
Impact of the 2015 Universal Periodic Review on Press Freedom in Nepal 2020 Nepal Free Press Unlimited Thakur, M.
Journalism & the Pandemic: A Global Snapshot of Impacts 2020 Global International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) & Tow Center for Digital Journalism Posetti, J. et al.
Safety of Journalists and the Fighting of Corruption in the EU 2020 Denmark, Europe, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam McGonagle, T. et al.
States of Control: COVID, Cuts and Impunity: South Asia Press Freedom Report 2019-2020 2020 Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
Balancing Act: Countering Digital Disinformation While Respecting Freedom of Expression 2020 Global Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development Bontcheva, K and Posetti, J. (Eds.)
COVID-19 News Organisations Safety Protocols: Working with Freelancers 2020 Global ACOS Alliance
Online violence Against Women Journalists: A Global Snapshot of Incidence and Impacts 2020 Global UNESCO and the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) Posetti, J. et al.
Journalism Without Fear or Favour: Background Paper on Safety Challenges of Journalists in Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia 2020 Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines Free Press Unlimited Aziz, M.
Joint stakeholder submission UPR Nepal 2021 2020 Nepal Freedom Forum and Free Press Unlimited Freedom Forum and Free Press Unlimited
Internal Evaluation Reporters Respond and Legal Defense Fund (2018-2019) 2020 Global Free Press Unlimited Aziz, M.
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 McCully, J.
Newsroom Best Practices for Addressing Online Violence Against Journalists 2019 Finland, Germany, Poland, United Kingdom International Press Institute (IPI)