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 2 of 6
Source Year Country Organisation Author
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.
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.
Breaking the Silence 2020 Europe Index on Censorship Mhainín, J.N.
A Gathering Storm: The Laws Being Used to Silence the Media 2020 Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Europe, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom Index on Censorship Mhainín, J.N.
The Fight Against Impunity 2019 Global Free Press Unlimited Nijhof, S. and Pavicic, M.