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 page: Safety mainstreaming
A new page on safety mainstreaming has been published, explaining how to make sure that safety becomes an integral part of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes.

New UNESCO data added
Recently the 2020 UNESCO DG Report on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity was published. The Physical safety and Legal safety pages have been updated to include the newest data.


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 39 Results | Page 2 of 4
Source Year Country Organisation Author
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
Fear, Trauma and Local Journalists: Cross-border Lessons in Psychosocial Support for Journalists 2019 Latin America, MENA, South and Southeast Asia International Media Support (IMS) Bets, M. and Beighly, P.
Hostile Bytes; A study of online violence against women journalists 2019 Pakistan Media Matters for Democracy Kamran, H.
Intensified Attacks, New Defences: Developments in the Fight to Protect Journalists and End Impunity 2019 Global UNESCO
Targeting the Messenger: Journalists Ensnared by National Security Legislation 2019 Europe Mapping Media Freedom
The Fight Against Impunity 2019 Global Free Press Unlimited Nijhof, S. and Pavicic, M.
Een onveilig klimaat – onderzoek bedreigingen van vrouwelijke journalisten (research to threats of female journalists) 2019 Netherlands Odekerken, M.W.A. and Das, L.E.
For investigative journalists in Indonesia ‘the threats are real’ 2019 Indonesia Free Press Unlimited
The Safety of Women Journalists: Breaking the Cycle of Silence and Violence 2019 Afghanistan, Colombia, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Somalia International Media Support (IMS)
Nicaragua: psychological support for Confidencial’s journalists 2019 Nicaragua Free Press Unlimited
‘This can save our lives’: safety training for El Salvador’s local journalists 2019 El Salvador Free Press Unlimited