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 in English: Risk Analysis.


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 2 of 7
Source Year Country Organisation Author
Global Toolkit for Judicial Actors: International Legal Standards on Freedom of Expression, Access to Information and Safety of Journalists 2021 Global UNESCO Barata Mir, J. & C. Botero
Evaluation report of the Money Trail project 2021 Global Impactrack & Bureau TIJ Becker, S. et al.
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 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 Global 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 Council of Europe Platform to Promote the Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists
Threats that Silence: Trends in the Safety of Journalists 2021 Global UNESCO Chorbacher, T. et al.
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)
Sexual Harassment in the Media 2021 Africa WAN-IFRA Ireton, C.
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.