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.

Explore the following topics:

Latest updates
New resource
Check out the newest resource on the Tools and Resources page: the Philippine Journalists’ Safety Guide by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (in English, Tagalog and Bisaya).

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.


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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more


Evidence base: Safety of journalists

Found 41 Results | Page 3 of 4
Source Year Country Organisation Author
Targeting the Messenger: Journalists Ensnared by National Security Legislation 2019 Europe Mapping Media Freedom Perrone, A.
The Fight Against Impunity 2019 Global Free Press Unlimited Nijhof, S. and Pavicic, M.
Online Safety for Female Journalists in Pakistan 2018 Pakistan Free Press Unlimited
Media4Democracy – Developing Technical Assistance Packages for EU Delegations 2018 Global Free Press Unlimited
Righting Gender Wrongs: A Study of Law Enforcement Responses to Online Violence Against Women 2018 India IT for Change
Attacks and Harassment: The Impact on Female Journalists and Their Reporting 2018 Global International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) Ferrier, M.
Women Journalists and Freedom of Expression: Discrimination and gender-based violence faced by women journalists in the exercise of their profession 2018 Americas Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Lanza, E.
Online Harassment of Journalists: Attacks of the Trolls 2018 Global Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
Women’s Rights: Forbidden Subject 2018 Global Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
An Attack on One is an Attack on All: Successful Initiatives to Protect Journalists and Combat Impunity 2017 Global UNESCO/IPDC Kilman, L.
CAR Reporters Flee for Their Lives 2017 Central African Republic Free Press Unlimited Schilder, J.
Defending Journalism: How National Mechanisms Can Protect Journalists and Address the Issues of Impunity. A Comparative Analysis of Practices in Seven Countries 2017 Afghanistan, Colombia, Indonesia, Iraq, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines International Media Support (IMS) Witchel, E. et al.