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
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.

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 63 Results | Page 3 of 6
Source Year Country Organisation Author
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) Chocarro, S.
Nicaragua: Psychological Support for Confidencial’s Journalists 2019 Nicaragua Free Press Unlimited
Journalist Jones Abiri: tortured and two years in detention 2019 Nigeria Free Press Unlimited
‘This Can Save Our Lives’: Safety Training for El Salvador’s Local Journalists 2019 El Salvador Free Press Unlimited
Melanio Escobar: Press freedom in Venezuela in ‘a downward spiral’ 2019 Venezuela Free Press Unlimited
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)
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.
Intensified Attacks, New Defences: Developments in the Fight to Protect Journalists and End Impunity 2019 Global UNESCO McCabe, S. (Ed.)
Hostile Bytes; A study of online violence against women journalists 2019 Pakistan Media Matters for Democracy Kamran, H.
Targeted, Cut Off, and Left in the Dark: The #KeepItOn Report on Internet Shutdowns in 2019 2019 Global Access Now
Targeting the Messenger: Journalists Ensnared by National Security Legislation 2019 Europe Mapping Media Freedom Perrone, A.