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 4 of 6
Source Year Country Organisation Author
Hungary: Conclusions of the Joint International Press Freedom Mission 2019 Hungary Article19 International Press Institute (IPI), Article 19, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPFM), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Free Press Unlimited (FPU), Reporters Without Borders (RSF), South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO).
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.
Online Safety for Female Journalists in Pakistan 2018 Pakistan Free Press Unlimited
Post-ISIS Iraq through the lens of Ahmed Najm 2018 Iraq Free Press Unlimited
Media4Democracy – Developing Technical Assistance Packages for EU Delegations 2018 Global Free Press Unlimited
Gender-based violence against female journalists: A ‘double attack’ 2018 El Salvador Free Press Unlimited
Righting Gender Wrongs: A Study of Law Enforcement Responses to Online Violence Against Women 2018 India IT for Change
Safe haven from the trolls: A network for Pakistani women journalists 2018 Pakistan Free Press Unlimited
Attacks and Harassment: The Impact on Female Journalists and Their Reporting 2018 Global International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) Ferrier, M.
Online Harassment of Journalists: Attacks of the Trolls 2018 Global Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
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.