Newsletter - Issue 21 (July/August 2016)

Greetings Colleagues,
As part of the information sharing mechanism under the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, we are issuing this newsletter every two months. Through this newsletter, we share with you information on the implementation of the UN Plan of Action. It includes development from the first-phase countries (Iraq, Nepal, Pakistan, and South Sudan), various ongoing and upcoming initiatives that could contribute to achieving the objectives set out in the UN Plan of Action. We invite you to submit relevant information concerning your initiative that would contribute to the UN Plan.


The Supreme Court of Justice of Uruguay and UNESCO strengthen cooperation on safety of journalists

UNESCO Director-General Ms Irina Bokova and President of the Supreme Court of Justice of Uruguay Mr Ricardo C. Pérez Manrique signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 27 June 2016 in Montevideo, Uruguay to strengthen cooperation on issues of freedom of expression, access to information, and security of journalists. The agreement will provide a framework under which Uruguayan judicial actors and officers can improve their knowledge of international standards and reinforce their role in protecting freedom of expression as a cornerstone of democracy. Read more.


Journalists' safety under scrutiny in Kenya

The new study Supporting Safety of Journalists in Kenya evaluates the national state of media safety and the issue of impunity of the East-African country. It provides an overview of the safety situation and points out the different responsibilities of local relevant stakeholders in addressing these issues. Carried out by the African Media Initiative in consultation with UNESCO and based on the UNESCO Journalists' Safety Indicators, research took over a full year to assess the state of press freedom and safety of journalists in Kenya. Consult the full report here. Read more.


Malian Security Forces Trained on Safety of Journalists

A professional constructive relationship between the media and law enforcement agencies is crucial for an enabling media environment and the free flow of information. From 13 to 15 June 2016, UNESCO Bamako Office, in partnership with the Ministry of Security and Civil Protection and EUCAP Sahel Mali, organized a training for local security forces and journalists on security procedures in the field, which ways journalists can access information, communication with media, journalism, democracy and freedom of expression in Bamako, Mali. Read more.


Impacts of the UN Plan of Action: Focus on Pakistan

Since 2012, the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity serves as the framework under which media safety initiatives are organized in a concerted effort. Four countries were identified to implement the UN Plan in its initial phase, amongst which Pakistan. Ms Rihab Abdalhafiz, UNESCO specialist and seconded by the Norwegian Refugee Council, provides insight into how the UN Plan has impacted the national press freedom and media safety situation within the country. Learn more about the achieved progress here.

© UN/World Humanitarian Summit

World Humanitarian Summit: Protecting journalists is key to reporting in crisis situations

A call for action to protect journalists and promote independent reporting in crisis situations was issued by leaders of media outlets, UN agencies, governments, and NGOs gathered at the World Humanitarian Summit on 24 May in Istanbul, Turkey. During the Special Session Protecting Journalists and Promoting Independent Reporting in Crisis Situations, each stakeholder was urged to increase their actions to end attacks on journalists, with special focus on the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. View the full session here. Read more.


IPDC Chair Albana Shala Calls for Research Partnerships on Journalists’ Safety at WPFD Conference

The Chair of the UNESCO International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), Ms Albana Shala, took part in a two-day research conference on the safety of journalists during the celebrations of World Press Freedom Day in Helsinki, Finland. She highlighted IPDC’s history as a driver of knowledge-driven media development, and stated that journalists’ safety was a priority area in which IPDC wished to strengthen cooperation with academia to produce research. Read more.


Government urged to accelerate efforts for effective and appropriate legislations on Right to Information and Journalists' Safety in Pakistan

During the celebration of World Press Freedom Day in Pakistan on 3 May, participants of two workshops focusing on the Right to Information legislation and the state of journalists' safety within the country called upon the national government to step up its efforts in safeguarding media. During the sessions, the model draft of the Journalists Protection and Welfare Bill was discussed, with special reference to the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. Read more.


Safety and Security Survey to assess knowledge within global media community

WAN-IFRA, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, is conducting a worldwide survey to assess the awareness of safety and security issues of media professionals. Facilitated by the Harnser Risk Group, it wishes to determine how media organisations address threats to personal and digital security and which policies have been put in place. The results will be used to improve the guidance and security structures already in place. The questionnaire is both available in English and in Spanish.


Press Emblem Campaign assesses the global state of killed journalists in 2016

According to the NGO Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), 74 journalists have been killed in the first half of 2016. This is more than in previous years during the same time frame. With 3 killings on average per week, 22 countries so far have seen lethal attacks on media. PEC Secretary-General Mr Blaise Lempen stated: " is clear that unresolved and ongoing conflicts are the source of the high price paid by journalists for informing the general public." He added that more needs to be done as current efforts to combat impunity do not seem to stop the violence. Read more.


Recommendations put forward to support journalism in conflict societies

The research project Media, Conflict and Democratisation published in June 2016 the policy brief Supporting Journalism in Conflict Societies, which put forward recommendations to enhance support measures for journalism in a society in conflict. Based on interviews with European and local media development actors, key problems are identified that inhibit inclusive public debate and a safe environment when reporting from the field. The policy brief aims to provide guidelines to better align media development efforts with conflict reporting. Read the policy brief here.


Safety of Journalists highlighted on AICHR regional forum in Malaysia

The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) organized a regional forum on Media and Human Rights from 16 to 17 May 2016 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Ming-Kuok Lim of the UNESCO Office in Jakarta underligned the necessity of a free, independent, and safe media environment in one of the sessions: “Creating a safe environment where journalists could practice their craft without fear of harassments, attacks, and persecutions is one of the important factors in enabling reporting of human rights.” Read more.

© UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

IFJ Presses UN on Safety and Freedoms of Ukrainian and Russian Journalists

During the 32nd session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland on 29 June 2016, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) urged the UN body to make the protection of media professionals a priority in addressing the conflict in and around Ukraine. "Media freedom is an essential contributor to democratic rule and attacks on journalists undermine citizens’ right to know.", the NGO said in its oral statement, which highlighted cases of violence against journalists since the start of the conflict. IFJ's full statement can be consulted here. Read more.


Plan of Action promoting the safety of journalists working in Ukraine

On 30 May, senior representatives of Russian and Ukrainian journalists’ unions have agreed a new plan of action aimed at tackling threats to journalists and promoting safety and professionalism for media working in and around Ukraine. The Plan of Action was decided during a meeting hosted by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović in Vienna, Austria. In addition, the need for more cooperation between the two unions on safety of journalists and professional standards in conflict reporting was highlighted as well. Read more.


Safer and Smarter Journalism Campaign in South Asia

In May 2016, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and their partner South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) launched a week-long digital security campaign entitled Safer, Smarter Journalism across the region of South Asia. Digital security has become of vital importance for journalists being able to do their work without exposing themselves and their sources. The campaign by IFJ and SAMSN aimed to raise awareness among South Asian media via different initiatives and provided a resource page on digital security as well. Read more.

© Oficina Regional FIP

IFJ hosts seminar on safety with a gender perspective in Paraguay

Women journalists and media workers often face extra hazards while carrying out their job: gender-based violence, threats, and harassment are a dire reality, which needs to be taken into account in addressing the issue of safety of journalists. In this context, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) organized with its partners a regional seminar on safety of journalists viewed from a gender perspective on 19 and 20 May 2016 in Asunción, Paraguay, attended by representatives from journalists' organizations from across Latin America. Read more (in Spanish).


Summer Courses on safety in the field for media professionals

Global Journalist Security (GJS) organizes Hostile Environment and First Aid Trainings (HEFAT) for media professionals, which focus on how to successfully navigate a dangerous environment. This summer GJS will organize several courses with each a different focus in Washington D.C., United States of America from June to September 2016. Courses of two, three and five days are available ranging from basic essential skills and civil unrest to the more in-depth tactical casualty care. Please register here in order to participate. Read more.




IDEI seminar to be held in Tanzania

As part of the preparations for the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (IDEI), UNESCO and the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights will organize a seminar on 10 September in Arusha, Tanzania. Entitled Strengthening Judiciary system and African Courts to protect Safety of Journalists and End Impunity, the seminar will bring together representatives of inter-regional courts and relevant actors in order to foster dialogue and knowledge sharing. Read the concept note here. More information will be made available soon.

© Oslo and Akershus University College

Conflict, Peace and War journalism in higher education - Call for Papers

Supported by the Norwegian National Commission for UNESCO, the Department of Journalism and Media Studies at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences will organise the conference Best Practice in teaching conflict, war and peace journalism from 7 to 8 November 2016 in Oslo, Norway. In anticipation of the conference, a call for papers has been issued seeking papers which aim "to contribute to improving higher education in peace and war journalism, safety of journalists, and freedom of expression". The deadline is set at 15 August 2016. Read more.