Safety of media workers is of great concern to society since it is a prerequisite for preserving the fundamental right to freedom of expression. UNESCO plays a strong role in the field of freedom of expression and media development.
In the last 10 years, more than 600 journalists and media workers have been killed. Attacks on media professionals are often committed in non-conflict situations by organized crime groups, militia, security personnel, and even local police, making local journalists among the most vulnerable.
- UNESCO seeks to expand its cooperation with donors and partners in improving journalists’ safety in the context of the Implementation Strategy of the United Nations Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.
- The Plan of Action, unique in its multi-stakeholder approach, aims towards the creation of a free and safe environment for journalists and media workers in both conflict and non-conflict situations, with a view to strengthening peace, democracy and development worldwide.
- The Plan of Action is in the middle of its first phase of implementation, piloting in South Sudan, Nepal, Pakistan and Iraq. In 2014, the implementation will further be expanded to countries such as Honduras, Guatemala, Brazil and Tunisia.
UNESCO is the mandated agency within the UN that promotes freedom of expression and of the press. It has taken the lead in coordinating the development and implementation of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, working closely together with other stakeholders including Member States, UN agencies, NGOs, academia, and media practitioners. UNESCO’s work focuses on coalition-building, awareness-raising, regulatory reforms, good practices and training, research on the issue of safety of journalists. Furthermore, UNESCO has over two decades of experience in providing technical advice on legal, regulatory, policy and other critical issues, as well as educating journalists and building capacity for media professionals and institutions.