World Press Freedom Day 2016

Research Conference on the Safety of Journalists - Knowledge is the Key

Journalists around the globe face serious threats. According to UNESCO’s data, more than 800 journalists, media workers and social media producers who generate journalism have been killed during the past 10 years. Silencing these actors by killing them constitutes a serious threat to freedom of expression and is the ultimate act of censorship. Equally worrying is the fact that in more than nine out of ten cases, the crimes remain unsolved.
 
In order to more effectively prevent such threats, there is a need for a proper understanding – knowledge is the key. 
UNESCO and the UNESCO Chair at University of Gothenburg are organizing in collaboration with IAMCR, University of Sheffield, University of Helsinki and University of Tampere a two-day Research Conference on Safety of Journalists during the celebrations of World Press Freedom Day in Helsinki Finland, on 3 and 4 May 2016. 
 
The call for papers and posters attracted almost 60 abstracts by the deadline in December 2015 (Please consult the full call for papers here). The abstracts were reviewed by a Committee consisting of representatives of the University of Sheffield, University of Tampere, University of Helsinki, the UNESCO Chair at University of Gothenburg, and UNESCO. Altogether 17 papers and 14 posters were selected to be presented at the conference. The papers and posters are discussing a great variety of topics related to the safety of journalists, and are covering more than twenty countries in the world. The selected participants come from all the six continents. The names of the presenters and the titles of their work are included in the conference booklet below. 
 
The conference furthermore hosts a key-note speech Journalist Killings and the Civil Sphere by Professor Simon Cottle, University of Cardiff, and two panel discussions on the conference theme.
 
Opening panel Safety of Journalists - Mapping the field of research, moderated by Professor Katharine Sarikakis, University of Vienna, will among other issues cover the following questions:
What is research on safety of journalists about, and why is research-based knowledge needed in order to improve the safety of journalists? The panel will also discuss the existing areas of research as well as the remaining gaps, including the successes and failures of research in protection of journalists. Research on safety of journalists will be considered in relation to media development and freedom of expression, politics and policies.
 
Closing panel The outcomes of the conference and the way forward, moderated by Professor Elisabeth Eide, Oslo and Akershus University College, Norway, will concentrate on the outcomes of the conference by discussing, how we could try to bring all the existing knowledge together at national, regional and global levels? How could we cover the existing gaps in research? What could be done through academic research and cooperation to enhance the safety of journalists? How to improve the academic cooperation? The panel will also consider, whether there is a shared understanding on the central concepts related to safety of journalists.
 
The programme overview of the conference is available here. Names of all speakers and titles of their presentations are in the program booklet.
 
For further information on the conference, please contact r.poyhtari(at)unesco.org or ulla.carlsson(at)gu.se.
 
Click here to read about UNESCO's Academic Research Agenda on the Safety of Journalists. 
 
Participants, please consult the guidelines for full papers and posters/extended abstracts. Further guidelines have been emailed to you.