World Press Freedom Day 2018

Academic Conference and Policy Lab

On a daily basis, journalists around the globe are confronted with a variety of threats that range from harassment to arbitrary detention, kidnapping, physical attacks, and in the most extreme cases, killing. UNESCO reports that in the past decade more than 800 journalists, media workers and social media reporters have been killed. Threats occur both online and offline, and women journalists are particularly affected by gender-specific forms of attacks such as sexual harassment and violence. As part of the global celebration of World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) 2018, the School of Information and Communication Studies, University of Ghana, in collaboration with UNESCO, is organising a one-day academic conference on the Safety of Journalists. In addition to the presentation of papers and following discussions, the conference will for the first time accommodate a Policy Lab, organized in partnership with the Global Development Network.

Academic Conference:

This is the third edition of this conference, which is held annually as a special session alongside WPFD. It brings together researchers from different disciplines working on aspects of the safety of journalists, and offers a possibility to connect with policy makers and media practitioners. At the first edition of the conference, which took place in 2016 in Helsinki, Finland, the Journalism Safety Research Network(link is external) (JSRN) was launched. The network aims at creating a space where multidisciplinary research on the safety of journalists is shared, developed and promoted in order to strengthen the field of research and ultimately, contribute to safer environments for journalists.

The academic conference, which will be integrated into the celebrations of World Press Freedom Day in Accra, aims at bridging the gap between academic research, policy-making and the experience of journalists on the ground. Policy-oriented research, which can nourish a dialogue between all stakeholders, is therefore highly encouraged. The theme of World Press Freedom Day 2018 is “Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and the Rule of Law”.

This year’s edition welcomes papers and policy relevant research on all aspects of safety of journalists, impunity for crimes against journalists and governance and justice.

Please also find a comprehensive list of potential research topics in UNESCO’s Research Agenda on Journalists’ Safety.

Policy Lab:

This special session will be organized on the morning of 3 May, 2018 and will offer a unique opportunity for high-quality interactions between researchers and policy actors (broadly understood) who work on a same issue. The topic chosen for this first Policy Lab are national mechanisms for prevention, protection against and prosecution of violence against journalists: emerging models and their effectiveness.

The Policy lab goals:

  • to offer researchers an opportunity to engage with potential users of their research, exposing researchers to the kind of answers policy actors need at a time when research questions are still being defined
  • to include policy actors in the process of discussion and definition of research priorities, sensitizing them to the potential contribution of research to their work.

Policy Labs have therefore two main outcomes: research agendas of direct interest to policy constituencies on a specific issue; and the creation of an early demand for research findings amongst potential users in policy and practice.

A closed number of participants will be selected on a competitive basis to take part in the Policy Lab, by UNESCO, the Global Development Network and the University of Ghana, based on the relevance of their research and planned work to the above-mentioned topic.


The Academic Conference and Policy Lab, of World Press Freedom Day 2018 will be held at the Kempinski Hotel. You can consult more information about the Kempinski Hotel their website(link is external). (External link)


Kempinski Hotel
Gold Coast City Accra
Gamel Abdul Nasser Avenue

PMB CT21 Cantonments,
Accra, Ghana
T +233 544 312 677