Multi-Donor Programme on Freedom for Expression and Safety of Journalists

Project Examples

UNESCO works with Member States and partners to enhance norms and policies related to freedom of expression, including press freedom and the right to access information both online and offline. The Organization coordinates the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, which aims to create a free and safe environment for media and freedom of expression in both conflict and non-conflict areas. Below is a selection of samples of our work worldwide.

Awareness raising initiatives

UNESCO is tasked by UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/68/163 to implement the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. Within this framework, it organises and coordinates events all over the world with the goal to raise awareness about the issue of impunity of crimes against journalists, and advocate for practical solutions to ensure freedom of expression and public access to information.

  • International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists in 2017

In 2017, events took place in over 30 countries, spread across every region and continent. In partnership with the Ministry of Finance and Media of Sri Lanka, UNESCO organised the main commemoration event in Colombo on December 4th 2017. In attendance were over 150 national, regional, and international stakeholders from over 20 countries.

The Sri Lankan police, under instructions from the Ministry of Law & Order, opened investigations into crimes made against the Tamil newspaper, Uthayan. This followed a discussion between the editor of Uthayan and the Minister of Law & Order during the seminar.

Read more about the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists 2017.

World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development

UNESCO conducts research on the global trends affecting media freedom, pluralism, independence and the safety of journalists.

The World Trends Report series offers a critical analysis media trends and is an essential resource to policy makers, international organizations, civil society, and academia seeking to understand the changing global media landscape. The report provides a global perspective that serves as an essential resource for UNESCO Member States, international organizations, civil society, and academia seeking to understand the changing global media landscape.

Click here to see the Full Report and Executive Summary in multiple languages.

Safety of journalists

As a neutral actor, UNESCO is able to bring together parties who rarely interact. Among its activities, UNESCO trains security forces and law enforcement officers on freedom of expression and safety of journalists. The dialogue between the two communities fosters a working relationship, built on communication and a mutual understanding of each other’s roles.

  • Ukraine training for law enforcement officers and journalists

In Ukraine in February 2018, law enforcement officers and journalists were brought together to increase positive communication and overcome misunderstandings. The project fostered dialogue and established professional relations between the law enforcement officers and the media sector during a transitional period of reform for state institutions.

To consult the training materials in English, click here.

Capacity building

UNESCO trains journalists, media owners, policy and security forces, members of the judiciary on relevant topics including investigate journalism, safety in the field, and international standards for freedom of expression.

  • Training judges on freedom of expression in Africa

From October to December 2017, UNESCO trained members of the judiciary from across Africa on topics related to freedom of expression. Training took place over two phases: first during an on-the-ground training for members of African high courts, and second during a Massive Open Online Course offered to all legal actors and other interested stakeholders. The content of the course was tailored to the African context, over 900 people from 97 countries, including 42 African countries took part in the Online Course.


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