Building peace in the minds of men and women

UNESCO launches three reports on journalists’ safety, access to information, and election coverage

19 November 2019

UNESCO has presented three reports concerning media issues to Member States meeting at the Organization’s Headquarters for the 40th session of its General Conference. The three reports, available online in English are:

Intensified Attacks, New Defences: Developments in the Fight to Protect Journalists and End Impunity assesses trends in safety of journalists around the world over five years (2014-2018) and flags an 18% increase in the killing of journalists compared to the previous five-year period (495 killings compared to 418 from 2009 through 2013). The report shows that 88% of killings recorded since 2006 remain unpunished. The study also examines the evolution of threats against the profession, notably online attacks and harassment, which disproportionally affects women journalists, undermining freedom of expression. Nevertheless, the report also highlights a growing commitment to protect the media through the establishment or strengthening of mechanisms to monitor, prevent and prosecute attacks on journalists and protect those facing threats. Coalitions seeking to improve the safety of journalists are forming worldwide with the participation of governments, academia, civil society organizations, regional and intergovernmental bodies.

Access to Information: A New Promise for Sustainable Development explores recent legislative developments and their effect in the field, as well as evolving international standards and practices concerning access to information, recognized in Sustainable Development Goal 16.10 which urges governments to “ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements.” The report furthermore examines models for implementation bodies, new digital challenges and opportunities for access to information.  In order to understand the drivers of change, the Report examines trendsetting activities within UNESCO, the Sustainable Development Agenda, the Universal Periodic Review, the Open Government Partnership, and the standard-setting work of regional intergovernmental organizations and national oversight bodies.  The research also draws on unique UNESCO surveys and analysis of Voluntary National Reports presented at the United Nations’ High-level Political Forum in July this year. The surge of ATI laws reflects growing awareness of the impact of access to information on human rights, development, democracy and people’s private lives.

Elections and Media in Digital Times highlights three converging trends affecting the media and elections in the digital age: the rise of disinformation, intensifying attacks on journalists, and disruptions linked to the use of information and communications technology in the election process. Offering possible responses to the challenges at hand, the study is a tool for governments, election officials, media organizations, journalists, civil society, the private sector, academia and individuals. It also proposes possible responses to safeguard media freedom and integrity while strengthening news coverage of elections in a digital environment.

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Media contact: Roni Amelan, UNESCO Press Service, r.amelan@unesco.org , +330)145681650