UNESCO organized special sessions on safety of journalists during the IAMCR 2015 conference in Montreal, on July 13, and the Global Communication Association Conference in Berlin, Germany, on July 17. More than 100 researchers participated in these special sessions aiming at discussing the Organization’s new initiative for academic research agenda on safety of journalists.
Academics expressed strong interest in UNESCO’s work on safety of journalists. Twenty researchers of journalism and media, as well as other disciplines presented their on-going research related to safety issues. The topics ranged from psychological traumas of journalists to working conditions in different countries, also covering issues such as drone journalism and specific threats to women and war journalists.
In addition, possibilities for future academic cooperation were explored, including the setting-up of a network of researchers and the collaboration on future publications and research.
According to UNESCO’s data, more than 700 journalists and media workers have been killed in the last 10 years.
Silencing journalists through death is the ultimate act of censorship. The situation is further aggravated by other threats ranging from intimidation and harassment to restrictive policies and arbitrary detention, including attacks on women journalists. Equally worrying, more than nine out of ten cases of killing of journalists remain unsolved. The end result is a vicious cycle of impunity and a chilling effect on society in a climate of fear and self-censorship.
To better understand and act on these issues, research is needed. Therefore, the Organization has developed an academic research agenda on safety of journalists for further cooperation among the academic world in line with the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. For more information concerning the academic research agenda on safety of journalists or the special sessions, please contact Ms Reeta Pöyhtäri or Mr Ming Kuok Lim.