Newsletter - Issue 14 (May/June 2015)

Greetings Colleagues,
As part of the information sharing mechanism under the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, we are issuing this newsletter every two months. Through this newsletter, we share with you information on the implementation of the UN Plan of Action. It includes development from the first-phase countries (Iraq, Nepal, Pakistan, and South Sudan), various ongoing and upcoming initiatives that could contribute to achieving the objectives set out in the UN Plan of Action. We invite you to submit relevant information concerning your initiative that would contribute to the UN Plan.

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Security Council Adopts Decision on Protection of Journalists

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution condemning all violations and abuses committed against journalists and strongly deploring impunity for such acts. The unanimously adopted resolution, which affirmed that the work of a free, independent and impartial media constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society, and thereby can contribute to the protection of civilians. The resolution urged States to take appropriate steps to ensure accountability for crimes committed against journalists, media professionals and associated personnel in situations of armed conflict and to ensure accountability for crimes committed against journalists. Here are the concept note and transcript of the Open Debate on Safety of Journalists which took place at the UNSC on 27 May 2015. Read more.


A Clear Message: Improving the Safety For All Journalists

The message was clear. All journalists, media workers, and social media producers who generate a significant amount of public interest journalism, whether they are freelancer or full time staffer, from big to small media outlets, should have be safe to carry out their work. This was the main take-away from the 196th UNESCO’s Executive Board meeting which took place on 20 April at its Paris Headquarters. The Decision taken reinforces the current work of UNESCO in relation to the UN Plan of Action. By working with all relevant stakeholders including national authorities, UN agencies, civil society groups, academia, and the media, UNESCO seeks to tackle the problems in a holistic and comprehensive manner. Read more.

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UNESCO promotes freedom of expression indicators in the SDGs

A side-event at the UN Security Council on Wednesday heard the case for indicators that could support emerging Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The safety of journalists and the issue of impunity are directly relevant to implementing the proposed Sustainable Development Goal 16, particularly the targets on fundamental freedoms, access to information and the rule of law.” The target of 16.10 is to ‘ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements’. These two interdependent aspects relate closely to the freedom to seek and receive, as well as impart, information, which overall constitutes the right to freedom of expression. Read more.


World Press Freedom Day 2015

The main event of the annual World Press Freedom Day took place from 2-4 May in Riga, Latvia in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia. The celebrations marking this year's World Press Freedom Day culminated with the adoption of the Riga Declaration which notes that the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity are directly relevant to implementing the proposed Sustainable Development Goal 16, particularly the targets on fundamental freedoms, access to information and the rule of law. Overall, 500 participants from 81 nationalities participated in the 13 plenaries and parallel sessions in the main event. Over 30 Partners from civil society groups, media organizations, UN agencies, academia, and Member States supported this event. Elsewhere, nearly 80 local events took place globally to mark the day. Read more.

International Mission to Nepal

The Nepal International Media Partnership (NIMP) visited Nepal from 19 to 23 April 2015 to assess the media freedom situation in the country. The International Partnership was represented on this mission by AMARC, ARTICLE 19, Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD), Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), International Media Support (IMS), Open Society Foundations (OSF), Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) and UNESCO. This mission took place is linked to the framework of the UNESCO/UNPFN Project Increasing the Safety of Journalists. Read more.

Research: Communication and Peace

Communication and Peace: Mapping an Emerging Field is the title of a new book, edited by Julia Hoffman and Virgil Hawkins. Its 21 contributions cover issues such as how journalists report on armed conflict and the role of media interventions such as UN radio. The aim of the book is to bring together the research fields of peace studies and media studies. The United Nations and UNESCO’s historical role is noted in parts. Excerpts are available here.

Research: Bravery or Bravado?

During the last decade, the image of war correspondents in the news has shifted dramatically. Reports are no longer full of cheerleading stories of embedded journalists. Instead, stories of war reporters being attacked, kidnapped or injured prevail. Sadly, the former heroic witnesses to war have become victims of their own story. In a new book "Bravery or Bravado?", Nina Burri provides the first comprehensive analysis on how international law protects professional and citizen journalists, photographers, cameramen and their support staff during times of war. Using examples from recent armed conflicts in Iraq, Libya, Gaza and Syria, Burri explores the means, methods and risks of contemporary war coverage and examines the protection of news providers by international humanitarian law, international criminal law and human rights law. Excerpts are available here.

European Commission funds two new projects

In 2015, the European Commission selected two projects related to promotion of press freedom and assisting threatened journalists. The two projects are the establishment of the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom and the Mapping and Defending Media Freedom in Europe. Read more.


New Edition of OSCE Guidebook on Safety of Journalists

The new edition of the Safety of journalists Guidebook chronicles events undertaken by international organizations, governments and nongovernmental organizations to create a safer environment for members of the media since the original Guidebook was published in 2011. It is available in English and in Russian. Read more.




Special Session on Safety of Journalists at IAMCR Montreal (13 July)

The Journalism, Research & Education Section of the International Association of Media & Communication Research (JRE-IAMCR) will launch a new partnership with UNESCO with three special sessions on "safety of journalists" at the IAMCR Conference which will take place in Montreal, Canada in June 2015. The recent high profile attacks on journalists demonstrate the severe threats and dangers journalists and media workers often face in the pursuit of their work. Yet, these attacks are but a tip of the iceberg in the history of violence against journalists. According to UNESCO’s data, more 700 journalists and media workers have been killed in the last 10 years. These sessions aim to strengthen cooperation with academia in line with the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, and to establish an academic research agenda on journalists’ safety. In the Special Sessions, different aspects of journalists’ safety and issue of impunity will be discussed, as well as the draft for an academic research agenda on safety. Read more.


GCA Berlin (17-18 July): Special Session on Safety of Journalists

Journalists’ safety has seldom been a topic of systematic and in-depth academic research. Therefore, in collaboration with the Global Communication Association (GCA) Conference, UNESCO is organizing a Special Session on Safety of Journalists during the tenth GCA Conference taking place in the city of Berlin, Germany from 16 -19 July 2015.This Special Session is the first in a series of dedicated workshops organized by UNESCO, aiming to strengthen cooperation with academia in line with the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. Read more.

International Day to End Impunity in San José, Costa Rica

On 9-10 October, UNESCO and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights will hold a commemoration event as part of the build up towards the International Day Against Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists (IDEI) on (2 November 2015) will take place at the IACHR's premise in San Jose, Costa Rica. The event will mark the beginning of a series of events taking place globally to highlight the issues of impunity. Contact person: Mr Guilherme Canela and Mr Gunther Cyranek .