Newsletter - Issue 16 (September/October 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.


International Day to End Impunity in San Jose, Costa Rica

As part of the build up towards the International Day Against Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists (IDEI) on 2 November 2015, UNESCO and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights will organize a commemoration event on 9 and 10 October 2015 in San Jose, Costa Rica. It will focus on the role of the judiciary systems and the international courts of human rights towards safety of journalists and impunity. The conference marks the beginning of a series of events taking place globally to highlight the issues. Read more.

© Der Standard

Background paper on combating impunity released

Serving as the background paper for IDEI 2015, Prevent and Punish: In search of solutions to fight violence against journalists by Prof. Eduardo Bertoni provides "an overview of the global pattern of crimes committed against media workers, the impunity connected with such acts, and the steps both the international community and individual states have taken to confront the situation." Reviewing the situation at present, Bertoni's research concludes with tangible recommendations for different stakeholders. Consult the publication in full here.


Mexico City implements new law for the protection of journalists

The new legislation provides equal protection to all journalists and media workers who have fled to Mexico City out of fear of their lives. Additionally, it ensures the establishment of a public and autonomous 'Mechanism on Protection of Journalists', which may promote initiatives, legislation or policies to protect, respect, and fulfill the exercise of freedom of expression and journalism within the City. The law was promulgated by Mexico City Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera on 10 August 2015 and can be consulted here (in Spanish).


Digital safety workshops conclude with permanent helpdesk for female journalists in Pakistan

A digital safety help desk assisting female journalists dealing with issues of digital security or online harassment has been set up at local media development organisation Media Matters for Democracy (MMfD) in Islamabad. The creation of digital security help desk follows the conclusion of a series of two digital safety workshops, "Connected and Safe", organized by MMfD in collaboration with UNESCO Islamabad. Thirty female journalists and bloggers from different print and electronic media participated in the training workshops. Read more.

© UNESCO/Knight Center

Second MOOC on Freedom of Expression in Mexico is open for registration

The free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on 'Freedom of expression and protection of journalists in an international legal framework' is aimed at media and justice workers of the State of Coahuila, Mexico. Facilitated by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas and the Mexico office of UNESCO, the course will be taught by Margarita Torres and Miguel Rábago Dorbecker, professors at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. In 2014 the first such program was attended by nearly one thousand participants. Read more.

© OSCE/Jakub Rozsypal

OSCE hosts conference on 'Journalists' Safety, Media Freedom and Pluralism in Times of Conflict' in Vienna, Austria in June 2015

On 15 and 16 June 2015, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) convened representatives of the media, civil society, intergovernmental organisations, and country delegations in Vienna, Austria to discuss the deteriorating trend of journalists' safety in conflict zones. The conference examined and reviewed the current state of affairs; shared problems and best practices; and initiated the formulation of recommendations to the governments on ways to improve journalists' safety in conflict zones. Read more.


UNAMI and UNESCO concerned by safety of journalists in Nineveh Governorate, Iraq

The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG) Ján Kubiš and UNESCO Representative to Iraq Axel Plathe are deeply concerned about the safety of journalists in Nineveh Governorate. The recent assassination of media workers and the increased acts of intimidation, harassment and violence to which they are exposed, dramatically testify to the life threatening risks under which journalists work in the areas controlled by ISIS. Read more.


Police officers trained on Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists in South Sudan

From 19 to 21 July 2015, a three day training course aimed at South Sudanese law enforcement was conducted by the Community Empowerment Progress Organization (CEPO) with support of the UNESCO Field Office in Juba, South Sudan. Twenty local police officers were taught on freedom of expression, press freedom, and freedom of information. Fostering a better relationship between security forces, the government, and journalists is one of the key actions of the UN Plan of Action on Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. Read more.




Launch of featured World Trends Report in Paris

The International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists (IDEI) will be observed at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France on 2 November 2015 with the launch of the featured World Trends Report with a digital theme, including a chapter on the safety of journalists. The publication will serve as the most up to date research on the issue and will supplement the previous edition of the World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development, which was released last year. Consult the full 2014 edition of the World Trends Report here.


High-level panel discussions on impunity in London

On 2 November 2015, the International Day to End Crimes Against Journalists (IDEI), UNESCO will co-host two high-level panel discussions in London, United Kingdom together with its partners Centre for Freedom of the Media (CFOM) and PEN International. The event aims to assess and analyze in-depth the current situation of widespread impunity of crimes committed against journalists and the roles of each stakeholder in countering it. The first panel will consist of leading media representatives whereas the second will serve as a platform for the international civil society.


OSCE Expert Meeting on online harassment targeted at women

The office of OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, will host a conference entitled 'New Challenges to Freedom of Expression: Countering Online Abuse of Female Journalists' on 17 September 2015 in Vienna, Austria. High-level experts from all over the world will take a deeper look in online hate speech and abuse aimed specifically at women. The event serves as a platform to facilitate dialogue and formulate initial recommendations on combating this dangerous trend. The discussions and presentations will be streamed live on the OSCE website.Read more.

© WMS/Al Jazeera Media Network

Third World Media Summit will take place in Doha in November 2015

The third World Media Summit's (WMS) main theme is 'The Future of News and News Organisations' and brings together media organisations, industry experts, academia, and high-ranking officials. Discussions on the major challenges media face, including the safety of journalists, will be held in Doha, Qatar on 3-5 November 2015. WMS convenes every 2-3 years and serves as a platform for media organisations to interact and "pool collective wisdom for their survival and development." Read more about the three day summit here.