Newsletter - Issue 18 (January/February 2016)

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.


UNESCO convenes media leaders to discuss impunity and safety of journalists in February 2016

On 5 February 2016, UNESCO co-organizes with its partners the international conference News organizations standing up for the safety of media professionals, aimed at the decision makers within media outlets, especially their owners, publishers, and editor-in-chiefs. During the different roundtables throughout the day, news organizations will be able to engage directly with Member States on the issues of impunity and the current measures strengthening safety of journalists worldwide. Read more.

© Guillermo Cano Foundation

UNESCO/Guillermo Cano Prize open for submissions until 15 February 2016

UNESCO invites nominations for candidates for this year’s UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. Awarded annually on 3 May, the Prize rewards a person, organization or institution that has made a notable contribution to the defense and/or promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world, especially if risks have been involved. Eligible entities to make proposals include international and regional organizations active in the fields of journalism and freedom of expression as well as governments of Member States, in consultation with their National Commissions. Read more.

© UN

UN General Assembly adopts new resolution on Safety of Journalists

The 70th General Assembly of the UN adopted Resolution A/RES/70/162 on the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity on 17 December 2015. It reaffirms and builds further on the previous resolutions, A/RES/68/163 of 2013 and A/RES/69/185 of 2014, of which the first one proclaimed 2 November as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. The new Resolution further calls upon Member States "to ensure that measures to combat not arbitrarily hinder the work and safety of journalists." Read more.


New version of UNESCO/RSF's Safety Guide for Journalists published

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has released an updated version of its Safety Guide for Journalists, produced in partnership with UNESCO. The handbook provides practical advice for media professionals going into high-risk areas, as well as cyber security and tips to protect sources, data, and communications. The publication was first published in 1992 and updated several times since. It is available in English, French, Spanish, and Arabic. Read more.


IFJ holds governments accountable and urges the enforcement of international laws to protect journalists

From 2 to 23 November 2015, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) ran their annual global campaign to end impunity. It held governments accountable for their impunity records and denounced any crime targeting journalists that remains unpunished. The campaign specifically emphasized four countries: Mexico, the Philippines, Ukraine, and Yemen. Furthermore, in its analysis of cases of killed media workers during 2015 the NGO urges the UN to take immediate steps in curtailing attacks against the media and to enforce the international laws that are set in place which safeguard journalists. Read more.


IFEX takes a strong stance against impunity on 2 November with 'No Impunity'-campaign

The IFEX network kicked off their international 'No Impunity'-campaign on 2 November, the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. Different commemorations, ranging from vigils to academic forums, were held to urge for an end to impunity. Under the #NoImpunity hashtag, organisations as well as individuals posted calls for change on social media regarding this critical issue. The campaign is focused on "building political will among States to prosecute crimes against free expression and find justice for those impacted". Read more.

© Al Jazeera Media Network

International Declaration and Best Practices on the Promotion of Journalists Safety launched

At an event organized in Geneva on 9 December 2015, the International Declaration and Best Practices on the Promotion of Journalists' Safety was launched. An initiative by the International Press Institute (IPI), the Al Jazeera Media Network (AJMN), the Africa Media Initiative (AMI), and the International News Safety Institute (INSI), the Declaration highlights the existence of numerous international mechanisms aimed at ensuring a safe environment for journalists and provides a set of best practices for news organizations to strive for greater safety. Read more.


Tackling Online Harassment of Women Journalists

For many women journalists today, online harassment has become more and more widespread. Aiming to shed a more personal light on this issue, the Global Editors Network interviewed Sidsel Wold, an award-winning journalist at the Norwegian National Broadcasting Company NRK, Elisa Lees Munoz, Executive Director of the International Women’s Media Foundation, and Helen Lewis, Deputy Editor of the New Statesman, a British weekly political magazine. Valuable insights are shared on how to deal with a toxic online environment geared towards women. Read more.


CPJ releases its annual report

The Committee to Protect Journalists published its annual analysis and states that Islamic militant groups are responsible for killing the majority of media professionals worldwide in 2015. Out of the 69 cases CPJ researched, 28 were targeted and killed by Islamic militants out of reprisal for their work. According to the report, Syria and France were the countries where journalists fell victim the most in the line of duty. Consult the full report here.

© Africa-EU Partnership

African Union and European Union to support Freedom of Expression in 2016

The African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU) held the annual AU-EU Human Rights Dialogue on 24 November 2015 in Kigali, Rwanda. In their commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights, they decided to jointly support a Continental Conference on Freedom of Expression as well as to jointly mark the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists in 2016. Both organizations also agreed to develop national action plans on the safety of journalists and of freedom of expression advocates in conflict zones in Africa. Read more.


INSI launched its Annual Review of 2015

The International News Safety Institute launched its annual review of 2015, listing the main activities of the organization to increase journalist safety during the last year. "The risks to journalists are as high as they have ever been - but from the United Nations down, the importance of journalist safety is being more clearly recognised and there are more initiatives to co-ordinate action across the sector", INSI Chairman Richard Sambrook declared. The NGO provides research and training focused specifically on safety. Consult their full report here.

© Reuters/Marconi Navales

IPI: 2015 one of deadliest years on record for journalists

According to the International Press Institute (IPI), 2015 was one of the deadliest years on record for journalists around the world. Last year, IPI added 98 names to its Death Watch, which since 1997 has listed cases of killed journalists deliberately targeted because of their profession. "Until all governments become serious about ending this cycle of violence, killers will continue to slaughter journalists with impunity and an already staggering toll will continue to grow", said IPI Director of Advocacy and Communications Steven M. Ellis. Read more.


RSF Annual Round-up of 2015 marks 110 journalists killed

According to the round-up report published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a total of 110 journalists were killed in the line of duty or for other unclear reasons in 2015. The report states that 67 of them were targeted because of their work or were killed while reporting. RSF attributes the heavy toll journalists pay to "deliberate violence against journalists", which is "indicative of the failure of the initiatives so far taken to protect media personnel". Read more.


Colombia's protective mechanism for journalists under scrutiny

The Bogotá-based Foundation for Freedom of the Press (FLIP) produced a report on the Colombian state's protection mechanism for media workers. Incorporating fifteen years of monitoring and research, the report analyzes achievements as well as failures and pushes towards modifications to the existing programme. Colombia established the mechanism in August 2000 and was the first country in Latin America to provide state protection specifically to media workers. Read the full report by FLIP here (in Spanish).


HEFAT courses open for participation

The Washington D.C. based Global Journalist Security (GJS) offers Hostile Environments & Emergency First-Aid Training (HEFAT) courses to media professionals, human rights activists, and NGOs during the first half of 2016. The curriculum ranges from digital security to casualty care and are designed to prepare participants for high-risk environments. All trainings will be held in Washington D.C., United States of America. Learn more about the curriculum and how to register here.

© UNESCO/Marc James

Marc James from Jamaica wins the Global design contest of WPFD 2016

A proposal with an image of speech bubbles in bright colors representing freedom of expression has been selected as the winning design for the visual identity of the upcoming World Press Freedom Day (WPFD). UNESCO received over 180 creative posters for the global competition, which aimed at highlighting the main theme of the year: ‘Access to Information and Fundamental Freedoms: This Is Your Right!’. Marc James from Jamaica is the designer behind the winning submission, coming out on top of the 23 shortlisted candidates. Read more.




Registration is open for participants for World Press Freedom Day 2016

Registration is now open to participants for World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) on 3 May 2016, which will be celebrated in Helsinki, Finland during an international three-day conference. Jointly organized by UNESCO and the Government of Finland, the main theme of the event is Access to Information and Fundamental Freedoms: This Is Your Right!. WPFD 2016 will highlight the links between the safety of journalists, press freedom, the right to information, and sustainable development in the digital age. On 3 May, the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize will be awarded. Read more.


IPI World Congress in March 2016 in Doha, Qatar

From 19 to 21 March, the International Press Institute World Congress Journalism at Risk - Safety & Professionalism in a Dangerous World will take place in Doha, Qatar. Hosted by the Al Jazeera Media Network, the international event will look deeper into ongoing developments within the media landscapes of the Arab Region as well as share best practices for journalists and media staff. Safety of journalists will be one of the common threads of the Congress, which will be attended by leading experts and top media commentators. Consult the event's website here.


Course on International Humanitarian Law for Journalists in April 2016

The International Institute of Humanitarian Law offers a tailor-made course for journalists and news providers on International Humanitarian Law (IHL) on 11-13 April 2016 in San Remo, Italy. The new initiative provides an overall introduction to IHL with regards to armed conflict and covers the dangers of reporting in dangerous conflict zones. The International Institute of Humanitarian Law promotes IHL, human rights, refugee law, and related issues through conferences, trainings, research, and roundtables. Read more about the course here.