Newsletter - Issue 22 (September/October 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/Farah Abdi Warsame

UNESCO and the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights partner to fight impunity for crimes against journalists

In preparation of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (2 November), UNESCO and the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights hosted an inter-regional dialogue in Arusha, Tanzania, on 10 September to raise awareness and help reinforce capacity building of law professionals in Africa regarding freedom of expression, the safety of journalists, ways to ending impunity, and the need to decriminalize defamation. Representatives of the judiciary, NGOs, and intergovernmental organizations took part in the seminar. Read more.


Media forums on rights, safety and security of journalists held in Kenya

Kenyan journalists increasingly face threats, attacks, and intimidation in carrying out their job. Last year, more than 60 journalists encountered hardships according to the new UNESCO study Supporting Safety of Journalists in Kenya: An assessment based on UNESCO’s Journalist Safety Indicators. In order to mitigate these dangers, the Kenya Correspondence Association (KCA) organized three media forums for local media during July 2016 in partnership with UNESCO, covering safety of journalists, media policies, and 21st century challenges. Read more.


'Building Digital Safety for Journalism' presented in Mexico

On 5 August 2016, the Spanish translation of the UNESCO study Building Digital Safety for Journalism: A Survey of Selected Issues was officially released. The study offers an overview of the key digital threats towards journalism and its translation makes it easily available to the entire Spanish-speaking world. UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, Frank La Rue, and Ambassador Joel Hernández, Director-General for the United Nations in Mexico, co-presented the global report in UNESCO Office Mexico. Read more (in Spanish).


Training of security forces on Safety of Journalists a great succes in Gabon

Over the course of June 2016, 200 police and national defense officers attended trainings to ensure the Safety of Journalists during security and law enforcement operations. In partnership with UNESCO, 4 trainings were organized by the Gabonese government in four different cities across the country in order to generate the largest audience possible. Ahead of the Presidential elections on 27 August, the trainings were part of the project "Support for the electoral process by the strengthening of the freedom of expression and the safety for the journalists". Read more (in French).


Academic Research in the Safety of Journalists further encouraged by launch of new network

During the 2016 International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) conference in July 2016, UNESCO organized a workshop as part of its efforts in stimulating academic research via its Research Agenda on Safety of Journalists. A group of 40 researchers participated in the event taking place at the University of Leicester, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The special academic session was marked with the launch of the Journalism Safety Research Network, hosted by the Centre for the Freedom of the Media (CFOM). Read more.


Safety of journalists in Viet Nam promoted through enhanced capacity of media professionals

International conventions, national media legislation, and normative frameworks on the safety of journalists were covered in two trainings facilitated by the Ministry of Information and Communications of Viet Nam in partnership with UNESCO. Held in August 2016, the trainings responded to the need of local media professionals who have experienced obstruction in their work, including risks to their safety. Additionally, Vietnamese journalists were made fully aware of the legal frameworks in place which protect media freedom both nationally and internationally. Read more.


UNESCO and Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) join efforts to promote safety of journalists in Pakistan

Pakistan was among the first four countries who actively implemented the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. Continuing under this framework, a three-day training jointly organized by UNESCO and the Pakistan Press Foundation (PFF) in July 2016 instructed local journalists on how to determine appropriate safety and security measures through risk assessment as well as how to apply first aid. The training aimed to improve the personal security of journalists and media workers active in conflict and post-conflict areas in Pakistan. Read more.


Strengthening the safety of Yemeni journalists in Taiz

In a conflict zone, building up the safety skills and knowledge of journalists reporting from the frontline is essential to ensure free flow of information to the public. The situation in Yemen has called for urgent measures to protect the safety of media workers and it is as part of this effort that UNESCO recently partnered with the Studies & Economic Media Center (SEMC) and the Rory Peck Trust (RPT) to organize a five-day hostile environment training for 13 Yemeni journalists in Taiz, Yemen. Read more.


'Counter-terrorism measures should not inhibit the work of journalists' - OSCE Representative Mijatović

In countering terrorism and violent extremism, national governments are prone to limit freedom of expression and freedom of information to preserve the security of their citizens. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Representative on Freedom of the Media, Ms Dunja Mijatović, has called on OSCE Member States to ensure that these fundamental freedoms remain guaranteed: "It is of utmost importance that journalists' freedom and safety are ensured when reporting on terrorism." Read her full communiqué here.

© Atomic Reporters/IPI

Safety guidelines for reporting on nuclear incidents released

Nuclear incidents and related accidents present a hazard for the media covering them as their safety is often overlooked. It is with this understanding that the NGO Atomic Reporters released a safety guide providing the basic steps and checklist on what to do when reporting from a site with a lot of radiation and risk of contamination by long-term exposure. The guide explains the different types of radiation incidents, the health risks associated with contamination and protective measures for journalists. Read more.

© Council of Europe/ELSA

Comprehensive report on freedom of expression and the protection of journalistic sources in Europe published by the Council of Europe and ELSA

After a full year of research, the Legal Research Group on Freedom of Expression and Protection of Journalistic Sources of the European Law Students' Association (ELSA), in close cooperation with the Council of Europe (CoE), published its all-inclusive report in August 2016 on the legal situation of journalism within the 28 CoE Member States. It covers in detail each country's legislation with regards to freedom of expression as well as the protection of confidential sources. Without clear legislation, violations tend to be more frequent, the report found. Consult the full report here.


MFWA emphasizes training of security forces to protect journalists and halt violent extremism

As part of its submission to the compilation report of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on best practices to prevent and counter violent extremism, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) highlighted the training of police and security forces in protecting journalists and safeguarding the fundamental right to freedom of expression. The West-African NGO also called for universal accountability in crimes committed against journalists, as they inhibit media's ability to report on sensitive topics out of fear of reprisal. Read more.


INSI Report: Afghanistan most dangerous country for journalists in first half of 2016

The International News Safety Institute (INSI) published the results of its biannual survey of journalist casualties in Killing the Messenger: January - June 2016. According to the report, 49 journalists and media workers lost their lives in 2016, of which 10 in Afghanistan, the highest number for a country. These statistics represent a slight decline when compared to the same period of 2015, where the total tally was 60. According to INSI, this could be due to a decrease of journalists reporting from Syria and increased censorship in other countries. Read more.


Recommendations on protecting journalists from online harassment

The International Press Institute (IPI) has published a list of recommendations aimed at different stakeholders in countering online threats and harassment towards journalists and bloggers. Each stakeholder's role, ranging from internet intermediaries to intergovernmental organisations, was identified and provided with concrete advice to strengthen online media security. These recommendations were the result of a high-level panel session on digital safety for media workers organized during RightsCon in San Francisco, United States earlier this year. Read more.

© Rio 2016/IOC

Olympic press freedom monitoring tool debuts at Rio 2016

Last month the Olympic Games took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil and for the first time in its history, an online mechanism was specifically created where reporters covering the largest sporting event in the world could lodge an official complaint whenever they had experienced a press freedom violation. The reporting tool was a result of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) consultation with the Committee to Protect Journalists and is part of the Olympic Agenda 2020, IOC’s strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement. Read more.




International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists 2016

To commemorate the International Day to End Impunity (IDEI) on 2 November 2016, UNESCO and its partners will organize multiple events worldwide which will highlight the issues of safety of journalists and impunity on all levels. On 10 September 2016 the International legal seminar in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania will serve as the official start of the build-up towards IDEI 2016. Events will be held in New York (USA), Geneva (Switzerland), The Hague (The Netherlands), Astana (Kazachstan), Hanoi (Viet Nam), and Kabul (Afghanistan). Read more.


UNESCO Director-General to release new report on Safety of Journalists and Impunity

Since 2008, UNESCO's Director-General has published a special report every two years on the global state of the safety of journalists and the progress made in cases of killed media workers. The global report is based on official responses from Member States about the judicial proceedings and is elaborated in the context of UNESCO's International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), which plays an important role in monitoring the safety of journalists and in preventing the impunity of those who perpetrate crimes against them. Read more.