World Humanitarian Summit



As the UN agency mandated to protect freedom of expression and with an active role in promoting journalists' safety worldwide, UNESCO brings In Their Press Vests to the World Humanitarian Summit Expo in Istanbul to advocate for journalists’ safety during crisis situations.

In Their Press Vests is a 360o virtual reality film that invites visitors to follow the everyday work of journalists in Syria, bringing insights of the dangers that put their lives at risk and the difficult decisions which they are faced when covering news. The film was produced by UNESCO, in partnership with The Association for the Support of Free Media and with the support of the Government of Finland.

Users are engaged into an immersive experience to understand the working conditions of Syrian journalists, many of which started as citizen journalists documenting the civil unrest, and who have become increasingly professional.

The scale and number of attacks against journalists and media workers is disquieting. Between 2006 and 2015, UNESCO condemned the killing of 825 journalists around the world. In more than nine out of ten cases, those responsible for the killing are never punished.

By presenting In Their Press Vests at the World Humanitarian Summit Expo, UNESCO continues its work to advocate for the safety of journalists, freelancers, bloggers and social media producers as well as journalism sources, many of whom are frequently casualties of con­flict, as well as direct targets of attacks that go unpunished. When crimes against journalists continue with impunity, a vicious cycle is fed, posing a serious threat to freedom of expression.

Attacks against journalists are also perpetrated in non-conflict situations. Threats of prosecution, arrest, imprisonment, denial of journalistic access and gender-based harassment continue to be tactics to silence journalism. The threats are also digital as journalists become hostage of intimidations that imposes on journalists a fear of reprisal.

Despite these dangers, the work that journalists, bloggers and social media producers do to cover the news in confl­ict zones is vital to build a plural and diverse media. But more attention needs to be paid to their safety in order to provide the grounds for freedom of expression.


UNESCO booth at World Humanitarian Summit Exhibition Fair

May 22-24
Istanbul Congress Centre
Harbiye, 34367 Şişli/İstanbul, Turkey
Booth number S 137.


Know more about what UNESCO is doing to stand for freedom of expression and journalists’ safety:


Related Publications available at Booth:

Also available at the booth: UNESCO publications on Education in Emergencies, Disaster Risk Reduction and Heritage at risk.