The Journalism Safety Research Network panel ‘Attacks on journalists and the issue of impunity: The fight for sustainable journalism against its civil diminishment’ was held on June 22 at the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) conference in Oregon.

The point of departure for the discussions were the attacks which seek to undermine the role and value of free and independent journalism, in both peaceful and conflict settings, and which create unsafe environments for journalism – the argument being that the current  increase in these attacks at physical, digital and psychological have a potentially negative impact on the sustainability of journalism and its facilitation of inclusive knowledge societies with the ability to achieve peace and sustainable development (SDGs 16, 16.10).

Exploring how the civil diminishment of journalism occurs through the use of violence, attacks on the civil identity of journalism with impunity and the creation of the conditions of modern state censorship and self-censorship by journalists the panel examined; environments hostile to journalism in the context of civil sphere diminishment (Jackie Harrison and Sara Torsner, Sheffield University); the relevance of international normative agreements about the value of journalism that are already in place which now require extensive coordinated implementation strategies (Guy Berger, UNESCO); new and innovative means to collect extensive new data to analyse the global complexities of attacks on journalists and journalism (Vera Slavtcheva-Petkova, University of Liverpool); as well as a local exemplar of the reality of attacks on the civil standing of journalists and journalism (Ramon Tuazon, Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication).