2022 marks the tenth anniversary of the UN Action Plan on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. This is a call for contributions to the first in a series of academic consultations on the anniversary of the UN Action Plan to be held as a hybrid event (at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris and online), jointly co-organised by UNESCO, the Journalism Safety Research Network, the UNESCO Chair on Media Freedom, Journalism Safety and the Issue of Impunity/Centre for Freedom of the Media, University of Sheffield, the World of Journalism Study and the Centre for Digital Politics, Media and Democracy, University of Liverpool. The event will support the formulation of a set of recommendations from the global academic community to the Ministerial Conference on the UN Action Plan in November 2022.
Journalists’ safety is an issue of growing concern not just in war zones like Ukraine currently but throughout the world as the range of threats is becoming more and more varied – from the most extreme manifestations such as killings, abductions and physical attacks to various digital attacks in the form of hacking, online harassment and surveillance to name but a few. This necessitates continuous discussion on and reexamination of what journalists’ safety actually means, and relatedly how our understandings of the concept might need to evolve to understand the impact of new forms of threats such as digital attacks and the compromised safety of women journalists. And following on from this explore how academia can best support the implementation of the UN Action Plan on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.
We invite contributions discussing how we can best understand the notion of the safety of journalists. What is journalists’ safety? How can it be best conceptualised with the aim of also aiding policy measures as part of the global agenda on the protection of journalists alongside the prevention and prosecution of crimes committed against them? How can we effectively bridge the gap between theory and practice?
Submission deadline: Abstracts (200 words) contributing to a discussion around journalists’ safety as outlined above should be sent to Dr Vera Slavtcheva-Petkova, Worlds of Journalism Study/Centre for Digital Politics, Media and Democracy, University of Liverpool at Vera.Slavtcheva-Petkova@liverpool.ac.uk and Dr Sara Torsner, Journalism Safety Research Network/Centre for Freedom of the Media at firstname.lastname@example.org by 13 May 2022.
Practical information: This event will be held on 30 May 2022 in a hybrid format, both as an in-person event at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris and with opportunities to participate online. Each accepted contributor will be asked to provide a brief presentation (in-person or online) during the session. Please indicate whether you will participate in-person or online. No written submission beyond the abstract proposal will be required.
Main outcome: The main outcome of the consultations will be a concise report exploring the key issues based on the objectives of this session and providing a baseline for further consultations (follow up consultations are planned to take place in the Summer/Fall of 2022) and eventual formulation of recommendations of the academic community to the Ministerial Conference in November 2022.
Organising committee: Professor Jackie Harrison and Dr Sara Torsner, Journalism Safety Research Network/Centre for Freedom of the Media, University of Sheffield, Dr Vera Slavtcheva-Petkova, Worlds of Journalism Study/Centre for Digital Politics, Media and Democracy, University of Liverpool and Mr Guilherme Canela De Souza Godoi, Chief, Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists Section, UNESCO.
Overall Objectives of the Academic Consultation Sessions on the UN Action Plan:
This session and the consecutive consultation sessions are aimed at bringing together the global academic community to:
- Take stock of the research conducted into issues of the safety of journalists since the adoption of the UN Action Plan in 2012, in line with recognizing academic research as one of the six priorities of the UNPA, and including on the occasion of the 7 past editions of the academic conferences on the Safety of Journalists on the occasion of the WPFD global conferences, as well was the launch of the UNESCO Research Agenda on the Safety of Journalists in 2015.
- Facilitate a broad discussion on how academia can support the continued implementation of the Action Plan (beyond 2022), particularly in bridging the gap between theory and practice, and highlighting concrete success stories of impact and of academic research transferred to improved action.
- Bring together diverse perspectives (disciplinary, cultural and geographical, with a particular focus on Global-South inclusion) on research related to issues of the safety of journalists that can feed into ongoing international multi-stakeholder consultation processes on the UN Action Plan.
- Discuss strategies of integrating emerging issues such as the safety of women journalists and the impact of technology on the safety of journalists, in mainstream academic research on safety of journalists.
- Discuss strategies of interdisciplinary research on emerging issues such as SLAPPS, digital threats, etc.
- Support the formulation of a set of recommendations from the global academic community to the Ministerial Conference on the UN Action Plan in November 2022.