UNESCO Chair on Media Freedom, Journalism Safety and the Issue of Impunity, Professor Jackie Harrison, attended a workshop organised by the Centre for Applied Human Rights (CAHR), University of York. The conference entitled: Universities – Civil Society Collaboration to Protect Activists and Enhance Political Space focused on the role that universities can play in activism and protecting human rights defenders. The workshop featured speakers from around the world and discussion focusing on the potential collaborations that universities and civil society organisations can forge to support activism and provide protection.

The event also saw the launch of the UNESCO Chair in Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Expansion of Political Space, which is held by Professor Paul Gready. Professor Jackie Harrison, the UNESCO Chair on Media Freedom, Journalism Safety and the Issue of Impunity delivered a presentation outlining the key role of a UNESCO Chair alongside talking in detail about the work that she undertakes within the Centre for Freedom of the Media (CFOM) and the importance of networks in order to help with knowledge exchange and building capacity, citing the Journalism Safety Research Network (JSRN).

Professor Harrison also highlighted how UNESCO Chairs are involved in building bridges between various stakeholders, including academia, civil society, local communities and policy makers. She spoke on her role as UNESCO Chair and the work she does to build integrated networks with different stakeholders to address issues concerning media freedom. This has been achieved through research projects focusing on monitoring and also on journalism safety, citing the work of the academic consultation on occasion of the 10th anniversary of the UN Plan of Action on Journalism Safety and the Issue of Impunity. She also identified potential collaborative roles between the two UNESCO Chairs in relation to safety of journalists and the role that they play as human rights defenders.