For several years, CFOM has been involved in improving the systematic collection of data on and monitoring of attacks against journalists, through collaborative work.
In 2018, CFOM and Free Press Unlimited (FPU) began working on research into improving the monitoring of attacks against journalists. The Department of Journalism Studies and Department of Computer Science at the University of Sheffield are collaborating on the project, which takes stock of the extensive knowledge bases developed over time with civil society organisations concerning the monitoring of abuse against journalists. The main goals of this work are to:
Find out more in this University of Sheffield featured piece here.
Harrison, J. and Torsner, S. (2022). Safety of journalists and media freedom: trends in non-EU countries from a human rights perspective. European Parliament, Directorate-General for External Policies, Policy Department (Report: June 2022 -PE 702.562). Available at: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document/EXPO_BRI(2022)702562
Harrison, J., Maynard, D. and Torsner. S. (2020). Strengthening the monitoring of violations against journalists through an events-based methodology. Media and Communication, 8(1), 89–100.
Harrison, J., Maynard, D. and Torsner, S. (2020). Final report: developing a prototype Sustainable Development Goal Indicator 16.10.1 monitoring toolkit. Free Press Unlimited. (Unpublished)
Harrison, J., Maynard, D. and Torsner, S. (2019). Pilot project on improving the collection and systematisation of information on incidents of violations against journalists. Free Press Unlimited. (Unpublished)
Harrison, J., Maynard, D. and Torsner, S. (2018). Improving the measuring of violence and abuse against journalists: A framework for achieving comprehensive monitoring. Free Press Unlimited. (Unpublished)
Torsner, S. (2022). Opportunities and challenges for academic engagement in the multi-stakeholder agenda to safeguard journalists. In Iordanidou, S. and Dagoula, C. (Eds.), 6+1 Proposals for Journalism: Safeguarding the Field in the Digital Era (pp. 160-172), London: Intellect Books.
Torsner, S. (2017). Measuring Journalism Safety: Methodological Challenges. In Carlsson, U. and Pöyhtäri, R. (Eds.), The Assault on Journalism (pp. 129-138). Gothenburg: NORDICOM.
On March 28 Dr Sara Torsner presented work on Strengthening the Monitoring of Human Rights Violations against Journalists through an Events-Based Methodology at the HURIDOCS (Human Rights Information and Documentation Systems) roundtable ‘The Events-Methodology: Pasts and Futures’.
In December CFOM members Dr Sara Torsner and Dr Diana Maynard, in collaboration with partner Free Press Unlimited, participated in a workshop for a regional community of press freedom organisations in Southeast Asia and contributed with expertise on the methodological development of the new platform to facilitate monitoring in line with SDG Indicator 16.10.1. Find out more about the new platform here.
On 26 October Professor Jackie Harrison presented the The report entitled “Safety of journalists and media freedom: trends in non-EU countries from a human rights perspective, co-authored with Sara Torsner. The Briefing analysed data and statistics regarding media freedom and safety of journalists in countries outside the European Union and served to provide the EU with scientific evidence to prepare its own initiative report on the matter. The briefing can be found here.
On September 21, Dr Sara Torsner participated in the First Roundtable of the OSCE Representative of Freedom of the Media Safety of Journalists Project on Data Collection, Analysis and Reporting on Attacks and Violence against Journalists. Sara Torsner presented on ‘The need, scope and possibilities for strengthened data collection on violations against journalists a basis for prevention, early warning and early action’. The Outcome Report is available here.
On September 19-20 Professor Jackie Harrison, Dr Diana Maynard and Dr Sara Torsner participated in the workshop hosted by Free Press Unlimited and discussed possibilities to strengthen systematic shadow monitoring of violations against journalists in line with SDG 16.10.1.
Leon Willems (FPU), Professor Jackie Harrison, Dr Diana Maynard and Dr Sara Torsner discussed possibilities for academic impact and multi-stakeholder collaboration -strengthening the monitoring of violations against journalists to support shadow reporting of SDG Indicator 16.10.1 as part of the Consultation on the UN Action Plan on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity on the occasion of its 10th Anniversary (July 11-15).
CFOM research team Professor Jackie Harrison, Dr Diana Maynard and Dr Sara Torsner presented work focusing on building local monitoring capacity through a human rights-based approach to the systematic monitoring of violations against journalists in line with Sustainable Development Goal 16.10.1 (April 29). At the same conference research on monitoring violence against women journalists: a gender-sensitive approach to documenting abuses (Maynard, D., Harrison, J., Torsner, S., and Posetti, J.) was also presented.
Presentation of research project on trialling a prototype Sustainable Development Goal 16.10.1 monitoring toolkit and training of civil society partner organisations, online event, December 14, 2020. The Chair and project research team members Sara Torsner and Diana Maynard hosted the event together with collaborative partner HURIDOCS which is a civil society organisation working to develop methodologies for the documentation of human rights violations. The background and context to the research project, alongside the developed monitoring methodology and human rights violations categorisation system, and practical demonstrations of the online documentation platform and tools for automated text extraction were presented to three partner civil society organisations that monitor attacks on journalists in local contexts (Justice for Journalists Foundation (Russia and post-Soviet states); the Nigerian Press Attack Tracker; the Independent Journalists Association of Serbia).
Dr Diana Maynard, Dr Sara Torsner and Professor Jackie Harrison presented the ongoing research project with FPU. They explained how the issues that they face in monitoring attacks against journalists included accessibility of reliable information on a range of abuses and the lack of the categorisation and systemisation of it, making it difficult to engage with SDG 16.10.1. They also noted that the monitoring scope needed to be widened to include the full range of attacks, both physical and non-physical to gain a complete picture of the threats journalists face. The CFOM team suggested adopting an events-based methodology as opposed to a person-based approach to collect data. More can be read about this suggestion here and in the research paper published by the team here.
The joint CFOM and UNESCO panel was entitled ‘Monitoring violations against journalists as part of a co-ordinated response to attacks on their fundamental right’. Former UNESCO Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development, Guy Berger, addressed the panel and emphasised the importance of academic engagement to understanding the issues of journalism safety. CFOM and UNESCO Chair Professor Harrison also noted the important role of academia in understanding journalism safety. CFOM Researchers Professor Jackie Harrison, Dr Diana Maynard and Dr Sara Torsner presented research on how the monitoring of SDG 16.10.1 can be strengthened through further discussion of their events-based methodology towards monitoring attacks against journalists. More can be read about their presentation here.
Members of the CFOM team, including CFOM Chair Professor Jackie Harrison and Research Associate Sara Torsner, alongside Leon Willems, Director of Free Press Unlimited, presented a research paper and a proposal. The paper was titled: ‘Monitoring violence against journalists: A methodology for comprehensive and systematic data collection’ and the proposal was titled: ‘Strengthening national monitoring of violence against journalists – a proposal for improved data collection’.
On May 24 2018, CFOM Research Associate Sara Torsner took part in a technical consultation on UNESCO’s monitoring of the safety of journalists in Paris. The meeting was a follow up to the meeting on monitoring the safety of journalists under SDG 16.10.1 which was held in June 2017. The consultation explored greater co-operation between stakeholders in data gathering alongside new ideas for how the data collected can be used.
Academic research can contribute to this agenda of protection by examining problems of safety from a range of different angles and perspectives