On occasion of the tenth anniversary of the UN Plan of Action in 2022, CFOM was asked to lead the academic consultation. It has done so via the Journalism Safety Research Network (JSRN) and its UNESCO Chair on Media Freedom, Journalism Safety and the Issue of Impunity (established at the University of Sheffield in 2018). To support wider inclusion, participants in the academic consultation were also reached through collaborative partners and their extended networks, including those of UNESCO, the Worlds of Journalism Study and the Centre for Digital Politics, Media and Democracy, University of Liverpool.
The academic consultation included 75 academics from Africa, the Asia-Pacific region, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and North America with further written input from other academics also received. Three rounds of the academic consultation took place. The first round was held at UNESCO HQ in Paris (pictured right); the second round at the International Association of Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) Conference; and the third round was held online and focused on the draft recommendations developed by CFOM based on the previous two rounds and the literature stocktake. The literature stocktake was conducted on peer-reviewed academic research on issues of journalism safety and impunity. In total 447 publications between 1992 and May 2022 were read and analysed.
Above and below image: First round of the consultation at UNESCO HQ in Paris
Above image: Professor Jackie Harrison at the Pre-Conference. Credit: Bundesministerium für europäische und internationale Angelegenheiten
Above image: Pre-Conference at Palais Niederösterreich Credit: Bundesministerium für europäische und internationale Angelegenheiten
Above image from left to right: Gemma Horton, Lada Price, Jackie Harrison and William Horsley
An overview of the findings of the consultation were presented by UNESCO Chair Professor Jackie Harrison at the Safety of Journalists: Protecting Media to Protect Democracy High Level Conference in Vienna, Austria on 3-4 November 2022. Professor Harrison delivered a presentation at the Pre-Conference on the 3 November where she highlighted the key trends in journalism safety that had been raised during the three rounds of the academic consultation, alongside reflecting the current landscape of literature published in the area. Key areas highlighted included digital threats, misuse of legislation and gender-specific safety issues. Recommendations were discussed as to how academia can continue to contribute towards understanding the threats that journalists face. These included developing a journalism safety curriculum and there were also calls for sufficient resources to be given to academics to further research, such as through financial and human resources support. The academic report has been sent to UNESCO who reflected on some of the key issues highlighted in their own report which can be found here.
Other members of the CFOM team took part in the conference. International Director, William Horsley, was a speaker in the workshop concerning Monitoring and Reporting of Attacks at the Pre-Conference while Dr Gemma Horton and Dr Lada Price took part in workshops concerning gender-safety issues and national mechanisms. The Pre-Conference was organised by UNESCO in order for stakeholders to gather and develop recommendations to improve the implementation of the UNPA. These findings were then presented to participants of the High Level Conference. A recording of the conference can be found here.