Journalists' Safety Indicators

Developed within the context of the endorsement of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity by the UN Chief Executives Board and launching of an implementation strategy for 2013-2014, the purpose of the JSI indicators is to pinpoint significant matters that show, or impact upon, the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity. They allow for a mapping of key features that can help assess the extent to which journalists are able to carry out their work under safe conditions, and determine whether adequate follow-up is given to crimes committed against them. The JSIs serve to identify the actions that are taken by the various relevant stakeholders in promoting journalists’ safety and fighting impunity at national level. These actors include the UN, State and political actors, civil society organizations and academics, and media and intermediaries.

The JSIs especially serve as a basis against which changes can be systematically registered over time, these changes – hopefully – representing progress, and having a positive impact as regards the safety of journalists. As regards the United Nations, they can help UNESCO and other relevant UN agencies assess on a periodic basis the extent to which the implementation of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity has contributed to improving the security of media professionals in the countries participating in the roll-out of the Action Plan.

It should be noted that the indicators are not intended as a universal model, but rather as signalling a range of relevant items that can serve the purpose of mapping and understanding. They are therefore descriptive and are for the purpose of analysis not prescription. Not every indicator is relevant or even desirable in every context. However, any published findings should indicate the cases in which indicators have not been included for reasons of either suitability or absence of data.

There are two sets of indicators – one targeted for national assessment, and the other applies to the global level. There is also a handbook for applying the indicators:

  • UNESCO Journalists' Safety Indicators-International Level 2013 (ENSP)
  • UNESCO Journalists' Safety Indicators-National Level 2013 (ENFR, SPAR, PR)
  • UNESCO Journalists' Safety Indicators Guidebook 2013 (EN, SP, AR, PR)