More than 600 journalists and media workers have been killed in the last ten years. In other words, on average every week a journalist loses his or her life for bringing news and information to the public. Many more suffered non-fatal attacks, which means, being wounded, raped, abducted, harassed, intimidated, or illegally arrested. Particular attention should be given to safety of local journalists including freelancers. Local journalists make up 95 percent of journalists killed.
Can reporters be efficiently prepared to face the dangers?
It is very important that journalists receive training in how to survive in a hostile environment. Training of this kind can make the difference between life and death and normally consists of medical training and security training.
Even during “peace time”, when there is no active war, journalists are still exposed to dangers. For example, elections are a particularly sensitive period for reporting as tension tends to run high during the time. Investigative journalists are also particularly exposed to danger due to the nature of their investigations. UNESCO partners with many organizations to provide training for journalists and media workers including the International News Safety Institute (INSI), International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), International Media Support (IMS), and IREX.
Training is not only restricted for journalists but also to those who interact with them. UNESCO is producing manuals on training for security personnel, including how to carry out their professional responsibilities while respecting press freedom. This is an important area of safety training where UNESCO works closely with both the practicing journalists and the authorities.
Journalism Curricula on Safety of Journalists
The compendium of journalism syllabi represents UNESCO’s strategic response to the question: How can journalism education continue to renew itself? These questions are framed in an increasingly complex social, political and economic context. It builds on the original UNESCO Model Curricula developed in 2007 and adapted, since then, in over 60 countries. This new compendium also includes a new chapter on safety of journalists.