Just launched: Free online course for police officers on freedom of expression and safety of journalists


UNESCO, the International Police Association (IPA) and IBZ Gimborn Castle launched a joint Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for members of law enforcement and police officers to raise awareness on international and regional standards on freedom of expression, access to information, and safety of journalists.

Already, the MOOC has engaged over 2,200 members of police and law enforcement agencies, judicial actors, and journalists, from 130 countries around the world. Registration remains open here:

This free, self-paced course, from 11 July to 18 August 2022, aims to enhance the capacities of law enforcement officers – including trainers of police, gendarmerie, security and police trainees, intelligence officers, riot police, spokespersons of police and investigators – on these important topics. After 18 August, the course will be accessible for participants to complete until September 2022. In addition, the course is also open to judicial actors, including judges, prosecutors and lawyers, journalists and academia.

This unique training course aims to equip law enforcement officers with the necessary tools and resources to maintain public order whilst safeguarding the right to freedom of expression. It will further contribute to building more professional relationships between media, and law enforcement officers – which serves to increase the trust of citizens in police institutions and reinforce the rule of law.
Guilherme Canela Chief of UNESCO’s Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists Section
By registering for this MOOC, you will contribute to a safer and more peaceful world. This is ever so important today with a decrease of democracy worldwide and an unsafe world. Journalists are working on behalf of democracy, reporting from war zones, conflict areas, demonstrations and governmental buildings, places where we as police officers are present to protect the public and at the same time, freedom of expression.
May-Britt V.R. Ronnebro Secretary-General of the International Police Association

The online course will be divided into five modules, followed by a live webinar on 18 August 2022. The modules will focus on, (1) The Legal Framework; (2) The Limits of Freedom of Expression; (3) Freedom of Information – Right to Information; (4) Ensuring Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists by State Bodies; (5) Police: Social Media and Digital Technologies.

The course will be led by experts in the field of policing, human rights, and freedom of expression, and will include high-level guest speakers such as United Nations experts, senior law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and human rights lawyers.

To facilitate global access to the course, a summarized version (including written module summaries and key speaker videos) will be available in Arabic, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

The course is part of a new partnership established between UNESCO and the IPA, to build skills among police and security personnel in upholding freedom of expression and protecting journalist safety.

This initiative was supported by the Netherlands through the UNESCO International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), as well as the Multi-Donor Programme on Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists (MDP).

It falls in the framework of UNESCO's capacity-building activities for law enforcement officers, which has, since 2013, engaged over 10,800 security forces  from 120 countries on freedom of expression and safety of journalists, through on-ground and online training workshops and the ongoing global MOOC. In this regard, UNESCO also published the Training Manual on Freedom of Expression and Public Order to provide security forces with both practical and theoretical tools to promote and protect freedom of expression.