About

Enhancing the status of press freedom is central to UNESCO’s mandate to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image, as a vehicle for advancing peace and dialogue. The Organization recognizes freedom of expression is both a fundamental human right in itself and an enabler of other rights.

Enhancing the status of press freedom is central to UNESCO’s mandate to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image, as a vehicle for advancing peace and dialogue. The Organization recognizes freedom of expression is both a fundamental human right in itself and an enabler of other rights.  

alone journalist in war zone

Every four years since 2014, UNESCO has published global editions of its flagship series of reports on World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development (World Trends Report). The World Trends Report responds to a key task assigned to UNESCO by its Members States in 2011 at the 36th session of the General Conference, which requested that the Organization "monitor, in close cooperation with other United Nations bodies and other relevant organizations active in this field, the status of press freedom and safety of journalists…and to report on the developments in these fields to the General Conference." 

The World Trends Report series also encompasses regular Issue briefs, which analyze emerging issues in freedom of expression and media development. In Focus and regional reports have also shed light on specific trends. The findings from these specialized reports are included and built upon in the Global Reports. 

The publications in the World Trends Report series are presented at the UNESCO General Conferences and other key events. The series draws on the expertise of many world experts and has been made possible with the support of several integral partnerships

Frequently asked questions

The global version of the Report is published every four years. Issue Briefs and other publications in the series are published in response to evolving issues in the field of freedom of expression and media development in between the global editions. 

The Report is funded by Sweden and the Multi-Donor Programme for Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists. 

The editorial coordination is ensured by UNESCO. The Report has an Editorial Team conformed by lead researchers, and regional and thematic researchers. 

An advisory group of experts around the globe renowned for their expertise in the report’s thematic dimensions also contribute to research, drafting and peer-review support. 

The Report is intended as a valuable resource to guide the work of policymakers, a strong instrument for advocacy by media and civil society organizations, and a critical source of information and knowledge regarding freedom of expression and media development.  

UNESCO organizes global and national launches in order to bring together policymakers, academia, civil society, the private sector, government and international organization to discuss the Report’s findings. The events are planned in close coordination with UNESCO Field Offices and National Commissions, as well as with the Report's researchers and peer reviewers. 

The publication is also distributed to Member States, partners, media and press freedom research networks.