The Assault on Journalism

Building knowledge to protect freedom of expression

Ulla Carlsson
Reeta Pöyhtäri
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People who exercise their right to freedom of expression through journalism should be able to practice their work without restrictions. They are, nonetheless, the constant targets of violence and threats. In an era of globalization and digitization, no single party can alone carry the responsibility for protection of journalism and freedom of expression. Instead, this responsibility must be assumed jointly by the state, the courts, media companies and journalist organizations, as well as by NGOs and civil society – on national as well as global levels.

To support joint efforts to protect journalism, there is a growing need for research- based knowledge. Acknowledging this need, the aim of this publication is to highlight and fuel journalist safety as a field of research, to encourage worldwide participation, as well as to inspire further dialogues and new research initiatives. The contributions represent diverse perspectives on both empirical and theoretical research and offer many quantitatively and qualitatively informed insights. The articles demonstrate that a new important interdisciplinary research field is in fact emerging, and that the fundamental issue remains identical: Violence and threats against journalists constitute an attack on freedom of expression.

The publication is the result of collaboration between the UNESCO Chair at the University of Gothenburg, UNESCO, IAMCR and a range of other partners.



Words of Introduction
Ulla Carlsson, Reeta Pöyhtäri

The Status of Safety of Journalists: Key Articles

Journalist Killings and the Responsibility to Report
Simon Cottle

Why the World Became Concerned with Journalistic Safety, and Why the Issue Will Continue to Attract Attention
Guy Berger

The United Nations’ Role in Promoting the Safety of Journalists from 1945 to 2016
Silvia Chocarro Marcesse

Gendering War and Peace Journalism: New challenges for media research
Berit von der Lippe, Rune Ottosen

Collaboration Is the Future: Doing research in the network era
Thomas Hanitzsch

The Way Forward

1. Reflection, Reconsideration, Collaboration

A Country without Mercy: Afghan journalists caught in crossfires
Elisabeth Eide

The Cost of Truth Telling in India: Reporting in the context of intolerance
Pradip Ninan Thomas

Philippine and Global Research on News Media Safety: Crossing disciplines, bridging gaps
Ramon R. Tuazon, Paz H. Diaz, Therese Patricia C. San Diego

UNESCO’s Research Agenda on the Safety of Journalists: Call for new academic research initiatives
Reeta Pöyhtäri

Setting a New Research Agenda: The establishment of a journalism safety research network
Jackie Harrison

Journalism Schools Must Include Safety Courses in Curricula
Magda Abu-Fadil

2. How to Measure Safety of Journalists

Assaults against Journalists: We see the tip of the iceberg
Katharine Sarikakis

Measuring Journalism Safety: Methodological challenges
Sara Torsner

Research Articles

Introduction: Explorations in an Emerging Research Field
Ari Heinonen

1. Threats and Violence against Journalists, and Its Effects

Tribal Journalists under Fire: Threats, impunity and decision making in reporting on conflict in Pakistan
Syed Irfan Ashraf, Lisa Brooten

How Journalists Survived to Report: Professionalism and risk management in the reporting of terror groups and violent extremism in North East Nigeria
Umaru A. Pate, Hamza Idris

Safety Concerns in the Nigerian Media: What gender dynamics?
Lilian Ngusuur Unaegbu

The Psychological Wellbeing of Iranian Journalists
Anthony Feinstein, Bennis Pavisian

Violence against Indigenous Journalists in Colombia and Latin America
Roy Krøvel

The Dangers of Sports Journalism
Kirsten Sparre

Current Research Highlights

Unwarranted Interference, Fear and Self-censorship among Journalists in Council of Europe Member States
Marilyn Clark, Anna Grech

Internal Threats and Safety of Journalists: A study from India
Sriram Arulchelvan

Australian News Photographers, Safety and Trauma
Fay Anderson

Risk and Resilience among Journalists Covering Potentially Traumatic Events
Trond Idås, Klas Backholm

2. Protection of Journalists and Sources

What’s Wrong with War Journalism? Why and how legal aspects of conflicts need better reporting
Stig A. Nohrstedt, Rune Ottosen

Embedded Journalism and Its Implications in the Field
Leire Iturregui Mardaras, María José Cantalapiedra González, Leire Moure Peñín

The Protection of Citizen Journalists during Armed Conflicts: A legal approach
Mariateresa Garrido Villareal

How Safe Is It? Being an activist citizen journalist in Turkey
Bora Ataman and Barış Çoban

A Story Bigger than Your Life? The safety challenges of journalists reporting on democratization conflicts
Judith Lohner, Sandra Banjac

How Unsafe Contexts and Overlapping Risks Influence Journalism Practice: Evidence from a survey of Mexican journalists
Sallie Hughes, Mireya Márquez-Ramírez

Current Research Highlights

Foreign Correspondents and Local Journalists: A key newsgathering partnership, for safety and for the global public good
Giovanna Dell’Orto

Freedom under Pressure: Threats to journalists’ safety in Pakistan
Sadia Jamil

Digital Safety among Nigerian Journalists: Knowledge, attitudes and practice
Olunifesi Adekunle Suraj, Olawale Olaleye

The Authors

Republication of: Time to Break the Cycle of Violence against Journalists. Highlights from the UNESCO Director-General’s 2016 Report on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity. UNESCO, Paris, 2016

1. UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity
2. UNESCO: Towards a Research Agenda on the Safety of Journalists

Book cover: The Assault on Journalism


Pages: 378
ISBN print
, print