Recent years have seen an accelerated global political momentum to protect the safety of journalists online and offline, including recognition in the WSIS+10 Outcome Document, and it is appropriate for global Internet Governance stakeholders to address this crucial issue as a pre-event of the forthcoming 11th Internet Governance Forum in Mexico.
UNESCO has spearheaded the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity since 2012, as the first systematic mechanism with a multi-stakeholder approach to address the issue of safety of journalists and impunity in digital age. UNESCO seeks to present the UN Plan at IGF as a platform to exchange and coordinate and encourage further co-operation between UN agencies governments, private sector, civil society, media institutions and others on both the international and national levels. On top of this overarching theme, the Session is designed to shed light on four issues:
1. Building digital safety for journalism
UNESCO will take the occasion to launch the Spanish version of its Internet freedom publication “Building Digital Safety for Journalism”, following UNESCO Assistant Director General Mr Frank La Rue’s recent presentation of the book during his visit in Mexico in August 2016. This report analyses key digital threats to journalism, ranging from hacking of journalistic communications, through to denial-of-service attacks on media websites. It takes an inclusive approach that is relevant to any actor who is in danger of being targeted for doing journalism.
In examining cases worldwide, this publication surveys the evolving security threats, and assesses preventive and protective measures. It shows that digital security for journalism encompasses, but also goes beyond, the technical dimension. The report gives an overview of actors and initiatives working to address digital safety, and makes a set of recommendations for governments, journalism contributors, news organizations, trainers, corporations and international organizations.
2. UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication has developed the Journalists’ Safety Indicators, which have been implemented in three Latin American countries. The results of this experience, and how to improve the collection of information for monitoring digital safety will also be examined.
3. Combating gender based threats to women journalists and media actors: The session will particularly examine the gender aspect of the safety of journalists, as the UN Plan of Action explicitly recognises the risks that female journalists face and both the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council have acknowledged “the specific risks faced by women journalists in the exercise of their work”, and have underlined” the importance of taking a gender-sensitive approach when considering measures to address the safety of journalists”.
The session will discuss the multiple root causes in countering the proliferation of hate speech and harassment towards female media workers, referring also the UNESCO publications on Journalism sources in the Digital Age , Building Digital Safety for Journalism and Countering Online hate speech, which all cover a strong analysis from gender aspect and can provide food for thought in the session.
4. Sharing Good practice: Ending impunity and empowering the judiciary system by online courses such as MOOCs
In order to tackle the unacceptably high rate of impunity, where 9 out of 10 cases of killings of journalists are never resolved, the session can also share good practices in empowering journalists, media professionals, policy makers, judiciary system through comprehensive training courses. For example, since beginning in 2013, UNESCO had begun collaborating with the Supreme Courts in Latin America including Brazil and Mexico to create training programmes for judges and lawyers. More than 3000 judicial sector actors have taken this course in past two years. The course has also been adapted for journalists and lawyers in the Mexican state of Coahuila.
Moderator: Mr Carlos Tejada, UNESCO Mexico Office
Mr Guy Berger, UNESCO Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development
Mr. Liberto Hernández Ortiz, Subprocurador de Investigaciones Especiales para la Atención y Protección a Víctimas del Delito
Ms Patricia Colchero Aragonés, head of the Unity for the Defense of Human Rights at SEGOB
Mr Edison Lanza, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
Ms. Marta Duran, a journalist and expert of the national mechanism on defense of journalists in Mexico
Ms Erika Smith, Women's Rights team of Association for Progressive Communication
Mr Kim Pham, Deputy Program Director, IREX
Ms Courtney Radsch, Committee of Protecting Journalists
Mr David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression
Contact: Ms Xianhong Hu, UNESCO. (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Related links and publications:
Preparation meeting with panelists, 15 mins before the session
5’ Opening remarks from the Chair: Mr Carlos Tejada, UNESCO Mexico Office
Remarks by panelists
15’ Introduction by Mr Guy Berger, UNESCO Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development
8' Mr. Liberto Hernández Ortiz, Subprocurador de Investigaciones Especiales para la Atención y Protección a Víctimas del Delito
8’ Ms Patricia Colchero Aragonés, head of the Unity for the Defense of Human Rights at SEGOB
8’ Mr Edison Lanza, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
8’ Ms. Marta Duran, a journalist and expert of the national mechanism on defense of journalists in Mexico
8’ Ms Erika Smith, Women's Rights team of Association for Progressive Communication
8’ Mr Kim Pham, Deputy Program Director, IREX
8’ Ms Courtney Radsch, Committee of Protecting Journalists
8’ Mr David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression
Open floor to other stakeholders at present