Call for papers: UNESCO 2019 Academic conference on the safety of journalists – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (Funded)

Application Deadline:

  • Deadline for submission of abstracts: 18 February, 2019
  • Academic conference: 2-3 May, 2019

Journalists throughout the world are increasingly faced with threats that range from harassment to arbitrary detention, kidnapping, physical attacks, and in the most extreme cases, killing. Threats to journalist occur both online and offline and women journalists are particularly affected by gender-specific forms of attacks, such as sexual harassment and violence.

UNESCO is the mandated agency within the United Nations that promotes freedom of expression and freedom of the press as well as leads the coordination of the the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. Our statistics show that in the past decade more than 800 journalists, media workers and social media reporters have been killed.

As part of UNESCO’s annual flagship World Press Freedom Day celebration, to be held in Addis Ababa, from 2-3 May 2019 (with pre-events taking place on the 1 May) the Organization, in collaboration with a local university in Ethiopia (tbc) is organizing the Academic Conference on the Safety of Journalists.

The Academic Conference brings together researchers from different disciplines working on issues related to the safety of journalists. It also offers the possibility for researchers to connect with decision-makers and media practitioners. During the 23rd edition of the WPFD celebration (2016, Helsinki, Finland), the Journalism Safety Research Network (JSRN) (link is external) was launched, coinciding with the first edition of the Academic Conference. The network aims to strengthen the field of research and ultimately, contribute to safer environments for journalist by creating a space where multidisciplinary research on the safety of journalists can be developed, shared and promoted worldwide.

The event aims at bridging the gap between academic research and the experience of journalists on the ground. The theme of World Press Freedom Day 2019 is “Media for Democracy: journalism and elections in times of disinformation”.

The Academic Conference committee welcomes submissions/ papers/ research on all aspects of safety of journalists, impunity for crimes against journalists and governance and justice.

Topics that are especially encouraged for the 2019 Academic Conference are:

  • Specific threats faced by women journalists online and offline
  • The safety of journalists during times of elections
  • Journalists engaged in debunking and /or investigating disinformation
  • Impact of internet cut offs on journalistic work
  • How best to monitor and report on safety of journalists in terms of Sustainable Development Goals indicator 16.10.1 which specifies the “number of verified cases of killing, kidnapping, enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention and torture of journalists [and] associated media personnel” each annual cycle.

Submission for the Academic Conference:

Please submit abstracts of a maximum 300 words by 18th February, 2019 to Sandra Sharman: [email protected] (link sends e-mail)

The deadline for full paper submissions is 18th April 2019.

Based on the availability of funds, a limited number of partial/full sponsorship may be available for covering flights and hotel accommodation, with priority given to academics based in the Global South. Meals will be provided for all participants and no registration fee will be charged. UNESCO and the local partner university (tbc) will investigate publication opportunities for the best papers presented at the Conference.


The main events, including the Academic Conference of World Press Freedom Day, 2019 will be held at the Headquarters of the African Union Commission in Addis, Ababa.  For information about the Academic Conference please contact:

Sandra Sharman
e-mail: [email protected] (link sends e-mail)

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the UNESCO Academic conference 2019


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