Protecting journalists, bloggers and media actors in digital age

24 October 2013 - A Workshop on Human Rights in Bali, Indonesia

Internet Governance Forum 2013

Workshop # 98 Report

Protecting journalists, bloggers and media actors in digital age

Organizer Name 

Hu Xianhong

Organizer Entity 

UNESCO

Workshop Theme 

Human Rights / Freedom of Expression on the Internet

Consise description 

 

 

Parallel to unprecedented diffusion of online media and digital communication worldwide, there is a worrying trend that websites of news media, human rights organizations, critical bloggers, and other individuals or organizations that disseminate information have increasingly become targets of illegitimate surveillance, hacking and attacks from various sources ranging from states to third parties.  More extremely, some bloggers and online media actors are being killed for their online journalism.

 

Understanding threats to journalistic freedom and safety online requires us to revisit who counts as a journalist in digital era. The UN Human Rights Committee in its general comment No. 34 has put the emphasis on an important aspect: the distinctive communications activity itself – rather than the occupational status of the actor. This is by defining journalism as “a function shared by a wide range of actors, including professional full-time reporters and analysts, as well as bloggers and others who engage in forms of self-publication in print, on the Internet or elsewhere.” In this concept note, “journalists” is used as a broad term that includes all online media actors who do journalism.

 

UNESCO, Article 19 and CELE- UP (Center for Studies on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information, Universidad de Palermo) propose this workshop to address challenges linked to guaranteeing the rights and safety of journalists, bloggers, citizen journalists and others using digital media to produce news. To that end, Article 19 will share its recent policy recommendations on “The right to blog” as an introduction to more targeted interventions on the safety of journalists and online defamation. UNESCO will present its preliminary outcome from a global case studies and exchange key guidelines, good practices and policy recommendations to protect of the online safety of journalists and media actors. CELE-UP will focus on the case of online defamation since it poses particular dilemmas for governments, the private sector, as well as civil society with a variety issues to address  such as jurisdiction, intermediary liability and filtering content.

 

The outcome of the session will well contribute to the promotion of freedom of expression of online media actors and ongoing implementation of UN Action Plan of Safety of Journalists and Issue of Impunity.

 

Agenda 

Opening and Introductory Remarks by Chair 10’ Mr Guy Berger Director of freedom of expression and media development, UNESCO Presentation of speakers (35 minutes) Ms. Jennifer Henrichsen, UNESCO commissioned researcher on online safety Ms. Gabrielle Guillemin, ARTICLE 19, UK Mr. Eduardo Bertoni, CELE, Argentina Ms. Joana Varon-Ferraz, Getulio Vargas Foundation, Brazil Mr. Budi Putra, Chief Executive Officer of The Jakarta Post Digital Mr. Bambang Harymurti, Press Council for Indonesia Mr. Enda Nasution, Indonesian blogger Questions and Answers (45 minutes, also open to remote participation)

Moderator 

Guy Berger

Remote Moderator 

Xianhong Hu

Have you organized workshops at previous IGFs?

Yes

Workshop format 

Panel

Workshop Transcript 

Transcript

Brief substantive summary of the workshop and presentation of the main issues that were raised during the discussions 

 

UNESCO, Article 19 and CELE- UP(Center for Studies on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information,Universidad de Palermo) co-organized this workshop to addresschallenges linked to guaranteeing the rights and safety of journalists, bloggers, citizen journalists and others using digital media to produce news. The workshop, fully attended by around 100 participants from around the world, has widely challenges linked to guaranteeing the rights and safety of journalists, bloggers, citizen journalists and others using digital media to produce news. UNESCO presented its preliminary exploration of a global research on safety of online media actors in a series of thematic areas ranging from illegitimate surveillance, digital attacks to gender perspective and digital literacy and safety training. Article 19 shared its recent policy brief on “The right to blog” which stated that the main protections that apply to journalists should apply to bloggers (right to protect sources, accreditation and guarantee of safety). Panelists from Latin America and Indonesia as well as participates exchanged major challenges of protecting journalists and bloggers in their respective regions such as lack of law and the issue of impunity, new threats posed by digital technology and lack of awareness and education of digital literacy.


 

Conclusions drawn from the workshop and further comments 

 

UN Human Rights Committee’s new concept defining journalism as “a function shared by a wide range of actors, including professional full-time reporters and analysts, as well as bloggers and others who engage in forms of self-publication in print, on the Internet or elsewhere” was agreed and applauded by all participants.  And built on this consensus, participants called that main protections that apply to journalists should apply to bloggers (right to protect sources, accreditation and guarantee of safety). For this regard, complexities of the legal frameworks,  digital and physical attacks as well their social impacts should be further studied. Debates continue on the self-regulatory approach of developing and adopting code of ethical standards for bloggers.

The session was chaired by Mr Guy Berger, UNESCO Director of freedom of expression and media development. He pointed out that UNESCO tried to give this a holistic approach by pulling together all UN agencies to promote FOE and safety of journalists. The outcome of the session will well contribute to ongoing implementation of UN Action Plan of Safety of Journalists and Issue of Impunity particularly in supporting development of national strategies in the first four key countries.

 

 

Reported by 

Xianhong Hu

Estimate the overall number of women participants present at the session 

About half of the participants were women

To what extent did the session discuss gender equality and/or women's empowerment? 


It was one of the main themes of the session

Discussion affecting gender equality and women's empowerment 

Women and girls bloggers and journalists were paid much attention by the session.

Workshops Staticals 
Number of FEMALE participantsNumber of MALE participantsNumber of Young participantsNumber of Developing Countries ParticipantsNumber of Developed Countries ParticipantsNumber of LDCs participantsNumber of TOTAL Participants
45 55 10 60 30 10 100