AMIC Secretary General Ramon R. Tuazon urged research and academic institutions worldwide to conduct more scientific research studies on the safety and protection of journalists and media workers. The appeal was made during the closing plenary session of the UNESCO Research Conference on the Safety of Journalists held on 03-04 May in Helsinki, Finland.

According to Tuazon, while UNESCO believes that there is lack of research on the topic and there may be preponderance of anecdotal research, empirical research studies are lacking.

Tuazon cited the rich harvest of research studies presented during the two-day conference. “We need more of the latter to build solid knowledge and facilitate evidence-based planning and decision making on safety policies and programs,” Tuazon said.

SG Tuazon noted that the frequency and magnitude of attacks and violence committed against journalists and media workers worldwide have become more severe and relentless over the past few years.

The types of violence and their perpetrators have also become more diverse, while the violence committed can be more manifest (e.g., physical violence) or latent, or both.

After reviewing over 30 research studies presented during the conference, Mr. Tuazon observed that the concept of human security for journalists and media workers goes beyond life and limb. It also encompasses economic and social security.

Meanwhile, internal threats usually involves job insecurity resulting from suspension, dismissal from service, demotion, non-allocation of work, and transfers to other units

The other panelists for the closing session of the UNESCO conference were Ms. Albana Shala of the International Programme for Development of Communication (IPDC), Dr. Reeta Poyhtari of UNESCO, Dr. Silvia Marcesse, Prof. Jacqueline Harrison of the University of Sheffield, and Prof. Elisabeth Eide, Oslo and Akershus University College.

The conference brought together more than 50 academics from six continents. It was organized by UNESCO in partnership with the University of Sheffield (Centre for Freedom of the Media), University of Tampere, University of Helsinki, and International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR).