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Building peace in the minds of men and women

UNESCO Director-General's Report on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity

The UNESCO Director-General’s Report responds to a call from the 39 Member States in UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).

The Report is a unique mechanism within the UN system for monitoring the killings of journalists. It was first published in 2008, upon a Decision of the Intergovernmental Council of IPDC, which was renewed at subsequent sessions in 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020. These Decisions request the Director-General of UNESCO to provide an analytical report that includes the responses received from concerned Member States about judicial follow up to the killings of journalists.

The report is submitted every two years to the IPDC’s Intergovernmental Council. The Report was presented at the Council's Session. This is an occasion for Member States to take stock of global developments and discuss challenges linked to promoting the safety of journalists and combatting impunity.

UNESCO IPDC Council's Decisions on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity: 2008, 2010, 2012, 20142016, 2018 and 2020


 2020 UNESCO Director-General’s Report on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity


Key findings

  • In 2018-2019, UNESCO recorded a total of 156 killings of journalists worldwide. Overall, over the past decade, a journalist has been killed on average every four days. The year 2019 shows the lowest death toll recorded by UNESCO in the last decade with 57 deaths.
  • Impunity for crimes against journalists continues to prevail. 2020 saw, however, a slight decrease in the rate of impunity, with a percentage of 13% of cases worldwide reported as resolved in comparison to 12% in 2019, and 11% in 2018.

  • In 2019, the highest number of fatal attacks occurred in the Latin America and the Caribbean region, representing 40% of the total killings registered worldwide, followed by the Asia and the Pacific region with 26% of killings.

  • In 2020, 71 % of Member States reacted to the Director-General’s request, marking a 10% increase in comparison to the previous year.

  • Most journalists were killed in countries with no armed conflict: In 2018-2019, 89 journalists were killed in countries with no armed (54 in 2018; and 35 in 2019). The numbers killed in countries with armed conflict was 67 (45 in 2018 and 22 in 2019).



>> Read the mobile-friendly interactive version of the report available in all 6 UN languages.


>> Brochure with highlights available in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Russian and Chinese

>> Full report available in English and French





Click to download and share all the materials available in various languages on 2 Nov.