The Executive Director of Media Rights Agenda (MRA), Mr. Edetaen Ojo, has been selected to serve as a member of the International Advisory Committee for the UNESCO project on “The Safety of Online Media Actors Doing Journalism.”
The International Advisory Committee consists of experts on digital security and press protection from around the globe who will advise researchers on the UNESCO supported research into the threats facing digital journalists and provide guidance on aspects of digital security and press protection during the project.
The research will result in the publication of a book that will “produce a qualitative picture of cases around the world linked to guaranteeing the safety of journalists using digital media.” The publication will be translated into several United Nations languages and disseminated around the world.
The ongoing research will analyse the role of governments, intergovernmental organizations, civil society and the media in the protection of online media actors. It will also provide guidelines, good practices and policy recommendations on how to respect the right to freedom of expression in the digital environment.
The publication will include policy recommendations that will be shared with member states of the United Nations in conjunction with the United Nations Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.
In initiating the project, UNESCO said it was motivated by the fact that “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 disseminating information have increasingly become targets of illegitimate surveillance, hacking and attacks from various sources ranging from State-based actors to third parties.”
UNESCO said it was “concerned about the online safety of journalists and its significant human rights implication, particularly on freedom of expression and related privacy protection.”
It said the research fits within UNESCO’s on-going efforts to implement the United Nations Inter-Agency Plan on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.
According to UNESCO, “it is clear that there is only limited information available about the extent of online threats and the digital safety literacy of journalists. To that end, UNESCO perceives a need to collect more information on the safety situation of online journalists across the globe.”
Mr. Ojo has been previously involved in a number of UNESCO initiatives. Between 2004 and 2007, he served as a consultant to UNESCO during which period he was appointed by UNESCO to provide technical support to the Government of Liberia and the Liberian media community in the post-war reconstruction of the Liberian media. In this capacity, he oversaw the Media Law and Policy Reform process in Liberia, which resulted in the adoption of a Freedom of Information Act by the Government of Liberia in 2010