Global Freedom of Expression

IBAHRI: Report on Providing Safe Refuge to Journalists at Risk

Key Details

  • Region
  • Themes
    Press Freedom

This report was originally published by the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute. It has been reproduced here with permission and thanks. 

The Panel is considering best practices for states to provide safe refuge for journalists and those engaging in journalistic activity who have been targeted for their work. This includes identifying one or more models of protection that complies with international human rights standards and best practices in this area. Guidance for states will not only consider legislative proposals but also questions of policy in cases involving abuses of media freedom.

This Report recommends to members of the Media Freedom Coalition and partner States committed to the protection and promotion of media freedom: (i) the introduction of a new emergency visa for journalists at risk; and (ii) the implementation of a number of essential adjustments to the existing framework for safe relocation. To achieve these goals, the report finds that the following measures should be implemented:

1) States should introduce an emergency visa for journalists at risk.

2) In the absence of a journalist-specific emergency visa, States should commit to the expedited processing of visa applications received from journalists who are determined to be at risk.

3) In the absence of a journalist-specific emergency visa, States should provide an opportunity for journalists at risk making visa applications to provide information on issues of character and security that may arise (as often do for journalists subject to criminal investigation or charges for their work), and ensure that such visa applications are assessed fairly and accurately in the light of that, and other available, information.

4) States should commit to granting visas to immediate family members/dependents of journalists at risk who are granted visas.

5) States should issue travel documents to relocated journalists at risk if their home countries move to revoke or cancel their passports.

6) States should permit refugee protection visa applications to be made by journalists at risk, from within their home State.

7) States should make clear in their domestic law that journalists at risk can fall within the definition of a ‘refugee’ for the purposes of the Refugee Convention, or otherwise qualify for International Protection.

8) INTERPOL should require States seeking the issuance of a Red Notice to specify whether the subject of the notice sought is a journalist and, if it is, INTERPOL should conduct a robust Article 3 assessment regarding that individual before reaching a decision on whether or not to issue the Red Notice.

9) Signatories to the Global Pledge on Media Freedom should nominate ‘regional champion’ States, for two-year terms, to spearhead efforts in the provision of safe refuge for journalists at risk.
Read the full report below or find it here.


Can Yeginsu

Barrister, practising from 3 Verulam Buildings, UK