Journalists are often targeted with physical violence, expensive lawsuits and prison sentences by those who want to silence them. The Justice and Safety programme serves to protect journalists, for example through training. It also supports journalists who find themselves in danger with measures including a fund for legal emergencies and affordable insurance.

Safety is a basic need for journalists. They require physical security to report objectively and independently. Over the past decade, safety of journalism has deteriorated: in 2018, at least 251 journalists were in prison because of their profession and at least 52 were killed. The Justice and Safety programme aims to break this worrying trend, offering protection and support for journalists in dangerous situations. The programme includes legal support, affordable insurance and safety training.

Help in legal emergencies

In many countries governments muzzle journalists by suing them, leading to high legal costs. The establishment of a fund for legal emergencies is an important part of the Justice and Safety programme.

Journalists (Dutch and non-Dutch) who run into legal issues outside of the Netherlands can apply for help from the Legal Defense Fund. The fund provides financial assistance, for example for a lawyer or court costs. Families of imprisoned journalists who are breadwinners can also apply for financial assistance.

Insurance and training

Insurance for journalists is often very costly or does not offer complete coverage. In 2019, Free Press Unlimited will set up a fund to help Dutch and foreign journalists obtain affordable insurance outside of the Netherlands.

To protect journalists from physical, psychological and digital security risks, Free Press Unlimited will also develop an online training platform. Journalists can use it to follow security trainings which have been adapted to their region.

Violence against and intimidation of journalists, as well as a high measure of impunity for these crimes, causes (self)censorship. With the Justice and Safety programme, Free Press Unlimited wants to make sure that journalists can do their work free from danger.