Report on Providing Safe Refuge to Journalists at Risk
Launch of the Third Report by the High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom
Authored by Professor Can Yeginsu, barrister and member of the High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom, the Panel’s report has been formally endorsed by: (i) the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, (ii) the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission, (iii) the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, and (iv) every major international non-governmental organisation working to promote media freedom. By reference to real life case studies, the report examines in detail the circumstances which make relocation necessary for journalists at risk today, finding that the pathways to safety open to them are too few in number and those that do exist are too slow, burdensome, and difficult to navigate to be capable of providing practical and effective recourse.
The 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.
The publication of the Report was accompanied by an Op-Ed by Professor Yeginsu entitled How to Fight Truth Decay: Protect the Truth Tellers published in Just Security on 23 November 2020.
The High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom is an independent body that was convened by the Chair Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury at the request of the UK and Canadian governments. The High Level Panel comprises a diverse group of leading lawyers from around the world, including the Deputy Chair, Amal Clooney and the IBAHRI Director, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC.
The event was organised by the Secretariat to the High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, as part of the International Bar Association's Virtually Together Conference.
- Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury former President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Professor Can Yeginsu Barrister, 4 New Square Chambers and member of the High Level Panel
Ms. Amal Clooney Barrister, Doughty Street Chambers and Deputy Chair of the High Level Panel
- Dr. Courtney Radsch Advocacy Director, Committee to Protect Journalists
Mr. David McCraw Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at The New York Times Company and Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School
- Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon UK Minister for South Asia and the Commonwealth and UK Minister for Human Rights
- The Honourable Irwin Cotler Chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights and former Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of Canada
- Baroness Helena Kennedy QC Director, IBAHRI and member of the High Level Panel
Experts urge states to create emergency visa for journalists at risk
Rappler, 24 November 2020
CPJ joins call for new emergency visa regulations to protect journalists fleeing threats
Committee to Protect Journalists, 24 November 2020
Legal mechanisms needed to share press burden of fighting corruption – IBA
Law Society Gazette, 26 November 2020
CFOM endorses report on providing safe refuge to journalists at risk by the high level panel of legal experts on media freedom
Centre for Freedom of the Media, 23 November 2020
IBA conference: Amal Clooney marks the end of ‘regressive leadership and moral bankruptcy’ of Trump era in media freedom talk
Legal Cheek, 24 November 2020
CJA welcomes experts’ report on safe refuge for journalists at risk
DAWN, 27 November 2020
Implementation of the report’s recommendations
- Recent Progress made by Media Freedom Coalition States to implementing the High Level Panel's recommendations in the Report on Providing Safe Refuge to Journalists at Risk. Read more
- In 2022, the Media Freedom Coalition States provided a total of 1,400 emergency visas to journalists at risk, as per the MFC's Annual Report 2022. Read more
- Following their announced commitment to implement the High Level Panel's recommendations at the Third Annual Global Confernece in Estonia, the Czech Republic provided over 800 emergency visas to journalists at risk globally. In September 2022, the High Level Panel and the Czech Republic announced this implementation at a side event to the 77th UN General Assembly, 'Providing Safe Refuge to Journalists at Risk in an Increasingly Dangerous World'. Speakers included Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, H.E. Jan Lipavsky, Deputy Chairs of the High Level Panel Professor Can Yeginsu (and report author), and Catherine Amirfar, Jodie Ginsberg of the Committee to Protect Journalists, and Roman Anin, former journalist at Novaya Gazeta seeking refuge in the Czech Republic. Watch video
- Following their commitment as part of the Second Summit for Democracy in March 2023, the High Level Panel and Estonia, with the Committee to Protect Journalists, held an event on 1st May 2023 as part of the Media Freedom Coalition events during World Press Freedom Day 2023, to formally announce their implementation of the High Level Panel's recommendations on safe refuge risk by providing unlimited humanitarian visas to journalists at risk and 35 residency permits annually. Speakers included Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia, H.E. Mart Volmer, Deputy Chair Professor Can Yeginsu, Estonian Ambassador of Human Rights Minna-Liina Lind, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic, Jodie Ginsberg of the Committee to Protect Journalists and Mohammad Mosaed, Iranian journalist. Watch video