SafeJournalists Network is a regional network operating in seven Western Balkan countries, established in 2015 in response to the continued decline in journalists’ safety and media freedoms in the Western Balkans and the need for greater mutual solidarity among the journalists and media community in the region. Network’s vision is that journalists and other media professionals from the Western Balkan countries are free and safe to work in the public interest while respecting the highest professional standards. SafeJournalists Network works towards the vision by improving regional cooperation and advocating for an enabling environment for the protection of media freedom and the safety of journalists and media workers.
The Network members are the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (IJAS), Association of BH Journalists (BHJ), Croatian Journalists’ Association (CJA), Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AJK), Association of Journalists of Macedonia (AJM) and the Trade Union of Media of Montenegro (TUMM). The idea of this regional cooperation was driven by the need to act against growing restrictions on media freedoms by the state in the Western Balkan societies. The Network is active in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and in Albania with the help of a focal point – a researcher.
SafeJournalists network’s website safejournalists.net features a database of attacks on journalists (more than 1650 reported cases), network’s research, resources and other materials.
One of the five strategic objectives of the SafeJournalists network is to improve professional rights of journalists and media workers, particularly of women and local journalists. One of the ways to achieve this strategic goal is the campaign Women journalists in the front lines, an online exhibition championing women journalists who have continued to fight for the right of the public to know despite threats, attacks and gender based discrimination. The exhibition features 14 journalists from 7 countries in the region who experienced discrimination, pressure, threats, and even physical attacks, but continued with the work nevertheless. It first-hand shows the motivations, sources of strength, and main drivers of those who defend democratic values through the public’s right to know. We hope that the stories of women journalists will give strength and motivation to other professionals to continue doing the work they love.
SafeJournalists network will monitor, analyse, and report on women journalists’ rights violations with the aim of protecting women journalists’ safety and security. It will apply its expertise on the new research product – the qualitative analysis of violations of rights of women journalists and media workers. Seven national reports will be produced annually, based on a uniform methodology. Also, SafeJournalists’ database will be upgraded to include new categories on specific violations of the rights of women journalists. SafeJournalists will also work on networking with key women’s rights groups and actors from independent institutions to identify and formulate sustainable solutions to improve the position of women journalists.