The International Press Institute (IPI) is proud to announce the launch of a new project designed to strengthen the safety of journalists in sub-Saharan Africa.

Supported by a new three-year grant from Global Affairs Canada, the project will systematically collect information on press freedom violations in Africa, and IPI will carry out advocacy to strengthen policies protecting media freedom and journalist safety and hold states in Africa accountable for failures to protect journalists and prevent impunity for crimes against them. The project will also provide training on building mechanisms to protect against online attacks on the media and improving the ability of journalists and audiences to recognize and reduce the impact of disinformation campaigns.

Data collection and advocacy will be carried out across sub-Saharan Africa, with several pilot countries targeted for especially systematic data collection. IPI will be working closely with a network of local and regional civil society organizations across Africa and collaborating closely with existing monitoring and advocacy initiatives, and in particular the new Digital Platform for Safety of Journalists in Africa, a groundbreaking new effort to track threats to journalism on the continent. IPI is an existing partner of the platform and aims to support this important initiative.

IPI will also engage with relevant intergovernmental bodies to strengthen national and regional mechanisms to promote journalist safety in accordance with the U.N. Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists, which marks its 10-year anniversary in 2022.

“In Africa, as in many other parts of the world, attacks on journalists are on the rise despite government commitments to protect journalist safety and combat the impunity that only furthers such attacks”, IPI Executive Director Barbara Trionfi. “A growing atmosphere of illiberalism and efforts to undermine independent reporting through disinformation and targeted smear campaigns is worsening this situation. This project aims to defend journalists’ resilience against attacks on them and hold governments to account for failing to uphold their media freedom pledges, and we are grateful to Global Affairs Canada for their support of this important and timely initiative.”

The project seeks to support and protect the rights of journalists – with a special focus on women journalists – to carry out their watchdog role and impart public-interest information that allows citizens across Africa to hold the powerful to account. In doing so, it will engage IPI’s unique and powerful network of editors, journalists, and media executives from nearly 100 countries around the world, who share a common dedication to press freedom and independent journalism.

The initiative builds on IPI’s more than seven decades of experience monitoring press freedom violations and advocating for the rights of journalists do their job without harassment or retaliation

Read more about IPI’s work and our global membership network here.