The theme was announced during COLPIN, Latin America’s major gathering of investigative journalists, which took place in Canelones, Uruguay. The concept note is available at the following link.

The event will serve to highlight current challenges to the rights to freedom of expression and privacy, posed by digital business models, the development of new surveillance technologies, and large-scale data collection and retention. The impact of the increasing use of spyware against journalists and their sources, and the implications on the exercise of free and independent journalism will also be analyzed.

As highlighted in the latest UNESCO World Trends Report Insights Discussion Paper Threats that Silence, Trends in the Safety of Journalists, surveillance and hacking compromise the protection of journalists’ sources, as was recently illustrated by investigative journalism and factchecking organizations. According to UNESCO, protecting against digital threats has become even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic, with more journalists working remotely and relying on personal devices. In a global survey on journalism during the pandemic, conducted by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, a significant portion of the 1,406 respondents reported blatant threats of government surveillance (7 percent); targeted digital security attacks, including phishing, distributed denial of service (DDoS), or malware (4 percent); or forced data handover (3 percent).”

The World Press Freedom Day Global Conference will be held on 2-5 May 2022 in Uruguay, reuniting relevant policymakers, award-winning journalists, media representatives, specialised NGOs, activists, ICT corporate chief ethicists, cybersecurity managers, AI researchers and legal experts to explore and develop concrete solutions to address the threats posed by increased surveillance to press freedom and privacy. The conference will take place in a hybrid format, from the spectacular scenery of Punta del Este, Uruguay.

The Conference’s agenda is under development, and UNESCO is inviting partners to provide inputs on sessions’ topics related to “Journalism Under Surveillance” by filling out the survey at this link.

UNESCO is also looking for creative agencies, PR and marketing companies to develop the World Press Freedom Day global campaign. Interested companies can find more information on how to apply at this link. Find more here.

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