Endorsing and protecting journalism of the highest standard

Microphone, on-air light and journalist

Our unique research centre examines media standards and exposes ways in which media freedom is undermined or abused.

The Centre for Freedom of the Media (CFOM), which is based at the University's Department of Journalism Studies, combines the skills and expertise of leading researchers with the experience and understanding of top journalists and editors.

CFOM works with a range of external stakeholders to evaluate the role of free and independent news media in building and maintaining political and civil freedoms worldwide.

In 2012, 90 journalists, six media assistants and 47 citizen journalists were killed around the world. These actions often go unpunished and this problem of impunity has major significance - signalling a serious and growing attack on mediated freedom of expression.

Current research at CFOM aims to provide an independent platform to assess the effectiveness of existing legal, political and institutional safeguards against violence directed at journalists. It also aims to present the case for more effective international mechanisms to counter such crimes of violence and to end impunity.

CFOM works with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in the implementation of the UN Action Plan (2013-14). The partners assist the UN and other authorities in bringing the issue of journalism safety and the problems of impunity to international attention.

The BBC College of Journalism and CFOM co-hosted a Symposium on Media Responses to Matters of Life and Death in 2012. The meeting brought media houses into the discussions about journalism safety for the first time. Delegates comprised 60 leading news media editors, frontline journalists, journalist associations and media freedom NGOs from 15 countries.

The meeting resulted in The London Statement, an eight-point plan, which was signed by 46 editors and journalists. The plan focused on the need for media scrutiny of the behaviour of governments and judiciaries to end impunity and was presented to UNESCO in November 2012.

Professor Jackie Harrison, Professor of Public Communication from the Department of Journalism Studies who Chairs CFOM, said: "It is now of great importance that media organisations report and understand the significance of this opportunity to protect the lives and work of journalists worldwide and to ensure that violence, impunity and injustice against journalists do not continue to thrive in silence."