Insights Government publishes report on its Call for Evidence on the safety of journalists


This Call for Evidence received 360 responses from journalists and provided insight into key issues concerning journalist safety in the UK.

The Government says that the findings should be treated as indicative given the self-selected nature of participation in the survey questionnaire provided, and the relatively small sample size achieved. However, it says, the survey was broadly representative of the journalist workforce in terms of characteristics such as gender, location and employment status (employed/self-employed/freelance). There was an over representation of ethnic minority responses relative to the journalist workforce as a whole.

The report focuses on key themes from the evidence provided and on areas that journalists expanded on within their responses. Key issues raised include:

  • a very high proportion of respondents had experienced incidents, particularly “abuse”, “intimidation” and “threats of violence”, taking place both online and offline at varying frequency;
  • responses confirmed the significant impact this has on journalists and their behaviour both professionally and personally, including influence on their journalistic output;
  • over one in three female respondents indicated that they do not feel safe operating as a journalist in the UK;
  • the majority of respondents did not report all incidents to platforms, police and employers, due in part to poor confidence that they would be progressed or taken seriously; and
  • responses implied low confidence in current arrangements of police and platforms to deal with incidents, with employers seen more ambivalently.

The Government says that the evidence confirms that further research is required to build a more robust picture of the issues covered in the Call for Evidence and to track change over time. The Government says that it continues to support the protection of journalists via the National Committee for the Safety of Journalists and the National Action Plan for the Safety of Journalists. To read the report in full, click here.