SAFE - Securing Access to Free Expression

SAFE - Securing Access to Free Expression


SAFE is IREX’s flagship program to enable media practitioners and social communicators to continue their work as safely as possible. SAFE is experienced in supporting those working in closed and closing spaces, as well as other challenging environments.

SAFE equips these individuals with the means to resiliently continue their important work, and manage—as well as mitigate—the risks and threats they face in their day-to-day work. SAFE addresses safety through the unique lens of digital identity, physical awareness, and psychosocial care by delivering trainings in five regions spanning the globe.

Infographic: Over 8,800 journalists supported from 23 countries since April 2013. Gender composition: 49% female, 47% male, and 4% additional/other.

Quick Facts

  • Since 2013, the program has supported more than 8,500 journalists, including 4,900 who received holistic safety training, 3,200 who participated in solidarity-building events or received individual risk-mitigation support, and 44 media outlets supported through organizational risk-mitigation plans.
  • Over 83% of people who received training identified as belonging to marginalized communities.
  • 85% of participants reported that the knowledge they gained at a SAFE training was “very” or “extremely helpful” in addressing safety challenges they encountered after participating in a training.
As female journalists working on sensitive topics, we are exposed to additional threats such as having to deal with pressure from our society, family, and our support network. Thank you so much for the safe space you provided.
SAFE Trainee


  • Improve physical awareness, psychosocial care, and digital identity for media practitioners who are at risk globally.
  • Promote solidarity among journalists and media workers, both nationally and regionally, to build an enabling environment for the development of fortified groups, associations, and unions.
  • Connect media freedom groups, human rights defenders, and multilateral organizations.
  • Provide equitable access to all activities and to advance the rights of all, including those facing marginalization and discrimination. SAFE works to specifically include members of marginalized communities in program activities and to address their safety needs.
The training showed me how vulnerable journalists often are when neglecting their physical and digital security. For that reason, looking after ourselves is a necessary step. SAFE Trainee

Project Activities

  • Safety trainings: SAFE’s integrated safety trainings help journalists better navigate turbulent situations in order to provide alternative, independent media to their communities and the world.
  • Individual and Organizational risk management plans: Program staff create individual or organizational risk management plans for journalists and media professionals, as well as media outlets and groups, who may become vulnerable to threats due to investigative or other high-risk reporting activities.
  • Training of Trainers (ToT): The program uses this approach to enable local media outlets and organizations to foster their own expertise and conduct holistic safety trainings based on the needs of their community.
  • Solidarity events: SAFE uses solidarity events to bring together journalists and media workers, both nationally and regionally, to build a supportive and enabling environment for the development of fortified groups, associations, unions, and other platforms.