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The University of Liverpool is one of the top UK universities, member of the prestigious Russell Group of 24 leading UK universities.

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The Worlds of Journalism Study is a cross-national collaborative project assessing the state of journalism in the world through representative surveys with journalists.

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UNESCO is the lead UN Agency for promoting freedom of expression and safety of journalists as part of its mandate to “promote the free flow of ideas by word and image”.

Ksenia Ermoshina

PhD, senior researcher at Center for Internet and Society of the CNRS and the Citizen Lab, University of Toronto

infrastructure studies holistic security information controls

Ksenia Ermoshina's research explores surveillance and censorship technologies and their implications on journalists safety, in an interdisciplinary manner. She combines ethnography, STS (science and technology studies), information control studies and network measurements to analyze how precisely information control is applied in contexts of armed conflicts such as Russian war against Ukraine, or in contexts of digital authoritarianism (such as Russia, Belarus, Iran and other territories with strict Internet censorship and digital surveillance). Her research suggests to analyze journalists' safety from a holistic point of view, as a situated and multi-layered, relational process, which has to be constantly updated and improved, in light of what we know about the adversary capacities. A major part of Ksenia Ermoshina's research concerns end-to-end encrypted messaging and email apps, development and usage of encryption protocols and political and social implications of encryption. Besides academia, she is involved in software development as a UX researcher, she helps improve such projects as Delta Chat, Ouisync and Ceno browser, aimed at journalists working in at-risk areas.

Definition of journalists' safety

Journalists' safety is a multi-layered complex process, and not a stable "state". It should be constantly redefined and updated in the light of the adversary's technical, legal and political capacities. Journalists' safety is never about tools, we should move away from the "tool-centered approach", and instead, we should think of concrete situations and lived experiences. Threat modelling and risk analysis are, by far, the only "tools" that we can recommend without any doubt to any journalist who wishes to improve their security and safety. Safety is relational and collective: it is always about a "we" and not a "me". Organizational security is, therefore, a key to help maintain individual safety.

Future plans for research on journalists' safety

I plan to examine how the blocking of VPNs in Russia has changed the way Russian independent media are delivering their content to their readers, and which security and safety implications this has for both readers of the blocked media and for journalists themselves.
Research focuses:
Psychological, Digital, Holistic
Methods used in research:
Interviews, Quantitative content analysis, Qualitative content analysis, Ethnography, Network measurements
Countries of research focus:
Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Germany, France, Canada

Areas interested in collaborating with NGOs


Areas interested in collaborating with other researchers

Media in times of war, shutdowns and safety

Ksenia Ermoshina