Short film

Using compelling storytelling to shine a light on increasing violence against journalists


Raising awareness about increasing censorship and violence against journalists

Data shows that journalists around the world are being attacked with impunity.  And for UNESCO’s International Day to End Impunity or Crimes Against Journalists, which takes place annually on 2 November, Rooftop was tasked with creating a compelling video to encourage those in power to do something about it.

Between 2006 and 2020, over 1,200 journalists were killed around the world. Almost 90 per cent of these cases  remain unresolved in court, according to the UNESCO observatory of killed journalists. The observatory also notes that when countries see an increase in violence against journalists, it is often an indicator of the weakening of the rule of law and of the judicial system.

Threats of violence and attacks against journalists in particular create a climate of fear for media professionals. This affects the free circulation of information, opinions and ideas for all citizens.


Raising awareness through a short film that policymakers cannot ignore

UNESCO challenged Rooftop to create a film for social media that would not only raise awareness about the importance of protecting journalists and ending impunity for crimes against journalists, but also draw the audience in on an emotional level and create empathy and an understanding of why change is needed.


A short film that speaks to the hearts and minds of the audience

Rooftop’s solution was to create a film that immersed the audience in the life of a journalist.

To instill a sense of empathy and understanding, we wanted our audience to really experience a taste of some of the dangers that  journalists face on a daily basis.

Through large in-situ projections, used throughout the film, we were able to visually demonstrate the pervasive and omniscient nature of online threats of violence and how, when it is perpetrated with impunity, it spills over into physical violence.

But we knew that to create a truly compelling story, we needed to use real-life experiences from journalists on the ground.  In partnership with the client, we sifted through hundreds of real threats received by working journalists. Adding this layer of authenticity to the film made it even more persuasive and convincing.

Pulling on our in-house resources and expertise, Rooftop wrote and produced a short film that follows a day in the life of a journalist who is pursuing a story. Through the course of their investigation, we see how the threats they receive become more violent and pervasive. Pleas for help fall on deaf ears and the purpotrators carry on with impunity until, at the end of the short film, the threats spill over into implied violence.

The Result

Storytelling that achieves results

The results of the video speak for themselves.

According to our stats, 650 million people have potentially been reached through #ProtectJournalists & #EndImpunity, the hashtags associated with the film and its accompanying social media assets.

The film itself has been watched more than 214 000 times and counting.

Behind the scenes and stills

Video views

People reached

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