Journalists and other news media staff die in unacceptable numbers around the globe – and many of these deaths could have been avoided.
Around the world hundreds of journalists are murdered or injured because they try to shine the light of brave reporting onto the murky underworld of political and criminal corruption. But a significant number also come to harm covering domestic disturbances – riots, demos, even football matches.
Proper safety training, the provision of good safety equipment and self-knowledge about health and capabilities can cut the toll.
Do you have hard hats, anti-stab vests and mini-cameras available to cover an anti-globalisation protest, where journalists are as much part of the hated establishment as McDonald’s?
Do you know how to take effective shelter when bullets or bricks fly, or to guard yourself when bombs go off – as they did in London in 2005 – how to exit when threatened, how to know if you are under surveillance? Have you had training in quiet times in anticipation of when things go bad?
Any “noes” even to that little list and you need professional safety training and your employers need to brush up on their duty of care for journalists working in an increasingly dangerous world where we’re under attack from all sides.
Don’t assume it will never happen to you. Riots, disorder, gunfire, explosions can erupt anywhere, any time and any place, home or abroad, and you might just be the duty journo sent out.
The International News Safety Institute was set up in 2003 by safety-aware global news organisations and journalist support groups to help ensure news media staff get the help they need when things get tough. Go to www.newssafety.com.