Serving professional journalism since 1912

Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Journalists

Training to stay safe

In July, 37 freelances from around the world joined Rory Peck Trust, Frontline Freelance Register (FFR) and a team of security experts to get their safety questions answered.

A team of safety advisers and digital security experts, assembled by RPT and FFR, set up at the Frontline Club in West London for the first ever Freelance Safety Surgery. Experts from Buzzfeed, First Option, Blue Mountain Group, AKE and A.Kain & Partners fielded questions from freelances across four continents – who attended in person or via secure online link-up.

For many participants, it was an opportunity to get information they hadn’t been able to get elsewhere. The one-to-one sessions covered topics ranging from encryption tools to appropriate kit for assignments, according to the needs of each freelance journalist.

“Personal advice like this is absolutely paramount in a world where safety for freelances tends to come at a cost”, according to Sarah Giaziri, Director of the Frontline Freelance Register. “Up-to-date information combined with personally tailored advice is pretty rare – and offering it to freelances free of charge is an exciting step.”

“It’s so important for freelances to get this advice from security experts who are actually practising it”, said Catalina Cortes of RPT. “All of those who took part in the surgeries work with journalists in high-risk areas on a day-to-day basis – and some have been freelances themselves. We’re really delighted with the day and so thankful to all of the advisors who donated their time free of charge. We have had excellent feedback from the freelances who took part and hope this will be the first of many.”

Steve Cook, security trainer from Blue Mountain group, who took part in the event, said: “It was so great to be able to help advise so many journalists from so many different countries. These free safety surgeries are a much-needed resource for those freelances who cannot acquire training or assistance around the globe. I’m just looking forward to the next session.”

Here is what participants said about the training:

“I didn’t even know what I didn’t know. I learned so much practical info.”

“Honestly, the advice was golden and gave me a lot of clarity on how to proceed.”

“It was my first time discussing safety issues in Asia with a professional security advisor and it was extremely helpful.”

Austin Cooper
Programme Officer for Middle East and North Africa – Rory Peck Trust

[infobox title=’The Rory Peck Trust’]The Rory Peck Trust is dedicated to supporting and assisting freelance newsgatherers worldwide. For further information on the Trust’s work, please go to:[/infobox]