In response to the growing dangers for journalists, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has released an updated version of its Safety Guide for Journalists. Produced in partnership with UNESCO, it is available in PDF in English, French, Spanish, Ukrainian and Russian, and has been translated into traditional and simplified Chinese on our website.
Fully revised and corrected, this handbook offers practical advice to reporters going to high-risk areas, where they should be ready for a wide range of dangers that may include armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and street protests.
“There will never be a zero-risk option for journalists whose work takes them to a dangerous region, but they seem for the most part to be left to themselves to deal with security challenges,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said.
“Given the increase in the number and type of risks that reporters face in the field, we felt it was important to update the safety guide so that they could have the best possible preparation when they want to, or have to, work in high-risk areas.”
The guide has not overlooked the fact that, in the era of Internet communication and smartphones, cybersecurity is a challenge for journalists visiting conflict zones or countries with authoritarian governments. It includes many tips on protecting sources, data and communications.
It also stresses the importance of being well prepared before setting off, both physically and psychologically, and the need for debriefing and psychological support if any signs of post-traumatic stress are detected after returning home. And news organisations are reminded that the reporters they send into the field must be well trained and given an opportunity to discuss all their concerns in advance so they are confident they know everything they need.
As well as advice on health precautions and coping with red tape, the online version of the guide includes accounts by roving foreign correspondents of their experiences while travelling to high-risk areas.
Published for the first time in 1992 and updated several times since then, the guide is available in both print and online versions and is intended to be accessible to as many people as possible.