Advice for journalists on how to stay alive in a warzone

Journalists preparing to report from a warzone should follow several key steps to stay safe, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The non-profit group has issued a special report calling for more to be done to improve the security of foreign correspondents.

The report’s recommendations to journalists covering conflict included:

  • Research the risks on every assignment
  • Follow international news organisation best practice in planning and preparing for hostile environment reporting
  • Take a hostile environment and first aid training (HEFAT) course and keep training current
  • Acquire assignment-appropriate safety and communications equipment and insurance (be aware some countries will confiscate personal protection equipment on arrival)
  • Provide local journalists and fixers being hired with the necessary safety equipment and training
  • Secure devices with strong passwords and encryption
  • Use encrypted communication tools
  • Cooperate with other journalists to promote safety, even in competitive environments.

The New York-based CPJ promotes press freedom worldwide and documents attacks on journalists.

In its report, The Best Defense: Threats to journalists’ safety demand fresh approach,  it said: “Much work remains to be done to improve the security of journalists in the face of unprecedented threats, including the spread of violent non-state actors, the shrinking rule of law, resurgent authoritarianism, and an industry shift toward reliance on freelancers.

“Journalists, news outlets, and press freedom groups must find approaches that go beyond traditional training and advocacy.”

Picture: Reuters/Khalil Ashawi

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