CIoJ conference plea to editors: staff must have safety training

Editors and proprietors are to come under attack for “taking unnecessary risks with the lives and safety of staff journalists” when the Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ) meets next month in Malta.

“Personal safety for journalists in hazardous conditions” will be under discussion at the group’s annual general meeting from 9 to 12 October.

CIoJ Brussels representative John Szemerey, a board member of the International News Safety Insitute, will be speaking to the conference.

He said: “I want members to realise that dangerous situations are not limited to distant overseas assignments.

“Terrorist outrages, horrible accidents and demonstrations turning nasty can happen anywhere. For our own safety, we must be prepared and know how to react, what to do and what not to do.

“One of our young members had just got off that No. 30 bus that was blown up in Tavistock Square, London, last year. It can happen to anyone, anywhere.

“Editors and proprietors must be made to realise that it is their responsibility to ensure that their reporting staff [receive] basic safety training and that they must have safety equipment available.

“When there is a riot, violence or worse, journalists, news photographers, TV reporters and cameramen will be there to report, photograph or film what is happening. Safety training and safety equipment can make the difference between life and death.”

According to the CIoJ: “Members are known to feel strongly that many proprietors and editors are neglecting their responsibility to staff by not preparing them for violent and gruesome events.”

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