Media deaths lead to website launch

INSI website: live news feed

The International News Safety Institute has launched a website designed to alert journalists to the dangers of working in trouble spots around the world.

The site, www.newssafety.com, has has been launched with the help of supporters of the INSI, which was set up to run a global campaign to prevent violence against the media. The site aims to act as a clearing house for the latest safety-related news, and as a link to other concerned organisations.

As a mark of its support for INSI, the Agence-France Presse news agency has donated a live news feed to the site.

UK-based security companies AKE and Centurion, who specialise in media hostile environment training and security for journalists in conflict zones, have agreed to contribute up-todate reports on security conditions in Iraq and other danger zones.

The BBC News Health Centre also participates and INSI has subscribed to BBC Monitoring worldwide for a selection of stories relevant to journalists’ safety. The website features articles by experts on a range of issues affecting safety and physical and mental wellbeing.

Also included are advice and reports on working conditions for visiting and local journalists in various news hotspots. It is planned to build the depth of information as INSI’s network of correspondents expands.

There is a facility for journalists with experience of places or issues to contribute helpful advice to colleagues elsewhere. It is designed to be equally easily downloaded by dial-up from the field or from the newsroom. It is planned that the website will expand, and add languages, as the INSI’s resources grow.

Institute director Rodney Pinder said of the new website: “First and foremost, it aims to help journalists work more safely in hostile environments, in war or other conflicts, at home and abroad.”

The institute was set up by news organisations, journalist support groups and humanitarian interests out of concern at the rising death toll among journalists working in danger zones around the world.

According to the INSI, more than 1,200 journalists and support staff have been killed over the past 10 years – 20 of them so far this year. Thirtyone have been killed, and two are missing believed dead, in the Iraq conflict alone, making it the bloodiest war of modern times for members of the news media.

The institute aims to provide critical safety information, guidance and training to broadcast and print journalists and support staff such as drivers, translators and fixers, working in troublespots around the world.

By Jon Slattery

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