The undersigned groups endorse the following safety principles and practices for international news organizations and the freelancers who work with them. We see this as a first step in a long-term campaign to convince news organizations and journalists to adopt these standards globally. In a time of journalistic peril, news organizations and journalists must work together to protect themselves, their profession and their vital role in global society.” Global Safety Principles and Practices
Last week at a Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma event, a coalition of publishers and journalism organizations released a set of Global Safety Principles and Practices intended to guide news organizations in how to work with freelancers and local journalists on dangerous assignments. It’s an ambitious but needed step, as so many deaths reminded us last year.
The document was signed by a host of news organizations from around the world, including the Committee to Protect Journalists, BBC, Agence France Presse, McClatchy DC, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, the Overseas Press Club Foundation, National Union of Journalists-Philippines, the Associated Press, and others. It’s a short document, but covers a lot of ground. Poynter has some additional background on the creation of this document.
The first section of the Principles and Practices guides journalists in ways to prepare for dangerous assignments, recommending first aid training, minimum safety gear, and preparations that may assist family and authorities in the case of kidnapping or death. The second section, aimed at news organizations themselves, stresses the disproportionate dangers faced by local journalists and freelancers. It states that news organizations should not contract with freelancers unless the organization can afford the same precautions and responsibilities it does for staffers and that freelancers should be paid on time and in a fair manner accounting for the additional costs of insurance, hazardous environment training, and safety equipment required for reporting dangerous assignments.
The document is a great step forward as conflict reporting increasingly shifts to local journalists and freelancers.
For more information about this subject, visit the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, Reporters Without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Rory Peck Trust, Global Journalist Security, RISC, International News Safety Institute, and the Frontline Freelance Register.