News / Middle East

    CPJ: Journalists Need New Ways to Stay Safe

    Journalists work in dangerous conditions where security is a serious concern. Evolving technologies and newsroom cutbacks, however, have resulted in more reporters on the frontlines of news gathering as freelancers and stringers, working without the institutional support long enjoyed by staff journalists. As a result, the Committee to Protect Journalists - an independent organization that promotes press freedom worldwide - says they need new ways to stay safe.

    CPJ says the profession and the threats facing journalists have changed dramatically in the last decade. Digital technology allows a great many “citizen journalists” to be out in the field on their own, and many governments, and other groups, increasingly take lethal action against anyone attempting to document events.

    In Syria, experienced American war correspondent Marie Colvin was killed in February along with French photographer Remi Ochlik.  

    Risky proposition

    McClatchy Newspapers’ Roy Gutman said journalists often must take risks to cover a story. Speaking from Istanbul via Skype, he said that even those who know the rules, though, cannot always protect themselves.

    “Journalists have realized that they are targets, and they are not, you know, protected by really anybody, and they better find their own protection,” said Gutman.

    VOA foreign correspondent Peter Heinlein was detained in Ethiopia in May while trying to interview protesters during a demonstration. He said journalism is definitely becoming a more dangerous proposition.

    "When you go out into the field, you know you’re going into an arena, an environment, that is increasingly sophisticated at flummoxing journalists, at stopping them, preventing them from covering the stories,” said Heinlein.

    Prepping for safety

    CPJ’s new Journalist Security Guide outlines basic preparedness for new journalists, such as entry and exit planning when going into dangerous situations, navigating foreign bureaucracies in cases of injury or arrest, and threat assessment for journalists of all experience levels.

    It also offers advice on digital security. CPJ senior advisor Frank Smyth said that's something about which journalists only recently have started to become aware.

    “… that they need to protect the information on their hard drives, that they need to be able to protect their communications, whether an email or by telephone, cell phones with sources,” said Smyth.

    The guide also stresses the importance of emotional self-care - recognizing and dealing with the trauma that can come with hazardous assignments - up to, and including, sexual assault.

    Emotional protection

    ABC News’ chief foreign correspondent Martha Raddatz said a good journalist must have empathy, as well as ways to cope with painful memories of things they have seen in the field.

    “Just the other day, I was driving someplace with my family and there was a little kid running around, and my daughter said something, 'look, take my baby, take my baby,' and I said, oh, that brought back a memory of Ethiopia in the early 80s during the famine and remembering that women were trying to hand me their babies because they were so starving and near death.”

    She says it is then - when journalists are “in the moment” - that they must be most cautious.

    Raddatz agrees that security is a core function of being a journalist. She said the CPJ guide provides important tips on how they can protect themselves, their sources and their work. But in the end, she said, journalists must have their own sense of security - in order to do their job and live to tell about it.

    You May Like

    US Internet Giants, EU Reach Deal to Combat Online Hate Speech

    Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft commit to ‘quickly and efficiently’ act to clamp down on use of social media to incite violence, terror

    Video Tunisia’s Ennahda Party Begins a New Political Chapter

    Party now moves to separate its political and religious activities; change described by party members as pragmatic response to political and economic challenges facing Tunisia today

    Virtual Reality Fine-tuned at Asia Tech Show

    Microchip designers hope to improve resolution for users of systems that can turn your bedroom into the ocean floor

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora