SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom - Samir Kassir Foundation

Joint Initiative: COVID-19 Journalist Safety Protocols for News Organisations

Source ACOS Alliance
Tuesday , 09 June 2020

The ACOS Alliance, the Samir Kassir Foundation, and a group of its signatories have launched a new safety resource to help news organisations respond to the extraordinary challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on the safe commissioning of freelance journalists.


The COVID-19 News Organizations Safety Protocols provides newsrooms and commissioning editors with practical guidance on how to cover the pandemic professionally and in a way that minimises risk. It addresses all aspects of assignment planning and safety including crisis management, communications, hygiene and mental health. It also includes best practice around key freelance issues such as accreditation, PPE, insurance and expenses.


The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the safety and revenue challenges already facing the journalism industry. The COVID-19 News Organizations Safety Protocols calls on news organisations to regard the safety and protection of all contributing journalists - including freelancers - as an essential investment. It contains tools which can help newsrooms to review, adapt and expand their existing safety procedures in response to the pandemic and encourages those without safety protocols to prioritise their development as a matter of urgency.


Elisabet Cantenys, Executive Director of the ACOS Alliance said: “COVID-19 exposes safety as a priority for everyone in the journalism profession, not just those involved in so-called “high risk” reporting. This is an invitation for news organisations who are new to safety to get involved in the conversation and to use this resource as an opportunity to embed a culture of safety within their everyday practices - including their work with freelancers.“

Ayman Mhanna, Executive Director of the Samir Kassir Foundation added: "It is essential that the issue of journalist safety in general, and in relation to the COVID-19 crisis in particular, becomes a global concern. Journalists in the global south, including in the MENA region, are rarely provided with safety training and safety protocols are not part of the prevailing culture. Let the current COVID-19 crisis serve as an impetus and an opportunity to move towards a mainstreamed culture of safety."


The resource was produced in partnership with Article 19, Committee to Protect Journalists, Free Press Unlimited, Frontline Freelance Register, International Center for Journalists, International Media Support, International News Safety Institute, International Press Institute, International Women’s Media Foundation, Reporters Without Borders, Samir Kassir Foundation and the World Association of News Publishers. The resource is being translated into Arabic and French (by the Samir Kassir Foundation) and Spanish. 


This is the latest in a range of resources produced by the ACOS Alliance aimed at helping newsrooms and freelance journalists embed a culture of safety into their journalism practice.

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