Journalist Safety and Security

Journalist Safety and Security

To play their vital watchdog role in society, journalists need the skills and training to keep themselves safe from digital and physical threats.

The Problem

Around the world, independent media and individual journalists face increasing threats to themselves and their sources. Hostile governments, political groups and organized crime intimidate and silence the press with false accusations, threats, and acts of violence, including digital attacks and censorship.

The Solution

Internews supports journalists with tools and training to detect, prevent, and counter digital, physical, and legal threats to their safety. Our work raises awareness of resources available to journalists, develops locally-relevant guides, methodologies, and toolkits, and creates networks of support and common practice among working journalists.

In Focus: Environmental Reporters Face Increasing Threats

In recognition of the growing threats facing environmental reporters, Internews' Earth Journalism Network conducts workshops on security and safety that provide participants with a better understanding of the threats they’re likely to face, from physical harassment or assault to online risks, such as hacking or invasion of information privacy. The security experts who lead the sessions offer tips on how they and their colleagues can better protect themselves. In the videos below, reporters share their experiences dealing with safety and security challenges:

Current Threats Facing Journalists: Red Batario, Journalism Trainer

5 Safety Tips for Journalists: Trainer Red Batario Shares His Advice

Threats to Women Reporters: Imelda Abano, Filipina Journalist

When Reporters Face Threats From the Authorities: Samison Pareti, Journalist

Impact: How Women Journalists Stay Safe in Iraq

To address the issue of women’s safety in Iraq, Internews is using a multi-pronged approach – building local networks, coordinating advocacy, and conducting targeted journalism trainings on gender-sensitive issues.

"Females often have to face extreme scrutiny of their presence online, and are threatened with death in some instances for photos posted online without family consent or that are considered inappropriate; these kinds of workshops are incredibly important for every female in this country.” —workshop participant from Erbil

Read more: Uplifting the Voices of Women by Supporting their Physical Safety and Digital Security

Resource: How Funders Can Support Digital Safety

As part of Media Impact Funders' (MIF) new report — Global Media Philanthropy: What Funders Need to Know About Data, Trends and Pressing Issues Facing the Field, — Rowan Reid, Internews Project Director for Journalist Safety, and Marjorie Rouse, Senior Vice President for Programs at Internews, wrote a section arguing that a shrinking civic space and advanced technological means of attacking, surveilling, and silencing critics should concern all those who support civil society and other development objectives, and especially those who work with independent, investigative and community news organizations. 

Read more: A holistic approach to operational and digital security

Impact: Learning to Address Security Threats in El Salvador

Milady Cruz

In 2014, Milady Cruz created Diario El Periodista, an outlet committed to principled and accountable reporting in El Salvador. In 2016, she lost a year's worth of reporting after the publication's web site and her personal email were hacked. Milady used her life savings to restore the website and rebuild Diario. In November 2016, she participated in a USAID-supported Internews regional bootcamp in Guatemala, where she learned the basics of digital and physical security from leading regional experts and expanded her data and investigative journalism skills. 


"As a journalist, you assume you are in control. You are not. You are vulnerable. You are exposed to threats, especially when you are investigating sensitive topics... I had to wait 19 years to learn how to protect my work and myself properly."

Read more: “Facing Digital Threats to Independent Media

Opinion: Journalists' Safety is the Issue of Our Time

Writing in EUReporter, Internews CEO in Europe Daniel Bruce applauds the recent push by the UK government to declare 2019 a year of diplomatic and practical action on press freedom and journalism safety. But he argues that beyond decrying the most egregious attacks on journalists, we must work internationally to build robust, resilient local media that can withstand and outlast external pressures.

"The need to equip the world’s journalists with tools to perform to the best of their ability – to do so safely and in the knowledge that crimes against press freedom will not be met with impunity – is massive and growing."

Read more: Jeremy Hunt’s campaign to promote #MediaFreedom is just the start.