Resources for journalists covering protests

Journalists take cover during a protest in Port-au-Prince, Haiti November 18, 2019. (Reuters/Jeanty Junior Augustin)

Protests and other crowded gatherings are dynamic situations that can quickly turn dangerous or violent. It is important for journalists to understand the protest environment they are reporting in and to be prepared for any potential risks they may encounter.

Covering protests and civil unrest may result in surveillance, arrest, and targeted attacks. Journalists should prepare their communication plans, equipment, and transportation in advance of a protest assignment in order to minimize potential risks. They should research the groups involved and adequately plan for situations that may involve tear gas, violence, or arrest. Journalists carrying digital devices into a crowd should be prepared for the devices to be broken, stolen, or confiscated. 

CPJ has compiled a set of resources to help journalists anticipate and plan for some of the risks involved with covering protests, civil unrest, and other unpredictable crowds. 

Journalists should complete a risk assessment to identify potential threats and create a plan before an assignment.

Safety Resources

Physical and digital safety: Civil disorder

This guide contains recommendations to mitigate risks for journalists reporting in locations affected by crowd violence.

Available in: FrançaisEspañolРусскийPortuguês中文 (简体) | हिन्दीਪੰਜਾਬੀفارسیဗမာစာالعربيةУкраїнськаසිංහලதமிழ்اردوHebrew

Safety videos for journalists covering unrest

Available in: العربية

Physical and Digital Safety: Arrest and detention

This safety note provides information on preparing for an assignment which may risk confrontation with the authorities, arrest, or detention.

Available in: Françaisالعربية | РусскийEspañol中文 (简体)AfsoomaaliአማርኛဗမာစာPortuguêsУкраїнськаفارسیپښتو | සිංහලதமிழ்

Situational awareness: A guide for journalists

This guide explains how journalists can pay attention to their surroundings and minimize risks in advance of a threatening situation.

Available in: Русский | العربية

Digital Safety: Internet shutdowns

This safety note can be useful for journalists concerned about internet shutdowns or internet restrictions during civil unrest.

Available in: Español |  العربيةFrançais | हिन्दी  اردو | ਪੰਜਾਬੀ | አማርኛ | РусскийУкраїнськаසිංහලதமிழ்پښتو

A Guide to PPE

This guide provides information on different kinds of personal protective equipment and how they can be worn and used.

Available in: Español

If you are a journalist and would like to speak with someone about threats you are facing, please email us at [email protected]. For additional safety information, you can text CPJ’s automated chatbot on WhatsApp at +1 206 590 6191.

More on: Protest safety