Safety Notes

  
Flooding

Physical Safety: Reporting during flash floods

Rising global temperatures are increasing the potential for flooding. Floods can occur not only during heavy rains, but also when ocean waves are being pushed onshore, when snow is melting quickly, or when dams or levees break. Flash floods are particularly dangerous, because they combine the destructive power of a flood with incredible speed. Flooding…

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Digital safety: Adversarial or confrontational sources

Reporting can involve researching and contacting people who pose a threat to you or the media outlet you work for. Using personal devices and accounts to do so could expose you to harassment and identity theft, since using your phone or the internet can reveal information about you and your location such as your email…

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Digital Safety: Protecting against online smear campaigns

Media outlets and journalists are increasingly targeted by sophisticated smear campaigns designed to harm their credibility. Groups coordinate to spread false online content about them or their work, often targeting their social media accounts. Some such groups have undisclosed government backing. Posts often seek to undermine news reports and convince readers they’re untrue, or to…

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Physical Safety: Mines and unexploded ordnance

For journalists on the ground, mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) pose a deadly threat, especially when they don’t know what to look for. Given an increased concern about the widespread use of these weapons in Ukraine, CPJ Emergencies has created this video and safety note to explain how to work safely in an environment where…

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Editors’ checklist: Protecting staff and freelancers against online abuse

The following checklist allows editors and commissioners to understand how well-prepared journalists are when it comes to protecting themselves against online abuse. For additional safety information, please see CPJ’s safety guidance on protecting against online harassment, removing your personal data from the internet, and protecting against targeted online attacks. Editors and journalists should also consult…

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Two men partially obscured by a reflection in a window are shown talking, one wearing sunglasses and face mask.

Digital and Physical Safety: Protecting Confidential Sources

Protecting confidential sources is a cornerstone of ethical reporting. When journalists have agreed to protect someone’s identity, they should make every effort to do so, especially in circumstances where a source could be arrested or harmed. Maintaining confidentiality has become more challenging due to increasing levels of digital surveillance and monitoring by authorities and the…

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A group of men are pictured holding powered off laptops and a placard reading "100 days no internet."

Digital Safety: Internet shutdowns

Internet shutdowns have serious consequences for press freedom and leave journalists struggling to do their job effectively, CPJ has found. Turning off or limiting access to the internet means that media workers are unable to contact sources, fact check data, or file stories until after an event has happened. Shutdowns are more likely to happen…

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Physical and Digital Safety: Arrest and detention

Covering certain stories–such as human rights abuses, corruption, or civil unrest–can place you at a higher risk of arrest and detention, particularly in countries with authoritarian regimes or with a heavy militarized and police presence. When confronted by the authorities it is generally prudent to comply with their commands, even if they are not lawful,…

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Physical Safety: Covering wildfires

Wildfires are becoming more frequent across the world and increasing in both severity and extent, according to Science Brief, a website that reviews peer-reviewed scientific studies on various topics, including climate change. Media workers covering any wildfire should be aware of the dynamic nature of such a disaster, and how a rapidly evolving situation on…

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Guide to Legal Rights in the U.S.

The following advice and recommendations are intended to give the reader a high-level understanding of the rights of a journalist when confronted by law enforcement officers while covering a protest or other political event. Given that these incidents often quickly escalate and that some – both protestors and police – do not always conform to legal…

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