Today a new safety resource for Syrian journalists seeks to help those working in or near the country to better protect themselves amid unprecedented threats and a lack of security information in Arabic.
The Rory Peck Trust, in collaboration with the Committee to Protect Journalists and a coalition of international journalist assistance organisations, today launched the Syria Media Safety Resource for local journalists working in the country or on its borders.
“The aim of the Syria Media Safety Resource is to provide Syrian journalists with the information and tools they need to help them work more safely, and to streamline their access to emergency assistance,” said Sarah Giaziri, MENA Programme Officer at the Rory Peck Trust. “Much of the news and images coming out of Syria are being provided by these journalists, many of whom are freelance and have little, if any, access to safety training or trauma support. We hope that this resource helps them to manage their safety and continue their vital work.”
Syria was the most deadly country in the world for journalists in 2014 for the third consecutive year, CPJ research shows. Since March 2011, when the conflict began, at least 84 journalists have been killed, more than 90 have been abducted and approximately 25 are currently missing. Most of them are local.
“Syria is the most dangerous country in the world to work as a journalist,” said Maria Salazar-Ferro, Coordinator of CPJ’s Journalists Assistance Program. “The extreme risks have limited the number of journalists working in Syria, but news about the conflict is still essential to understanding the changing situation. Safety information for those who continue to report from Syria is critical.”
Available in Arabic with English translations at syriamediasafety.org, the online resource is intended to encourage proactive safety measures. It provides tools for physical security, including risk assessment and proof-of-life templates, as well digital security information such as identity protection and encryption. All tools can be downloaded as PDFs by those journalists working in areas where the Internet access and electricity are not reliable. The resource also provides information for obtaining emergency support and trauma counseling services in the region.
For social media, Rory Peck Trust and CPJ suggest using the hashtag #syriamediasafety.