CIoJ re-affirms support for journalists safety

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Commitment to the International News Safety Institute

The Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ) has re-affirmed its commitment to the work of the International News Safety Institute (INSI) as journalists continue to face death in the name of press freedom.

Fifty four journalists and media staff have died doing their jobs so far in 2012, including Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin, who died in Syria, bringing first hand reports of the terrible tragedies affecting ordinary people.

CIoJ General Secretary Dominic Cooper said: “Without pioneering journalists we would all be less informed about what is truly happening in the world.

“The CIoJ is happy to support INSI’s work because it maintains focus on protecting journalists on the frontline. These are the people who speak up to make sure that press freedom defies the boundaries put up by powerful individuals and cruel regimes across the world.”

The work INSI carries out is wide ranging. It provides safety training for dozens of journalists in countries including Liberia, Argentina, Zimbabwe and Iraq, where journalists are particularly at risk. It also educates journalists from more democratic countries on the dangers they could face, such as the recent “No Woman’s Land – On the Frontlines with Female Reporters” seminar to mark World Press Freedom Day.

Mr Cooper added: “As a professional body with journalist members across the world we are fully committed to INSI’s focus on fighting for journalist safety.”

Riot assaults no surprise

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News Release



NEWS that journalists have been injured and their lives put at risk while covering the recent riots has angered the Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ).

The Institute has been warning of the dangers for some years and produced its guide to safety “Revolting Britain” in 2005.

General secretary Dominic Cooper said: “It is very frustrating, but sadly no great surprise, that despite urging employers more than five years ago to make safety of their journalists their top priority nothing appears to have been done.

“Employers who send their staff into dangerous situations without adequate training or protection may be considered to be in contravention of health and safety regulations.”

In 2006, after an attack by rioters on journalists in Birmingham, the CIoJ warned: “The Institute has, for some time, been concerned about safety, especially where journalists find themselves covering civil disturbances and public order events. In recent times a number of these events have turned violent in an instant and journalists have found themselves targeted by the baying mob.”

Mr Cooper added: “These words now sound chillingly prophetic – as we said years ago, now is the time for publishers to come together to take action to ensure the safety of journalists who have to face this kind of threat.”

Amanda Brodie, chairman of the CIoJ’s Professional Practices Board, added: “Employers need to take the safety of their journalists seriously. Other workers who are put in these situations as part of their work, such as the police and fire crews, receive specific training for the event. They are also supplied with protective clothing, which should be provided as standard to journalists who are sent into potentially life-threatening situations.

“These attacks are only going to increase as baying mobs attempt to stop images being taken. No more time should be lost. Employers need to take action now.”




Note to Editors

• Earlier this week the CIoJ warned that journalists were being put at risk by police action in pressurising the media to hand over footage obtained by them in covering the riots. It urged journalists not to hand over material unless ordered to do so by the courts.

• Formed in 1884, the Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ) is the world’s oldest established professional body for journalists, and a representative voice of media and communications professionals throughout the UK and the Commonwealth.


Riot footage demands put journalists at risk

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DEMANDS by police for media organisations to hand over footage obtained during the recent riots could lead to journalists’ lives being put at risk, says the Chartered Institute of Journalists.

Earlier this week it was reported that numerous newspapers and broadcasters – including The Guardian, The Times, BBC, Sky News and ITN – had been pressured by the Metropolitan Police into handing over pictures and video footage of the disturbances.

The danger is that rioters will see the media as collaborating with the state, and so they will become targets themselves, the CIoJ says.

Amanda Brodie, chairman of the Institute’s Professional Practices Board, said: “We urge all journalists to refuse to hand over their material unless ordered to do so by the courts. This is the proper procedure to which the police should adhere.

“Police are fully aware that they have no right to demand the handing over of such material on the spot, and that they must obtain a court order to do so. But there is evidence that they are putting pressure on journalists to do this.”

She added: “We also urge the courts to think twice before making blanket orders for material to be released. The police should have to demonstrate that there is a genuine need for this information, which can often be obtained from CCTV footage or even from media broadcasts already in the public domain.

“Applications for a production order should be limited to what is necessary and proportionate,” she said. “Police should not be requesting access to large quantities of footage from many media organisations, as this is tantamount to a fishing expedition.”

The CIoJ warns that such demands not only put lives at risk but may lead to democratic reporting being stifled due to safety fears.

This is already a reality in Northern Ireland, where newsgroups say that in recent weeks one photo-journalist was injured by a bullet and a cameraman provided evidence in court that a bullet passed through his trousers. He believed the media were being deliberately targeted whilst covering civil disturbances.



Apply for membership

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Ways in which you may apply for membership

Apply online

Complete an on-line application form by clicking the link above.  Don’t forget to enter any reduced first-year subscription offer code in the ‘other details’ section of the form otherwise you may not receive the discount.

Also, part of the process is for a credit card number to be entered for all applications.  Don’t worry, we only debit card numbers once your application has been approved by our accreditation committee.  At that time any discount will be applied.

Download and complete an application form

You may click the link above, print the application form,  complete it by hand and send it to head office (details are on the form or on our contacts page) together with examples of your work and any other bits that demonstrate that you are a bona fide journalist.

Request an information pack to be sent to you

Contact head office and request that  an information pack be sent to you.  The pack with contain an application form together with details of the Institute and the benefits we may offer.

Don’t forget to give us your name, address and postcode.

After the rough stuff

Posted on by CIoJ in Safety, Stress, Trauma | Comments Off on After the rough stuff

Newsdesks and picture desks must be prepared for trauma

By John Szemerey

CIOJ member of the Board of the International News Safety Institute

We hear a lot about thuggery and threats to journalists on the job. But we hear little about the effect of violence and of seeing gruesome scenes on journalists and photographers. To suffer from trauma after such an experience is not abnormal. Even well-balanced and well prepared individuals can crack up after being in a life-threatening situation or seeing sights that would curdle the composure of an angel.

Trauma is an injury, but it is an injury of the mind. So we cannot see it. Like most injuries it will cure by itself, if it is allowed to do so. With sympathy and support from family, friends and colleagues it will heal much more quickly and with less pain. And if it does not get better, if the post-traumatic stress continues, it can usually be cured very effectively.

But how many editors, newsdesks or picture desks look out for psychological trauma and are prepared with the names of nearby specialists who can help?

Very few. Without support and in some cases specialist treatment, the injury can fester and get worse. This can lead to even the best of journalists losing his grip. He (or she) can miss deadlines. He (she) can suddenly write nonsense. He can forget facts and appointments. He and his colleagues may even think he (she) is going mad.

He or she is not mad. He/she is wounded – injured when doing his/her job.

Editors and newsdesks must be aware of what trauma can do and of post-traumatic stress. They must help and support colleagues in this condition and not fire them. If they send them on leave, they should keep in touch and see how the wounded colleagues are getting on. Don’t let them think they have been abandoned or that they are shunned..

Firing a wounded man may well cause the injury to get worse. Sometimes, tragically, it may even lead to suicide … as a direct result of editors’ and colleagues’ lack of understanding of the wound and its symptoms.

A great help to get journalists to cope is proper safety training – something that should be given automatically to all journos and support staff who go out to cover live news. Today anyone can find themselves faced with a ghastly and perhaps gruesome accident or event – and often it is the young local reporter and photographer who are first on the scene. If they are not prepared, and if they do not receive sympathetic support afterwards, they could fall apart psychologically, or worse.

Being unexpectedly attacked with a knife or a broken bottle can happen to anyone. Seeing the explosion of a double-decker bus and then bleeding body parts all over the road has happened in England and could happen again.

As the CIoJ has been telling managements, it is their job to ensure that all journalists and photographers – or for the audio-visual media soundpersons, cameramen and the other technical staff sent out to cover major events – are prepared for possible violence and that they do not send journalists naked into battle. This means safety training and proper safety equipment for all.

But it also means watching out for trauma.

Journalists are a tough lot. Often they do not want to admit anything is wrong after a ghastly experience. They act macho and carry on. They should be encouraged not to bottle up their experiences but to talk (or if they’d rather not talk, to write) about them and allow others to hear and support them..

With a bit of luck and a bit of support they will get over it. But if the condition gets worse, sufferers should be sent to a trauma specialist who will in most cases be able to help heal the trauma and its aftereffects.

Editor, newsdesks and picture desks should everywhere know who are the local specialists who can help with post traumatic stress. If there is no-one in the vicinity, they should contact the Dart Centre, London, the top specialists in this field.

Best contact details for the Dart Centre are its website at and e-mail address: Or phone Gavin Rees on +44 (0) 20 7242 3562.

Weekend of violence proves need for greater safety awareness training for journalists

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25th October 2005

Attacks on journalists by rioters in Birmingham at the weekend have given the media industry a stark warning that it must take the safety of its journalists seriously and implement training and issue safety equipment as basic requirements, says the Chartered Institute of Journalists.

Journalists have always found themselves targets when covering incidents of public disorder but these situations have become more dangerous in recent times as more and more thugs are beginning to carry knives and bottles.

Recently, efforts have been made to train journalists who are sent to cover conflict zones and their employers are beginning to implement the issuing of safety equipment as standard. However, it is clear from the amount of recent attacks on journalists covering public disorder news stories on the domestic scene, that newspaper proprietors and local broadcast media can no longer ignore the safety of their staff.

At the weekend a number of news crews and journalists were deliberately targeted with one photographer being seriously assaulted by a mob. Only the quick thinking actions of someone nearby stopped his injuries from being more serious.

A recent report by the Association of Chief Police Officers claims that knife attacks in counties that are normally considered as benign rural areas have increased in the last couple of years – such as Lincolnshire (24 per cent) and Devon (41 per cent). The Institute contends that this is worrying proof that violent action is no longer an inner city, or sink estate, problem and journalists throughout the country could find themselves covering public unrest stories without adequate ‘safety first’ training or protective clothing.

At its recent AGM, held on 8 October, members of the Chartered Institute of Journalists urged employers to make safety their top priority when sending journalists to cover public order incidents, and reminded them that to send their staff into dangerous situations without adequate training or protection may be considered to be in contravention of health and safety regulations.

Now is the time to act. Journalists at all levels need to have safety training and safety equipment should be available to all who cover incidents such as those we witnessed at the weekend.