The media industry plays a crucial role in our society. It is a vital link that enables information sharing. If this link is broken, many other businesses will find it difficult to operate smoothly. Journalists, photographers and producers are common job roles in this field. These job roles are highly rewarding and present a positive outlook, but one also cannot deny that these are high-risk job roles. Journalists and videographers have to travel into conflict and remote zones to cover important stories including crimes, human right conflicts and political issues. Thus, they put their lives in grave danger for the sake of the society.
A Picture of Reality
Taking in the current situation, it would be wrong to describe the job of journo as simply “high-risk” for with each passing day it is becoming “fatal”. The statistics stand witness. Approximately 45 journalists across the globe have been killed in 2013 while on duty. Many more have been kidnapped for ransom or imprisoned in war-torn regions and held and threatened with death. They languish for years in inhumane conditions. A handful of them have just disappeared. Every time a journalist or photographer is sent on-field, his or her life is threatened with imprisonment, abduction or death. This has called for attention to the plight of media workers.
Prevention is better than Cure
Considering the increasing attacks on journalists and photographers, the authorities have started debating on whether or not to include assaults on media persons in the list of war crimes. It is a welcome step, but it won’t do much to curb the growing rate of crimes against them. All journalists and photographers should be able to do their jobs safely.
The problem is the question of a journalist’s safety is not the concern of a particular country. Unfortunately, journalists are being targeted all over the world. They not only inflicted with injury in conflict zones and war stricken countries but also in relatively peaceful countries where they try to blow the whistle on illegal activities. Another fact that is worth noting is threats are not confined to physical injury and torture. It includes cyber attacks as well.
The safety of journalists, photographers and videographers is the responsibility of the media institution they are employed with. It is their duty to provide protection, limit the risk and offer compensation if worst comes to worst. However, there are travel safety tips for photographers and journalists too at the individual level. The first is informing colleagues about the assignment you a currently working on. Technology has helped make out lives more secure. A phone and GPS tracker are must-have devices for journalists. It helps others back home track you in case you find yourself in trouble.
Media institutions can make their members less vulnerable to threats by initiating in-service safety training. Journalists’ safety training involves certification in basic first aid and CPR. It trains them to build an escape plan including carjacking tips. Other training and safety measures include secret methods to familiarize oneself with the environment, tips to identify threats and crime patterns and basic self-protection measures.