First step toward better safety for freelancers
News agencies, press freedom organizations, and advocacy groups came together this month to address mounting concerns over the hiring and safety of freelance journalists. While dangers to freelancers have always been present, last year international journalists made up nearly a quarter of journalists killed, about double the proportion CPJ has documented in recent years. The murders of freelancers James Foley, Steven Sotloff, and Kenji Goto by the militant group Islamic State prompted an unprecedented collaboration between stakeholders. CPJ is proud to have helped draft guidelines for a global standard that will protect freelancers whom outlets are increasingly dependent on for stories, especially from hostile environments.
«We see this as a first step in a long-term campaign to convince news organizations and journalists to adopt these standards globally. In a time of journalistic peril, news organizations and journalists must work together to protect themselves, their profession, and their vital role in global society,» an introduction to the guidelines states.
The guidelines have attracted widespread support from international news media and journalist advocacy organizations. More than 30 organizations, including CPJ, have signed on. Prominent signatories include The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, BBC, GlobalPost, the Frontline Freelance Register, Reuters, Reporters Without Borders, the Rory Peck Trust, and RISC (Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues).
The guidelines were released at a press conference with CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney at Columbia University on February 12. James Foley’s mother, Diane, also attended. «I am so encouraged by this gathering,» she said. «It’s a huge step.»