#PressForProgress: INSI March update

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day celebrated this month was #pressforprogress, and progress is indeed something that is sorely needed in terms of the safety of women journalists.

In a piece INSI director Hannah Storm wrote to mark March 8, she noted how the past year had proved to be a watershed for our female colleagues – both in terms of the rising tide of violence, but also the brave women who were calling out abuses against them.

INSI recorded the killings of nine female journalists in 2017: Storm noted that this was the highest percentage of women media workers who died in connection with their work since she started with INSI eight years ago.

Freelance journalist Kim Wall was brutally killed in the waters off Copenhagen last August. In October, Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed by a car bomb near her home in Malta. One month before, the leading Indian journalist and government critic Gauri Lankesh was shot dead outside her home.

These women were not reporting from war zones. But all were working at a time when our female colleagues are exposed to abuse and harassment in the field, online and in their own newsrooms.

Read the full article here.

March a black month for Indian, Mexican and Syrian journalists

Three Indian journalists were struck by vehicles and killed in what were believed to be deliberate attacks in late March: Sandeep Sharma in Madhya Pradesh state and Navin Nischal and Vijay Singh in Bihar state.

In Syria, photographer Bashar Al-Attar was hit in an airstrike in eastern Ghouta.

In Mexico Leobardo Vázquez was found shot to death in the town of Gutiérrez Zamora, an area where drug gangs are active.

VICE News joins INSI

We are delighted to announce our first new member of 2018 – VICE News. The New York-based digital media and broadcasting company joins the world’s top media outlets including Reuters, the BBC, Swedish Radio, CNN and Al Jazeera who are all INSI members.

"Joining INSI allows us to expand that critical network of support and knowledge, tie in to a larger community that shares these same goals, and together focus on tangible steps to minimise risk and disseminate knowledge," said Sharbil Nammour, VICE’s Global Head of Security and Risk.

VICE hosted our first-ever regional safety meeting in the United States. Members shared information regarding the safety of their colleagues – and discussed a range of subjects relating to their physical, emotional and online safety. Our members have told us they find these meetings extremely valuable for sharing good practice and providing networking opportunities.

2018 Russia World Cup webinar

We want to provide practical services to all our members, wherever they are based, and we know that safety is not restricted to war zones or conflict.

Our webinar for members on the 2018 FIFA World Cup analysed the latest developments in Russia and their potential impact on the media covering the tournament. Journalist and Russia expert Malcolm Dixelius spoke about the possibility of hooliganism, terrorism and described the public mood amid the political crisis sparked by the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in London. Malcolm's tips on covering the World Cup safely include:

  • Never argue with officials - always ask for their superiors
  • Never drink alone
  • Learn the Russian alphabet 
  • Always assume you are being watched

INSI chairs sexual harassment panel

Hannah Storm moderated a panel at the Frontline Club in London on tackling harassment in the news media.

The panelists questioned how to make this a conversation that includes both men and women and asked whether there is a generational difference between women over the age of 30 and those below when it comes to ideas of consent.

You can listen to a podcast of the panel here.

Country focus: Brazil

Our Brazilian board member Marcelo Moreira wrote the first in a series of focus pieces on countries where journalists find themselves at risk.

In his article, he explained how drug gangs, protests and impunity were some of the biggest threats to journalists working in Brazil. Marcelo has pioneered safety training for journalists in Brazil, and INSI is proud to work with him.

Image by AFP