Under Threat - the Changing State of Media Safety

At the end of 2014, as our industry was reeling from the murders of James Foley and Steven Sotloff, INSI decided that it was time to look at the main changes and challenges to the safety of journalists over the past decade.

We first did something similar at the start of the Iraq war when INSI published Dying To Tell The Story, a tribute to the brave men and women who died covering the conflict in that country.

Fast-forward 10 years and the spotlight of the world's media was again on the same region. Journalists were again making sacrifices to cover the story and being killed with impunity while the international community raised its hands in horror.

This time we wanted to speak with as many individuals as possible who either worked in challenging areas or could explain the decisions they made and the dilemmas they faced when deploying people to hostile environments. We also wanted to supplement these discussions with a survey that reached a more diverse group of industry individuals. Finally, we asked journalists, decision makers and safety professionals to write essays about their experiences working and sending others to dangerous environments over the past 10 years.

The answers to our questions were enlightening, surprising and diverse.

We found that the threat of kidnap weighed more heavily than it did a decade ago, as did the risks and opportunities provided by technology and social media, something not even considered when we wrote Dying To Tell The Story. The dangers faced by freelancers were often raised as something particularly hard to bear for those working in today's media landscape. We also found that safety training and equipment has improved but is still no guarantee of surviving the story.

We are presenting all our findings in this report - Under Threat - the Changing State of Media Safety - in the hope that it will provide a reference that we as an industry can use to construct a better tomorrow for all our colleagues, wherever they work and in whatever capacity.