Our 37-question survey received 172 responses, though not all participants answered every question. The majority of respondents were male, 63 percent, and more than half (52 percent) were Europeans though significant numbers came from North America, the Middle East and Asia. Respondents worked across the industry though 52 percent identified themselves as journalists/reporters who came from television, internet publications and newspapers. Most – 71 percent – had been in the business for more than 10 years.
The overwhelming majority of respondents, 88 percent, agreed that the safety of journalists and media workers is more of an issue than it was 10 years ago while 86 percent said they are now more likely to be targets of violence, with 69 percent saying local journalists are more at risk. Even those who don’t work in so called hostile environments are in danger, said 72 percent of respondents.
Almost four out of five respondents said that journalists are more likely to be kidnapped than they were a decade ago. Along with kidnapping, corrupt groups and individuals, a lack of journalistic independence and neutrality and a lack of respect for journalists were cited as the main threats in 2015. Although some of the same issues remained, those threats were rather different a decade ago and included being killed in frontline conflict, corrupt individuals and groups, motor vehicle accidents, impunity for those who kill journalists and friendly fire.
Women journalists and media worker were thought to be more at risk by 53 percent of respondents. This is perhaps because there are more women working in the industry than 10 years ago, according to 30 percent of survey participants, who also listed the broader trend of lack of respect for all journalists as a reason for the increased danger to women.
Survey respondents said the emergence of new technologies has made journalism more dangerous (47 percent) though almost one quarter (22 percent) said it had made things safer.
Ten years ago Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia were regarded as the countries too dangerous to report from, though many news organisations still did. In 2015, there have been some changes with Syria considered as the top no-go zone followed by Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan and Somalia.
Respondents were split on whether or not journalists and media workers were more likely to experience emotional trauma than 10 years ago, with 42 percent saying yes and 38 percent answering no. Journalists pressured to do more with fewer resources was the main reason given by those who said there had been an increase. Greater awareness of the issue and decreased taboos came in second.
United Nations resolutions condemning attacks on journalists were seen as toothless by an overwhelming 81 percent of respondents with just four percent saying they had made any difference on the ground.
Safety training for journalists has changed significantly in the past decade with respondents citing the increased availability of courses and more professional trainers as the main improvements.
Where totals add up to more than 100 percent respondents may have selected more than one answer.