SAG-AFTRA Issues Journalist Safety Tips on World Press Freedom Day

SAG-AFTRA Issues Journalist Safety Tips on World Press Freedom Day

LOS ANGELES and NEW YORK (May 3, 2012) --- A free press can only exist when those who bring us the news are able to work without fear for their lives, well-being and safety.

SAG-AFTRA has joined the International News Safety Institute (INSI) North America to mark World Press Freedom Day, May 3, by providing journalists with resources for staying safe while covering domestic unrest, such as the Occupy protests, and the upcoming Camp David G-8 Summit. SAG-AFTRA and INSI-NA have also provided an editorial authored by veteran broadcast journalist David Browde, who shares some of his tips on keeping safe in the field.

“‘Safety first’ has to be more than just a slogan,” Browde writes in his editorial. “And each time a reporter goes into the field, he/she and their team — if there is one — should be evaluating and analyzing the risks, as well as the rewards, at every location.”

Go to https://www.sagaftra.org/files/sagaftra/news_safety_tips.pdf to view the journalist safety tips and https://www.sagaftra.org/files/sagaftra/browde_safety_editorial.pdf for Browde’s editorial.

As the union representing broadcast professionals who often work in volatile and dangerous situations, SAG-AFTRA is committed to ensuring journalists’ safety and to educating and informing reporters and media staff about safety practices when covering civil unrest abroad and here at home.

“Safety is essential to freedom of press. Journalists and news professionals work in all conditions and often must put themselves in harm’s way just to do their jobs,” said Mary Cavallaro, SAG-AFTRA Assistant National Director of News and Broadcast. “Recently, we have had many very difficult reminders of the dangers that confront journalists every day. SAG-AFTRA believes it is important that broadcast journalists have all of the resources and support to keep them safe.”

According to INSI, more than 1,000 journalists and staff have been killed in the last 10 years while covering stories. INSI provides instruction in remaining safe while reporting in combat zones, areas experiencing unrest and natural disasters, handling trauma, dealing with arrest and keeping on top of cyber-security issues.

The recent Occupy protests and the upcoming G-8 summit in Camp David highlight the threat journalists, broadcasters and other reporting staff may face when doing their jobs. Simply turning on the evening television news makes clear the threat to professional news workers. The danger is no longer only on the combat battlefield — pepper spray, tear gas and violence by individuals, crowds and confrontations with law enforcement pose potential threats to news professionals in the field.

INSI is a nonprofit coalition of international news organizations, journalists and media professionals committed to the protection of staff who work under hostile and dangerous conditions. Since 2003, the AFTRA Foundation has served as the home of INSI in North America.

"News reporters are the vanguard of truth-seekers and are often the public's ‘window to the world.’ They routinely put themselves in harm's way to get the story and to report it to us,” said Thomas Carpenter, SAG-AFTRA Assistant National Executive Director and Chief Labor Counsel. “Making sure that our members, and all journalists, stay safe is a priority for SAG-AFTRA and it's one of the reasons we are distributing the journalist safety tips, courtesy of INSI. Press freedom iscritical to a free society and reporter safety is critical to a free press.”

Carpenter also sits as an Executive Board member and treasurer of INSI and INSI North America.

First observed in 1993, UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day is marked by events around the world, including a roundtable discussion hosted at the United Nations in New York featuring INSI advisor Judith Matloff.

About SAG-AFTRA
SAG-AFTRA represents more than 160,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other media professionals. SAG-AFTRA members are the faces and voices that entertain and inform America and the world. With national offices in Los Angeles and New York and local offices nationwide, SAG-AFTRA members work together to secure the strongest protections for media artists into the 21st century and beyond. Visit SAG-AFTRA online at SAGAFTRA.org.
 
About INSI
INSI provides a global safety network of advice, training programs, resources and assistance to journalists, broadcasters, translators, photographers, camera operators, drivers and support staff who work in threatening environments while gathering news. Visit INSI at http://www.newssafety.org/