Credits: All from AP - from left: Martin Mejia (Lima 2000), David de la Paz (Mexico City 1999), Jose Luis Magana (Mexico City 1998), Nasser Nasser (Ramallah 2002), Srdjan Ilic (Kosovo 1998) & Nasser Nasser (Ramallah 2000).
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May 7, 2010
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Journalist Safety
UN Resolution 1738

Journalist Safety
CoE Resolution 1535

Killing The Messenger
- INSI Global Inquiry - Report and Recommendations

Live News Africa
- A Survival Guide for Journalists

AIB Directory

Translations of key INSI information are available below in PDF format.
Note: You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your system to read them. Financial resources have been available for some time now.

link to Arabic translation in PDF
link to Kurdish translation in PDF
link to Bengali translation in PDF
link to Azeri PDF
link to Word document in French
link to MS Word document in Spanish
link to MS Word document in Portuguese
link to PDF in Russian
link to PDF in Georgian
link to PDF in Tagalog
link to PDF in Bahasa Indonesia

"Tell a Colleague" button


Personal Safety Tips - A Soldier's Perspective
Authorities / Police have shown animosity towards visiting journalists recently. You may need to get permission to cover anything related to military/police
  • Obtain a journalist visa so that you can obtain a local media accreditation ID from the Information department
  • Visitor visa is available on arrival, but visitor visa may not give permission to cover anything officially
  • There are high security zones gazetted (notified by the government) and non gazetted in many places, where photography is completely prohibited
  • TRAVEL SECURITY

    • Keep your colleagues/local media watch dog organizations informed of your itinerary
    • Avoid crowded areas and public events as much as possible
    • Amend your journey plan to avoid main intersections wherever possible as roads may close for VIP traffic
    • If your vehicle is parked at a public place, inspect your vehicle before you move
    • Display your contact no by pasting it on the front sun visor of your vehicle enabling police or security personnel to contact you in case of an emergency if your vehicle is parked in a public area
    • Keep your radio on when driving/traveling
    • Keep in mind that you may be followed and land lines phones may be tapped

    HEALTH:

    • Make available your emergency contact no, blood group and Rh code (attach with the ID card).
    • Keep a brief summary of your medical history and allergies to medicines if any

    PLACES TO AVOID

    • Avoid areas where politicians & high ranking military leaders live when traveling
    • Avoid heavy traffic and have an alternative route plan
    • Avoid traveling close proximity to VIP motor vehicles and military vehicles
    • Be conscious of unattended parcels and advice security personnel of such items

    COVERING WAR ZONE:

    • Both sides have not allowed journalists to cover the war from frontlines
    • LTTE held areas are almost closed for journalists by the government, including stores which offer instant cash loans to operators. These are generally for emergency funds only.
    • Government military controlled areas are partially open for media
    • No foreign journalists have been allowed to cover Jaffna independently for about a year or so
    • Journalists may need MOD permission to cover Military controlled areas
    • Embedded journalism is not practiced by military in Sri Lanka
    • Mobile phones networks are switched off in North and East of the country without any prior notice by the government

    ARMED GROUPS ACTIVE

    • Although para military or LTTE has not shown any regard for accountability no foreigner has been deliberately targeted during the 30 year old civil war
    • Jaffna district Jaffna is the capital city of northern province; Under military rule for more than 10 years; civilian administration functions partially; daily curfew from 7.00 pm 5.00 am; underground LTTE groups operate; EPDP a para military political party work closely with the military; other armed groups are not active
    • Vanni Under LTTE control for more than 10 years; no government defense forces have a presence; Deep Penetration Units of military said to be active in some areas
    • Vavunia and Mannar districts - No official curfew. Under military control but civil administration function; underground LTTE groups operate; PLOTE, a para military political party operates closely with military and navy; another para military group TELO too is active
    • Trincomalee district - Seat of the Eastern provincial administration; under military control; civil administration functions; under ground LTTE presence is less; HQ of Para military TMVP led by Pilleyan. TMVP presence is strong; Some areas ( HSZs) are completely closed for civilians and journalists; para military TELO and PLOTE have some presence. There are pockets of LTTE held areas in the district
    • Batticloa district - Tamil majority district of the Eastern province, situation volatile though military controls whole district, TMVP Pilleyan and Karuna factions active openly with the support of SL security forces, underground LTTE units active; other para military political groups like EPDP, PLOTE have only a nominal presence; recent reports speak of the existence of para military Muslim groups as well


    I am Sergeant Lazo and I'll tell you that from the 1st day you set foot at the MEPS station till the final day in the Army , Safety is non negotiable. Safety is prime in our kind of work because lives are at risk. The same guidelines we are taught at once correlate to civilian life. Permit me to put forth the army beliefs under the letter M, civilian beliefs under the letter C and assailant beliefs under the letter A. Foundations : Awareness M : without regard for where you are, stay sharp and conscious of your environment. In the army our one enemy is complacency.

    Complacency is a sense of happiness or self-satisfaction, particularly when joined with an unawareness of danger, difficulty, or squabble. In a combat environment we go thru the same routines constantly.

    Weapon on safe, clean your weapon, drink water, scan you sector, etc... It is simple to chill and let your guard slip. You often forget about the perils because you do it so regularly and you are good at it. Before long something happens. Our worst enemy can be complacency. C : Awareness is the key! An awareness of the grim reality of violence and crime, not to mention perception of your environment, are the keys to your private security.

    It is simple to say or think : "nothing will ever happen to me". Till it does happen to you! Easy stuff like realizing that danger exists and looking around in your environment can deter an assailant. A : The assailant will have a look for somebody that's distracted and not aware. For example, somebody chatting on a telephone, somebody trying to find keys, somebody speaking to others in a gang or somebody just daydreaming. "Stay Awake" tried and tested principles : Assurance and Confidence M : without regard for where you are, always appear calm and assured in your idiosyncrasy. A good example of this in the army is when you go before a promotion board. A promotion board is the method for which you go so as to achieve the following rank. You perform a sequence of jobs and answer questions before the board members. You need to show you are prepared to steer squaddies in combat. You enter in your dress uniform and must appear calm and assured even if you should happen to feel like your going to soil yourself. You show no weakness and even though you reply anything wrong you stick to your guns and say it's write. The board members see that your understanding, tranquility and confidence even under pressure are robust.

    So , advocate promotion to the following rank. C : guarantee and confidence could seem like an easy thing but for some it doesn't come easily. It has been proved that assailants look for certain clues which make a potential victim seem like a big fat target. Things which can be done to not seem like a potential target are : Walk at a regular speed, Stand straight with your shoulders back and head held up, look round you, do not do other stuff while walking, listen, and act assured and self warranted. A : The assailant will go looking for clues that tell them the possible victim is a big fat target. Somebody that walks with their head down, maybe lost, perhaps confused, shuffling along, and not listening to what is occurring around them.


    "Don't make yourself a fat target" general principles : Trust your Instincts M : Trust your instincts. If you should happen to feel worried about someone or a selected situation, remove yourself. In the army this is particularly true. When in a combat environment you occasionally get a feeling or hear a little voice in the back of your head that tells you something is not right. In such examples you continue with caution and it occasionally saves your butt. C : learn how to trust the peculiar feeling in your tum, the voice in your head and the pile in your throat. What do you do when your instincts are attempting to tell you something? All of your senses should come to life, your sight, your smell, your touch, your taste and your listening.

    You have to now be in a position to do something. Run or fight and you have to decide fast! So...

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    You were wrong, would you prefer to feel barely embarrassed for twenty minutes or victimised for the remainder of your life? A : The assailant is looking to do one thing, Attack and in most situations the chicken will come from behind. Be ready and "Trust your instincts, you can't get it wrong.

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    Killing The Messenger | Journalists & Media Staff Casualties 2007 | INSI: Killing The Messenger | Women Reporting War | Travel Advisory Gaza | Journalists & Media Staff Casualties Iraq | Trauma Awareness for Journalists Covering Tsunamis | Georgia Safety Tips | ISSUED BY FLEET STREET CLINIC | Bloodiest year for news media | EMBARGOED FOR 0001GMT 3 May 2005 | THE INSI SAFETY CODE | Iraq editor killed, says U.S. media watchdog | INSI welcomes UN action to safeguard journalists | News Deaths Hit All-Time High