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Intense safety training ensures journalists’ security in war zones

By Theodorah Munisi, MA-student OsloMet

Three research papers on training journalists for safety towards war news coverage presented at the 8th International Conference on the 

Safety of Journalists suggested institutions like media organizations nongovernmental organizations, and government agencies should  ensure more practical and comprehensive training on safety while preparing for war coverage.

In his study named ‘We Are All War Correspondents Now: The ethics of safety training interventions for Ukrainian media’, Georgios Terzis found that despite having local and International organizations like the DT Global training journalists to work in conflict zones but still some journalists found themselves in conflict situations in Ukraine having no safety training.

Georgios says journalists need to be consistently assured and provided with physical safety: hardware (items like flak jackets, helmets, and first aid kits), psychological safety (by recognizing trauma and self-help techniques, setting up an institutional support system like a safe online space), digital safety (online seminars on data & password safety, encryption, securing transmission and location).

Angelina Lon and Signe Ivask

Another study conducted by Signe Ivask and Angelina Lon named War Correspondents having a say: preparing journalism students for covering traumatic events found that some media organizations detach themselves from the negative outcomes that may face their journalists while covering war news.

One of their study correspondents said that his media organization made him sign a paper in case something happens then it was his responsibility but after a successful coverage, the media told everyone how proud they are. This discourages and reduces the journalist’s morale towards their efforts of making war news coverage. 

The two researchers then suggested more skills like negotiation skills  (life insurance necessity), basic medical training, strategy and planning, ethics, morality, and moral dilemma skills should be imparted to the journalists before their way to cover war news.

Lastly, the researchers collectively proposed training should be moved beyond, to facilitate a more safe and more sound environment for the journalists towards war news coverage.

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