CULTURE OF SAFETY
FOR FREELANCE JOURNALISM
The ACOS Alliance works to embed a culture of safety across newsrooms and among freelance and local journalists worldwide.
The Alliance is an unprecedented coalition of news organizations, freelance journalist associations and press freedom NGOs working together to champion safe and responsible journalistic practices. Established in 2015, the ACOS Alliance has grown into a unique strategic alliance. We are committed to finding and implementing practical and effective initiatives that enable newsrooms and freelancers to access the resources they need to meet basic safety standards outlined in the principles.
As an Alliance, we facilitate a space for stakeholders to enter a closer dialogue, create productive partnerships, find collaborative ways to improve the safety of local journalists and freelancers, and extend the impact of their work.
INSURANCE - Being prepared means being insured. The ACOS Alliance is keen to facilitate access to insurance to freelancers and local journalists around the world. In 2019, we plan to launch some new options that will cover not only reporters, but fixers and stringers, drivers and translators on the ground, regardless of where are they based, at discounted prices. The ACOS Alliance receives no financial consideration or benefit from any insurance programs, and does not endorse any particular provider.
SAFETY TRAINING - We encourage all journalists to complete a safety and first aid training course before working in a hostile environment. The ACOS Alliance is helping freelance journalists access such training, often referred to as HEFAT (Hostile Environment and First Aid Training). Over the last couple of years, we have supported more than 350 freelance and local journalists in getting access and participating in safety training courses. We do this by working with news organizations, building productive partnerships with NGOs, identifying and responding to current gaps, and using our unique position as a coalition to coordinate collaborative training opportunities worldwide.
If you are a freelance or a local journalist in need of safety training, we encourage you to complete the ACOS Alliance Standard Application Form. This form will allow us to contact you when relevant opportunities for safety training arise, build a database of freelance and local journalists in need of safety training, design future training programmes and partner with news organizations and NGOs to meet current news. Completing this form does not guarantee a bursary.
As freelancers continue to professionalize and we invest in their training, it's essential that those commissioning them have an appropriate level of understanding of best practices for safe commissioning. The Alliance is also responding to this need with safety workshops tailored to the needs, role and responsibilities of editors. More than 90 assigning editors have directly benefited from our editors' safety workshops and training.
INFOSHARE - We want to increase freelancers’ access to relevant and professional safety information and advice. We are currently piloting an information-sharing project with a selected group of security experts and verified freelancers.
PRINCIPLES - We encourage news organizations and journalists across the world to endorse the Freelance Journalist Safety Principles and work together to embed a culture of safety and promote safe practices. The Principles are a comprehensive set of safety practices that have been signed by nearly a 100 organizations from more than a dozen countries, including all the global news wire services, US TV news networks and major US and European nonprofit journalism organizations.
RESOURCES - Our resources page has information for freelancers and editors -- including where freelancers can receive reporting and training grants, legal representation, psychological support, training grants and crisis support.
Are you a journalist whose device was searched at the US border? Were you stopped for extra screening? CPJ and RSF, on behalf of the ACOS Alliance, have been working to understand the scope of the problems facing journalists entering and exiting the US border. We are also coordinating with a coalition of groups to address these issues and refer individual journalists to advisories and assistance where needed. Please contact Alex Ellerbeck at CPJ (email@example.com) or Daphne Pellegrino at RSF (firstname.lastname@example.org) to report concerns -- which can remain anonymous -- or seek advice. You can also record relevant US border incidents here.