It was the kidnapping and brutal murders of freelance journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff in Syria in summer 2014 that led to the creation of the ACOS Alliance.
In September 2014, a group of news editors held private meetings in New York and Chicago to discuss how they should respond to the killing of James and Steven and how to better protect and promote the safety of freelance journalists - many of whom were working without any official safety net.
During the following months, a volunteer committee made up of representatives of the Frontline Freelance Register, Reuters, The Associated Press, the Dart Center, GroundTruth Project and the Overseas Press Club drafted the Freelance Journalist Safety Principles, a document aimed at news organizations and freelancers alike which outlines a set of safety standards that both parties should undertake and expect as a standard work environment. The six organizations whose representatives drafted the principles became its first signatories.
Soon after, with the additional support of organisations, including the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Frontline Freelance Register, the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation, Reporters without Borders and the Rory Peck Trust, the ACOS Alliance was created to help news organisations, editors and freelance and local journalists globally implement the Freelance Journalist Safety Principles and embed a culture of safety within their everyday working practices.
Today more than 120 organizations are signatories to the ACOS Alliance and the Freelance Journalist Safety Principles.
© Alexandros Michailidis