Journalism is becoming more and more dangerous, learn how to protect yourself!

“Journalism today is the most difficult job in the world,” said security expert David Bevan at the Safety4Journalists training held in Zagreb as part of the European Federation of Journalists project, in which the Trade Union of Croatian Journalists is a partner.

At first, many journalists might think: no, there are more difficult and dangerous ones. But if you just look at the Media Freedom Rapid Response report, you can conclude that journalism remains a dangerous job.

Neus Vidal from the European Center for Press and Media Freedom, the institution that founded and manages the MFRR, pointed out that in the first half of this year alone, more than 400 cases of attacks on journalists were recorded in the territory of the EU and candidate countries, and that they see a considerable increase in the number of attacks.

Most verbal attacks are by individuals. The threat to media freedom and the behavior of the police and judiciary in certain countries is also worrying. She called on journalists and professional organizations to report attacks.

Reporting an attack is important, but so is protecting yourself. Safety expert David Bevan gave practical tips on how to do this during the training session.

“When it comes to the safety of journalists, one should be proactive, not reactive. Security is best when it is worked on preventively, when protocols and tools are created to prevent security questionable situations”, explained Bevan, adding that media organizations are obliged to protect their journalists, but often this does not happen in practice. That’s why he simply told the training participants: “Prepare yourselves!”.

There are many challenges and threats to the freedom of media and journalists – online threats, threats while reporting, abuse of police and political powers, lack of a strategy by media companies to protect journalists. The solution for everything is the creation of Standard Operating Procedures and measures that will be agreed upon at the level of media houses, professional organizations and the police.


Training of journalists on how to deal with online threats is also an important segment. He believes that safety must be learned at university because it is important that people have an impression of the importance of safety at the beginning of their career. He warned that the worst situation is for freelancers because they do not have the support of the newsroom, they do not have insurance.

When it comes to online threats, Bevan suggests always keeping your personal and business social media profiles separate as it’s the only way to protect yourself. Be careful what you post, which photos, especially if you are in security demanding areas where a photo of a location, car, etc. can put you in danger.

He suggests that you also be careful with mobile phones, they can be easily broken into, so when you go to the field, clean your mobile phone. Security needs often collide with editorial and the desire to report on events, but security must come first. He also points out that the IFJ offers opportunities to insure journalists when they go to dangerous areas. He announced EFJ’s new application for the safety of journalists, which will be launched in February.

At the round table that followed the training, it was discussed how the state and how employers can protect journalists. There is progress, but perhaps the case of journalist Dušan Miljuš best shows how serious the situation is. He was attacked 14 years ago, and the court process is still not over. He pointed out that 5,435 days have passed since the attack on him, but that today there are many more challenges for journalists than when he was attacked because there were no online threats then.

The editor-in-chief of Petar Vidov said that they alone have reported 50 cases of threats since 2020. “It is not a death threat, ‘you should be killed’, but ‘I will kill you’,” the police first explains to you. If it goes to court, then the indictment will include the address of the accused, as well as the address of the person who filed the report,” Vidov warned of how things work in reality. “I believe in the good intentions of the Croatian state to take care of journalists’ safety, but I don’t feel safe,” he concluded.

A colleague from Slobodna Dalmacija, Gabrijela Radanović, warned the audience that almost three years have passed since the attack on her colleague Andrea Topić while she was doing her job, and the first hearing has not yet been scheduled.

Representatives of the Ministries of Culture and Media, Internal Affairs, and Justice pointed out that with changes to the Criminal Code, as well as better cooperation between the police and professional organizations, they made a move towards better safety for journalists.

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