Safety as a prerequisite for free journalistic work

Protecting the safety of journalists is a prerequisite for their free work. Security has become a priority for our work, especially after the unprecedented increase in attacks on journalists and media workers. According to the MFRR, an organization that monitors attacks on media freedom, there were 626 violations of media rights in Europe in 2021. Of the 626 reported cases, 410 involved physical and psychological threats.

There is no country in Europe where journalists are not exposed to attacks and their safety is not threatened. Unfortunately, Croatia is no exception. Journalists and media workers have always been considered high-risk workers due to the nature of their work. But in reality there is also a lack of awareness of health and safety issues and safeguards and policies for journalists and media workers. Journalists face risks to their health and safety, whether in the workplace or in more dangerous or volatile environments.

Trade Union of Croatian Journalists is a partner in the Safety4Journalists project of the European Federation of Journalists whose main goal is to promote health and safety at work through the training of labor organizations and involvement in social dialogue with employers’ associations. During the project, a universal risk assessment model will be created that journalists and media houses can use in practice, and best practices will be exchanged. The focus is on vulnerable workers, such as female journalists and freelancers.

Security experts will hold training in Zagreb on 22nd and 23rd of November. On the first day we will hold a public debate on this problem in the Press House.

On the eve of the conference and workshops in Zagreb, we want to warn the public about the growing problem. Our best journalists will share their experiences and testimonies of how the attacks affected their work. Nataša Božić Šarić from N1 Television says that due to insults and threats, she has stopped commenting on the networks and publishes topics related to journalistic work less and less.

Denis Mahmutović, a 24Sata journalist, says that threats and insults hurt him less than the lawsuits that powerful people seek to try to silence journalists. It is the club that hurts more, says Mahmutović.

Laura Šiprak, a journalist for 24Sata, received terrible threats of rape, execution, insults and insults, but only when they started threatening her husband did she become seriously worried. She faced self-censorship, locked profiles on social networks and spoke about the problem.

Ana Raić Knežević, journalist, has been following the black chronicle for 30 years. She is used to threats and insults, she says, but when, after the attack on the Government building, a young man commented that journalists were next in line, she decided to report the threat.

As part of the Safety4Journalists project, representatives of the Trade Union of Croatian Journalists and the Croatian Journalists’ Association, Maja Sever and Hrvoje Zovko, are talking to responsible editors in media houses about the importance of establishing a journalist protection system at the newsroom level, and the continuation of discussions with representatives of the relevant ministries has been announced in order to continue work on establishing of the journalist protection system at the national level.

We invite you to get involved in our project, join our conference on November 22nd at 4 pm and send us your experience and testimony of how the attacks affected your work or post it on the networks with the tag #Safety4Journalists

The Safety4Journalists project involves five national journalists’ unions and associations in Croatia (Union of Croatian Journalists, TUCJ), Germany (German Journalists’ Syndicate, DJV), France (National Journalists’ Union CGT, SNJ-CGT), Netherlands (Netherlands Society of Journalists). , NVJ ) and Sweden (Swedish Association of Journalists, SJF ) and their respective national employers’ organizations.

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