NMA Welcomes New Safety Toolkit For Journalists

The News Media Association has welcomed the launch of a mobile-friendly safety toolkit to help journalists find advice and information surrounding their safety while on the move.

The launch by the National Union of Journalists and Society of Editors is part of the National Committee for the Safety of Journalists’ action plan which aims to find ways to protect journalists from threats of violence and online abuse in the course of their work.

The NMA represents the industry on the Committee which published the guide ‘Combatting Online Harassment and Abuse: a Legal Guide for Journalists in England and Wales’ as part of its ongoing work to promote the safety of journalists.  

The new free-to-access toolkit provides clear, simple information and advice, covering physical safety, information security, mental health care, health and safety at work as well as signposting journalists to other important resources.

Michelle Stanistreet, National Union of Journalists general secretary, said: “With surveys and our own research showing that four in five journalists have experienced threats and violence at work and more than half of NUJ members experienced online abuse, something needs to be done.

“That is why we have devised a toolkit offering practical tips to journalists to help protect them while doing their job. But what needs to happen is a change of culture where it is totally unacceptable for journalists to be threatened and abused just for doing their job.”

Dawn Alford, Executive Director of the Society of Editors said: “Journalism plays a crucial role in our society and yet more and more often we are seeing journalists subjected to abuse, harassment and intimidation for simply carrying out their roles.

“The Society is committed to helping to ensure that journalists operating in the UK are able to do so without fear and the Safety Toolkit provides information, advice and resources to help reporters recognise their rights and the avenues available to help them work safely. The abuse of journalists must not be seen as part of the job. Abuse must be called out – and stamped out – if journalists are to be able to continue to speak truth to power.”

Owen Meredith, NMA chief executive, said: “The safety of journalists both in the UK and overseas is a hugely important topic and we welcome this new toolkit which is an important resource for journalists to use.

“We are clear that the abuse, intimidation and, in some cases, serious violence faced by journalists must end and we look forward to continuing our work with the Committee to achieve that goal.”