Covid-19 safety resource for media

New resource helps news organisations respond to COVID-19 safety challenges with a focus on freelance journalists

The ACOS Alliance, IMS and a group of its signatories have launched a new safety resource to help news organisations respond to the extraordinary challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on the safe commissioning of freelance journalists. 

The COVID-19 News Organizations Safety Protocolsprovides newsrooms and commissioning editors with practical guidance on how to cover the pandemic professionally and in a way that minimises risk. It addresses all aspects of assignment planning and safety including crisis management, communications, hygiene and mental health. It also includes best practice around key freelance issues such as accreditation, PPE, insurance and expenses. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the safety and revenue challenges already facing the journalism industry. The COVID-19 News Organizations Safety Protocolscalls on news organisations to regard the safety and protection of all of its journalists – including freelancers – as an essential investment, as well as a basic duty of care. It contains tools which help newsrooms to review, adapt and expand their existing safety procedures in response to the pandemic and encourages those without safety protocols to prioritise their development as a matter of urgency. 

Elisabet Cantenys, Executive Director of the ACOS Alliance says: “COVID-19 exposes safety as a priority for everyone in the journalism profession, not just those involved in so-called “high risk” reporting. This is an invitation for news organisations who are new to safety to get involved in the conversation and to use this resource as an opportunity to embed a culture of safety within their everyday practices – including their work with freelancers.“

The resource was produced in partnership with Article 19,Committee to Protect Journalists, Free Press Unlimited, Frontline Freelance Register,International Center for Journalists, International Media Support, International News Safety Institute, International Press Institute, International Women’s Media Foundation, Reporters Without Borders, Samir Kassir Foundation and the World Association of News Publishers.

It is being translated into Arabic, French and Spanish.