News organizations back safety guidelines for freelance journalists

Thu Feb 12, 2015 5:30pm EST
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By Jennifer Saba

NEW YORK Feb 12 (Reuters) - More than two dozen news organizations and advocacy groups have agreed to back international safety standards for freelancers in the wake of kidnappings and killings of journalists around the world.

The document calls for news organizations that employ full time staffers and freelance journalists "to actively join in a shared commitment to safety and a new spirit of collegiality and concern."

The guidelines and practices released on Thursday at Columbia University's Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma were drafted by an international group of freelancers, foreign correspondents, news executives and advocates.

The signers include Reuters , the Associated Press, Bloomberg, the BBC, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and USA Today.

"Reuters is proud to join an unprecedented alliance of top news organizations to work to protect the freelance journalists who play such a vital role in news coverage world-wide," Reuters Editor in Chief Stephen J. Adler said in a statement.

"At Reuters, we are committed to providing the same levels of security, training, and safety equipment for freelancers as we do for staff reporters working in all the most dangerous places on earth."

Bruce Shapiro, executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, said in a statement, "The role of freelancers in reporting conflict and crisis around the world has grown in significance even as threats rise.

"The news companies, freelance organizations and advocacy groups who came together to support the guidelines all understand that we are in a crisis which demands action."   Continued...