The guide by Committee to Protect Journalists has specific advice, including editor’s safety checklist while deploying staff on a hostile story, and detailed information on digital safety. Photo:

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), along with The Hindu, launcheda ‘Safety Guide for Journalists covering Indian elections 2024’ at an online event on March 8.

The guide has specific advice, including editor’s safety checklist while deploying staff on a hostile story, and detailed information on digital safety. The document features ways to tackle online campaigns, which particularly target women journalists in an orchestrated way, manage stress in the newsroom, address security challenges faced by Indian journalists and other issues.

Kunal Majumder, CPJ’s Indian representative, said the safety kit, which contains details on how to prepare for elections and ensure physical, digital and psychological safety, is available in four regional languages apart from English on

Journalism has become increasingly hazardous both in physical and online realms, N. Ram, Director, The Hindu Group Publishing Private Limited, said during the event. He said India was clearly more dangerous for journalists, particularly during the sensitive period in the run-up to elections, going by global surveys done on state of media freedom in India.

Citing the annual press freedom index released by Reporters Without Borders, an international non-profit organisation based in Paris, he said India was ranked 140 in press freedom enjoyed by journalists and media houses among 180 countries and territories in 2014. India’s position slipped to 150 in 2022 and 168 by 2023. While index data on various aspects is disturbing, India’s position in terms of journalists’ security has been 172 and classified as serious.

Lauding the safety guide brought out by CPJ that comprises data from the Armed Conflict and Location Event Data Project, he said it was a comprehensive document meticulously prepared based on experiences of media organisations during the run-up to the 2019 general elections and five years since then. The data analysis revealed a surge in threats to journalists through physical attacks, mob violence and on the digital front.

Elaborating on the CPJ’s documentation of work-related killings of journalists since 1992, Mr. Ram said the death toll had surged since 2014, and local reporters from remote locations as well as experienced journalists of influential media organisations were targeted. “We need to recognise and confront such challenges and work towards safeguarding the integrity and freedom of journalists,” he said, also suggesting that models be created to deal with problems caused by deliberate disinformation.

Panel discussion

The necessity for workshops to train journalists on pressing concerns related to digital safety was discussed at a panel discussion. Panellists Ishani Dutta Ray, Editor, Anandabazar Patrika; Ashish Pandey, Editor, Navbharat Times; Dhanya Rajendran, Editor-in-Chief, The News Minute; and Colin Pereira, chief strategist on journalist safety, CPJ, deliberated on the need for institutional support, strong legal team and emotional support for journalists facing safety threat.

Narrating various incidents, the panellists suggested that journalists be made digitally aware of attacks and trained on mechanisms to counter threats. More solidarity must be built among media organisations during the onslaught on journalists. Pragya Tiwari, co-founder of Oijo, moderated the session.

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