Safety at work

Some journalists face special hazards at work. And when it comes to sending someone to report on a bottle-throwing mob with poor aim (or a a bottle-throwing mob with good aim and a grudge against all journalists because one once described them as "a bottle-throwing mob with poor aim") news-desks face an obvious temptation to call up a freelance. Less blood on their carpet if it all goes pear-shaped.

It is also possible, of course, for a journalist to lead a much quieter life than you'd believe possible if you've been reading too much Hemingway. And the prospect of a perfectly respectable life doing subbing shifts on What Fridge? may well increase the temptation for some, in particular the young and gung-ho and inexperienced, to hare off to the latest place in the Pentagon's bomb-sights as soon as they can find Hamasistan on a map.

The simplest and most obvious advice we could offer to such people would be: Don't. Put your energies into wangling a trip to Hamasistan - the Kingdom of Righteous Anger - as assistant to an old hand, instead. Because the one rule that comes out of everything below is: do not go into dangerous situations alone. Going solo may hold out the promise of an exclusive scoop, but it also holds out the serious threat of an exclusive obituary - if anyone notices you're missing.

But, as with the prevention of sexually transmissible diseases, simple and pure advice is not practicable advice. So Freelance Industrial Council is discussing how best to provide timely and usable advice. In the meantime, here are some links to the material we, and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), already have online.

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Last modified: 7 July 2003

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