Journalist security research

by Rezwan June 15, 2018
EngageMedia undertook research to understand how journalists themselves define the concept of ‘security’, what constitute practices of ‘security’, and what they do to learn about and practice ‘secure’ behaviours.

CSN

EngageMedia has conducted research for the Citizen Lab Cyber Stewards Network to understand how journalists themselves define the concept of ‘security’, what constitute practices of ‘security’, and what they do to learn about and practice ‘secure’ behaviours. The goal is to better understand how journalists approach issues of security in order to, ultimately, ascertain how and why they use digital security tools, and to discern the threats or challenges they face in their profession. Organisations who supported this initiative include the Alliance of Independent Journalists and the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communications. Southeast Asia has a growing number of technology, media and policy organisations that focus on internet rights issues, with approaches ranging from developing homegrown open-source technologies to campaigning against surveillance and website blocking, and challenging legislation. Many Southeast Asian governments are engaging in censorship, surveillance and attacks on online freedom of expression, including the filtering of content, and the arrest and detention of bloggers and journalists. The initiative is focusing on those working in high­ risk environments in Indonesia and the Philippines, high ­risk being defined as the regular exertion of direct violence or intimidation by state, business or extra­state actors on civilian populations. In the process we will develop a comparative analysis of respective country experiences. The research is aimed at advocates, policy makers and academics and will result in a written research report, a series of blog posts and a short video report. The objectives included:

  • To better understand the knowledge and activities of journalists under threat or perceived threat of surveillance and how it impacts on their lives and work
  • To support journalists to make informed choices about the risks they are taking
  • To understand how to best design and implement digital security trainings
  • To improve civil society and media organisations knowledge so as to improve future strategies and activities

The  training topics included:

  • Simple do-it-yourself tips and tricks for journalists to increase their digital security
  • Understanding modern surveillance
  • Understanding what a more holistic approach to digital security entails
  • Skills for mitigating digital security threats using a more holistic approach Using the web safely (data storage)
  • Managing online identities
  • Making the most of social media in a safe and ethical fashion.

Read blogposts reflecting on the successes of the event here, and a collection of interviews with its participants: