Risk Assessment &
Risk assessments & security.
How do I complete a risk assessment and security protocol?
The following guidance will help you to identify potential risks to safety and security, classify threats and put measures in place to minimise risk.
Photo: Kumar Shrestha | © B.B. Funyal
Completing a risk assessment and security protocol before beginning an assignment will help to manage and mitigate risks and enable an appropriate response to an incident or emergency on location. Use it as an essential tool and checklist to ensure all elements of preparedness have been considered prior to travel, and in anticipating and handling all potential scenarios that may come up during the assignment.
Speak to as many sources as possible so you really understand the nature of the threats facing you, your crew, contacts and contributors. Reliable and current local knowledge is extremely valuable; however, be mindful that people and organisations have different thresholds of acceptable risk. Other journalists, NGOs, activists and government agencies will be able to help with this. Online reports and guides are also useful, though beware of sources and dates of publication in assessing if the information is current or is worth reviewing.
For each stage of the assessment, think through every possible ‘What if…?’ scenario to help identify and classify threats – both the possible and the unlikely. Quite often, the least expected events or scenarios are the situations that freelance journalists find themselves in on the ground.
Constantly ask yourself: ‘How am I perceived…?’ and ‘How am I perceiving people, places and situations?’ in assessing safety and security. This is particularly important for local journalists operating in their home country or area.
Always carefully consider and weigh the perceived risks against the editorial (and other) benefits of the assignment.
Each journalist and assignment faces a unique set of circumstances – the risk assessment and security protocol information should be treated as guidance only and changed accordingly.
Download the Risk Assessment & Security Protocol Template, along with the in-depth guide to completing it.