Risk & Safety Helpdesk

Our Risk & Safety Helpdesk, which uses RiskPal templates and Crisis 24 intelligence, provides expert advice where and when journalists need it.

The Helpdesk is a pilot project supported by the Google News Initiative, providing freelance journalists with private, tailored safety advice from industry-leading security experts on physical, digital, psychological and legal risks. Our aim is to bridge the gap between the support that staff journalists get and that which freelancers have access to.

The Helpdesk will provide one-to-one expert consultations for freelancers with confirmed reporting assignments in hostile environments, which can include guidance on physical safety and risk assessment, digital security and online safety, psychological safety and emotional preparedness, awareness of the risk of arrest or other legal tools aimed at silencing journalists. 

This is a rare opportunity for independent journalists to access specialised industry safety advice using the same risk management tool and security intelligence used by news producers at UK broadcasters ITN, 5 News and Channel 4 News, as well as the National Film & Television School. 

Our aim is to provide journalists with knowledge and expertise that will help them improve their safety practices, as well as answer any questions in relation to planning a specific assignment. Over time, the Helpdesk will also grow into a database of knowledge by freelance journalists for freelance journalists – this sharing of information already happens informally, but the Helpdesk will pool the knowledge and make it searchable.


In order to be eligible to use the Helpdesk, you must:

  • be planning a specific reporting assignment in the next couple of months;
  • be planning to report on protests or civil unrest; OR
  • think your story may have implications for your safety.

You must also meet all of the following criteria to apply to use the Helpdesk:

  • Must be a freelance journalist who does not have a regular salary or retainer;
  • Must have been actively working as a freelance journalist for at least the last 12 months;
  • Do not have access to safety advisors through the outlet commissioning your story.

Please note: The number of consultations available is limited and spaces will be allocated following an assessment of individual circumstances.

If you would benefit from a consultation with an expert security advisor, click the button below to register your interest. You’ll need to provide basic details about yourself and your upcoming assignment.

Please register at least a month prior to your departure/assignment date.

The Helpdesk is supported by