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Risk Assessment Notes 1

Risk Assessment Notes 1
Photo: Kumar Shrestha | © B.B. Funyal

Use these notes to help you start your Risk Assessment Form

When working on your risk assessment research and consult as many sources as possible to make sure you understand the nature of the threats facing you, and ways in which they can be minimised. Journalists, NGOs, activists and government agencies will all be able to help with this. Online reports and guides are also useful.

Assignment outline

To be able to identify risks, you need to properly outline what your project is. So before beginning your risk assessment it is important to write an assignment outline. Try to identify and list the key building blocks of the project: all the sequences, interviews, travel plans and actions that are vital to your plans.

Locations and brief schedule

Where are you going, when, and for how long?

Assignment details

Give specific details of what you intend to cover to complete your assignment. What will you film, photograph, record, write about to make your piece? Including relevant meetings, sequences, interviews and locations. This will act as the basic foundation of your risk assessment, and will give you a clear idea of what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve it.

Project specific risks

  • Is this a sensitive topic?
  • Are you covering a high risk location, activity or event?
  • Who will you be meeting, are they potentially under surveillance, and might they be at risk if they talk to you?
  • Is your security threatened by talking to specific people, visiting or working in a specific area?
  • What measures should you take? For example, could you leave sensitive interviews to the end of your visit, so they are less likely to affect your plans?

More than anything, effective risk management is about asking questions, listening to the answers, and working within the realm of the possible. Importantly, this part of the assessment should also include the recent experience of other journalists. This is vital for insurance cover (see Risk Assessment Notes 2) and a very valuable tool for you to discover how other people like you have faced and resolved (or not) similar problems.

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