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What we've achieved with your help in 2018

What we've achieved with your help in 2018
Panel discussion at our one-day forum in Kyiv. Photo: Evgeny Maloletka

As the end of 2018 approaches, we want to thank everyone who has supported the Rory Peck Trust across the year.

At a point when freelance journalists are facing increasing and multifaceted threats across the world, your support has helped us to provide them with the skills and tools they need to manage risks, and to provide emergency assistance in times of crisis.

 

From harassment and intimidation to surveillance and smear campaigns, the dangers for journalists have crept far beyond conflict zones. Among the most vulnerable are local freelancers investigating politics and corruption within their own countries. Over the year, we have given assistance grants to freelance journalists in difficulty across five continents, contributing to trauma support, legal fees, medical costs, and basic subsistence after necessary relocation.

 

We expanded our safety initiatives into new territories this year, working with international and regional partners to provide up to 200 freelancers with specialist training and guidance that has improved their safety skills in the face of rising hostilities.

 

We began the year with a three-day security training workshop for 27 journalists working along the high-risk borders of Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador. In isolated conditions these reporters cover dangerous beats including corruption, human trafficking and the drug trade; Mexico alone has seen at least 10 journalists killed this year. Our workshop shared best practices on how to stay safe, verify information and avoid lawsuits or physical attacks, as well as building solidarity among freelancers in this region.

 

We also extended our projects into new countries including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil and Cambodia. This summer we supported RISC to deliver safety courses for 46 freelancers in São Paulo and Sarajevo, where they gained first-aid training and security skills. Meanwhile, in response to concerns about safety from Cambodia-based freelance journalists, we facilitated a four-day tailored safety and first-aid course delivered by Trauma Training for Journalists.

 

In Ukraine, where journalists face multiple threats and violence – both physical and online – we completed a two-year project, supported by the United Nations Democracy Fund, to build the resilience of the country's freelance community. The second of the project’s two five-day workshops was held in Kyiv, followed by a day-long forum attended by 80 freelancers, government representatives and civil society organisations in September. Lastly, our bilingual online resource in Ukrainian and Russian was launched in October. A significant and very popular component of the project and resource has been trauma management and responsible journalism, for which we partnered with Dart Center Europe. In its first six weeks, the resource received almost 3,000 visits.

 

Another new resource, our Digital Security Guide, was launched in July to address the lack of digital security knowledge among freelancers, despite significant threats. The guide takes users through easy-to-follow steps covering passwords, social media, online harassment and malware to help them take back control of their online profile, communications and materials. Following its success, a translation will be published in Arabic in early 2019.

 

And finally, the popularity of our Freelance Safety Surgeries, run with Frontline Freelance Register and leading security experts, continued into 2018 with a second event for 40 freelance journalists at London’s Frontline Club in February. In December we took the format ‘on the road’ to Jordan to the annual ARIJ forum for investigative journalists in Amman which saw 34 freelancers from across the Middle East and Africa receive tailored 45-minute safety consultations. We aim to expand this successful model further in coming years.

 

With independent journalism around the world coming under increasing attack, our work is needed more than ever before. This year we were able to meet just 20% of requests for our assistance grants – a meagre one in five – and we expect this demand to rise. Similarly the need for access to tailored expert safety, security and trauma training is essential for local freelancers to stay strong and resilient in the face of new and hybrid threats.

 

Freelancers all over the world rely on the work of the Rory Peck Trust. With your help and generosity we can continue to support and strengthen these brave and committed journalists during the critical years ahead. Thank you.

 

Read more about the Trust's work in our annual review.

 

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