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Committee to Protect Journalists launches Journalist Security Guide

In a world where a journalist, blogger or media worker is killed nearly every week, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has launched a Journalist Security Guide to help journalists stay safe while getting the story.

The guide offers instruction in how to handle dangerous situations, including preparing for armed conflict, covering organised crime and corruption, and mitigating the risk of sexual violence.

According to CPJ, threats facing journalists have changed dramatically in the past decade. "Investigating corruption or abuse of power can be more dangerous in many nations than covering combat. In this climate, journalists need to know how to protect their information, their sources, themselves and their families," said Frank Smyth, the guide's main author.

Murders of online journalists, once a rarity, now make up about 20 to 25 percent of journalists' slayings worldwide, CPJ says. A whole chapter is dedicated to digital security and how to defend "your research, notes, details of contacts, images, audio and video files, even your itinerary."

And just as the threats have changed, so too has the profession. CPJ finds that more news gatherers work on their own - citizen journalists, bloggers, videographers and freelance foreign correspondents - with little or no institutional support. Attention to basic preparedness features prominently in the guide.

The guide also includes checklists, a pre-assignment security assessment worksheet, and a comprehensive list of resources for insurance and security training.

The CPJ Journalist Security Guide is available online and can also be downloaded in PDF, as an iBook for iPad, and in e-reader format for Kindle and Nook.

CPJ is also launching a journalist security blog led by Smyth.

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