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Freelancers receive one-to-one safety advice on first-ever day of surgeries

Wednesday, 02 August 2017 Written by Austin Cooper, RPT's Programme Officer for Middle East and North Africa

On 13th July, 37 freelancers from around the world joined RPT, Frontline Freelance Register (FFR) and a team of security experts to get their safety questions answered.

In mid-July, a team of safety advisers and digital security experts, assembled by RPT and FFR, set up at the Frontline Club in West London for the first ever Freelance Safety Surgeries. Experts from Buzzfeed, First Option, Blue Mountain Group, AKE and A.Kain & Partners fielded questions from freelancers across four continents - who attended in person and via secure online link-up.

For many participants, it was an opportunity to get information they hadn’t been able to get elsewhere. The one-to-one sessions covered topics ranging from encryption tools to appropriate kit for assignments, according to the needs of each freelance journalist.

“Personal advice like this is absolutely paramount in a world where safety for freelancers tends to come at a cost”, according to Sarah Giaziri, Director of the Frontline Freelance Register. “Up-to-date information combined with personally tailored advice is pretty rare - and offering it to freelancers free of charge is an exciting step.”

“It’s so important for freelancers to get this advice from security experts who are actually practicing it”, said Catalina Cortes, RPT senior Programme Officer for Safety and Americas. “All of those who took part in the surgeries work with journalists in high-risk areas on a day-to-day basis - and some have been freelancers themselves. “We’re really delighted with the day- and so thankful to all of the advisors who donated their time free of charge. We have had really excellent feedback from the freelancers who took part and hope this will be the first of many."

Steve Cook, security trainer from Blue Mountain group, who took part in the event said "It was so great to be able to help advise so many journalists from so many different countries. These free safety surgeries are a much needed resource for those freelancers who can not acquire training or assistance around the globe. I’m just looking forward to the next session.”

Thanks Steve - so are we!

Here is what participants said about the training:

“I didn't even know what I didn't know. I learned so much practical info.”


“Honestly, the advice was golden and gave me a lot of clarity on how to proceed.”


“It was my first time discussing safety issues in Asia with a professional security advisor and it was extremely helpful.”

Sign up to RPT’s Newsletter and follow us on Twitter and Facebook to receive information and alerts about the next Freelance Safety Surgeries.


If you were not able to join the surgeries, you can find useful information about Safety & Security in our Resources Page.

We also have a Training Fund available for freelancers who work internationally. Find further information here.

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