HEAT COURSE – JOURNALISTS & MEDIA IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

The following article discusses the increasing violence that is experienced by a particular sector of our society, namely our journalists and media representatives, assigned to news stories in developing countries, but also sometimes in developed countries as well (*1).

We might well ask: Why is our global press experiencing threats of violence? To answer that question, perhaps we should examine the definition of “Journalism”, so as to gain a better understanding of what Journalists do. The American Press Institute’s (*2) definition is, as follows:-

“Journalism is the activity of gathering, assessing, creating and presenting news and information. It is also the product of these activities.”

This definition refers to the Journalist’s task of presenting news and information, which is then disseminated via the media eg. newspapers, magazines, digital news, TV, and radio. It has been said that the more democratic a society is, the more information and news there is for all to read, hear or see. Therefore, in countries where the government is more rigid and controlling, the likelihood exists that it may feel threatened by the news presented by Journalists. Unless every word that is printed or spoken is in complete alignment with the less-democratic governments, then the more probable it is that Journalists can be threatened verbally or physically. Such governments insist on controlling the populace, which may be denied the basic right to information or the truth as to how they are being governed.

In the UK, we scored optimally in the debate about whether the media are free and independent, as demonstrated in the map above.  

The law on free speech (*3) in the UK is summarised clearly and concisely in theweek.co.uk, as follows:

“Under Article 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998, “everyone has the right to freedom of expression” in the UK. But the law states that this freedom “may be subject to formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society”.”

In general, for Journalists, working in the UK is probably one of the safer countries in which to be employed. However, news stories are international, which means that many UK Journalists may be called upon to cover a news story in a developing country or a less-democratic country. In October 2016, (*4) The Guardian newspaper reported on extremist groups in countries like Somalia, Iraq and Syria, which have killed many journalists over the past decade without being brought to justice for these murders. In fact, the report highlights the fact that there is a global impunity index, compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). This index spotlights 13 countries where the murder of Journalists has occurred with no punishment for their killers.

Quite rightly, such a trip overseas may present with dangers or threats that are new to the Journalist. In order to deal with the hazards and uncertainties within a developing country, the Journalist needs to be primed for this trip overseas. Therefore, advance preparation would need to include the completion of a fully-accredited training course entitled H.E.A.T. (Hostile Environment Awareness Training), which we at Staff Defence can supply. This training course is comprehensive and provides the Delegate with not only the necessary information to deal with unexpected and challenging events, but also immersive training, which enables the Delegate to fully experience a number of confrontational scenarios. The depth of our H.E.A.T. course should not be underestimated, since it is conducted by Instructors from a background in the military and/or emergency services. Their many years of experience in managing extremely difficult, life-threatening situations translates into the delivery of an empowering training programme that will fully equip the Journalist, prior to his/her placement overseas. We encourage you to visit our website, so you can view details of our H.E.A.T. course and book a place on this course. Here is the link below for you to click on:-

Link: https://staffdefence.co.uk/course/h-e-a-t-course/

References:

(*1). Global Press Freedom in Peril https://www.freedomhouse.org

(*2). American Press Insititute https://www.americanpressinstitute.org

(*3). The Law on Free Speech https://www.theweek.co.uk

(*4). 13 Countries Where Journalists Have Been Killed With Impunity Roy Greenslade (27th October 2016) The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com