It is important to keep sources and information during an investigation safe and secure. It is a basic precondition for anyone involved in investigative journalism. Digital records, databases, documents and communication streams are all likely targets. A variety of protection tools, also developed by other organizations, to help security and safety for journalists and civil society activists is available here.
Free Press Unlimited has years of experience developing key tools and face-to-face training sessions in this field. It is internationally renowned for projects such as secure leaks platform PubLeaks.
Free Press Unlimited developed TOTEM (Training using Online Tools for Effectiveness and Measurability), a platform to independently support media (security) trainers and media workers on secure use of the internet with online tools. Although it has no specific target countries, it provides curricula, training techniques and methodologies that can be used in a wide range of contexts. By using TOTEM, journalists, activists and human rights defenders can learn how to work more safely online, reducing their fear and anxiety and thus increase their efficiency.
- How the internet works
- Secure passwords
- Secure messaging apps
- Phishing attacks
- How to bypass internet censorship (for Iran, but also valuable tips for other countries)
- Desk research: How to outsmart your search engine
- Field research: Why field research matters
- Social media research: Going undercover on Instagram
Find out more about Totem here
Free Press Unlimited’s leaking platform Publeaks allows whistleblowers and journalists to communicate privately, anonymously and safely. The Publeaks technology improves security for journalists and their sources. Whistleblowers remain anonymous and choose which of the participating media and civil society organisations they wish to communicate their information to. After that, it is up to the receiving parties to undertake the important task of deciding on the relevance of tips and to verify the information.
Find more information on PubLeaks here
To help assaulted reporters continue their vital work, Free Press Unlimited has launched Reporters Respond. This international emergency fund provides direct assistance to journalists and media outlets, enabling them to resume work as quickly as possible when faced with local obstruction. Reporters Respond aims to support media workers in distress, usually within a very short time-frame. We provide media workers with one-time grants to cover costs, varying from legal costs to costs for replacing their damaged equipment.
Find more information on emergency support here
Legal Defense Fund
Free Press Unlimited gives support to journalists who face prosecution or imprisonment and who are unable to afford a lawyer or trial costs. This way, they will not be forced to withdraw their defense and accept the consequences of, often false, accusations.
Journalists, media workers, and media organisations who are at legal risk because of their profession can request non-structural support from the Legal Defense Fund. What we can offer: basic legal support (e.g. lawyer fees / legal costs) and public or impact litigation grants.
Find more information about the legal defense fund here
Further Information & Other Support Mechanisms
At Free Press Unlimited we consider safety an all-embracing concept that includes the physical, the psycho-social, digital and the legal domains equally. We believe that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions, as the safety challenges vary per context the solutions differ as well. Some examples of Free Press Unlimited’s projects reflecting this are:
- Safety training for journalists in Central America
- Medical safety training in Iraq
- Online safety for female journalists in Pakistan
- Read more about Free Press Unlimited’s lobby and advocacy activities here
For more information on Free Press Unlimited’s programme on safety, click here