Guidelines and advice

Guidelines for exiled journalists

Reporters Without Borders has compiled a Guide for exiled journalists, to provide them with information about the procedures and potential obstacles in seeking asylum. This guide - which will be added to in the light of experience - covers the steps to be taken with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and also asylum procedures within the European Union, the United States and Canada. It also provides practical advice and details of specialist organisations.

On the eve of World Refugee Day, Reporters Without Borders published the latest version of the Guide for journalists who flee into exile, first published in 2009.

It contains some 30 pages of advice for refugee journalists about UNHCR protection procedures and seeking asylum in Europe and North America. Journalists who have had to flee their country will find information, tips and contacts that will help to guide and assist them during the long and difficult process of starting a new life.

RSF publishes new version of its Safety Guide for Journalists

In response to the growing dangers for journalists, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has released an updated version of its Safety Guide for Journalists. Produced in partnership with UNESCO, it is available in French, English, Spanish and Arabic.

Read the Safety Guide for Journalists

Fully revised and corrected, this handbook offers practical advice to
reporters going to high-risk areas, where they should be ready for a
wide range of dangers that may include armed conflict, epidemics,
natural disasters and street protests.

here will never be a zero-risk option for journalists whose work takes them to a dangerous region, but they seem for the most part to be left to themselves to deal with security challengesRSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire

Given the increase in the number and type of risks that reporters face in the field, we felt it was important to update the safety guide so that they could have the best possible preparation when they want to, or have to, work in high-risk areas.

The guide has not overlooked the fact that, in the era of Internet
communication and smartphones, cyber-security is a challenge for
journalists visiting conflict zones or countries with authoritarian
governments. It includes many tips on protecting sources, data and

It also stresses the importance of being well prepared before setting
off, both physically and psychologically, and the need for debriefing
and psychological support if any signs of post-traumatic stress are
detected after returning home. And news organizations are reminded that
the reporters they send into the field must be well trained and given an
opportunity to discuss all their concerns in advance so they are
confident they know everything they need.

As well as advice on health precautions and coping with red tape, the
online version of the guide includes accounts by roving foreign
correspondents of their experiences while travelling to high-risk areas.

Published for the first time in 1992 and updated several times since
then, the guide is available in both print and online versions in all
four languages and is intended to be accessible to as many people as

Updated (2015) version of Handbook for Journalists during Elections

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF) jointly publish a special Handbook for Journalists during Elections because elections are such vital and sensitive processes in the life of a democratic nation.

The Handbook is targeted at all journalists, whether they work for radio, TV, print media or digital media, whether they work for media owned by the state, private sector or community groups, whether they are providing local, national or international coverage, and regardless of their news organization’s size.

Read the Handbook for Journalists during Elections

The Handbook was formally unveiled at a news conference held in the Chadian capital of N’Djamena by the High Council for Communication (HCC) on 22 January 2011, when copies were distributed to the dozens of journalists in attendance. A week earlier, on 16 January 2011, copies were presented in Niger to the Niamey Press Club, representatives of 17 local journalists’ organizations and representatives of the online media.

Copies were then distributed to journalists in the Central African Republic and Haiti and subsequently to journalists in other countries who had to cover elections in 2011, including Benin, Cameroon, Guinea, Madagascar and Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Handbook is a toolbox providing practical responses to the many questions that journalists may have about all aspects of election coverage, ranging from the rules of campaign reporting to the specifics of the voting process. It includes professional, ethical and technical guidelines and takes account of the cultural, political and social environment of each country.

The Handbook is intended to promote peaceful political activity and democratic governance in accordance with the undertakings that OIF-member countries gave in the Declaration of Bamako of 2000.

RSF and OIF emphasize in the Handbook that, in order to be able to work properly during elections and at any other time, journalists should have the benefit of solid professional training, legal recognition of their status, adequate pay and appropriate equipment.

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