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Your Security

Your security

Learn about your security and protecting yourself.

Learn how to


Brenda is writing a story about gold mining and needs to conduct some interviews. Before scheduling appointments, she needs to find out if it is safe to do so.
Brenda needs to create a security assessment. If she doesn't get input from her editors and colleagues, she's worried she won't be best prepared.


security - make it more about what are the components that would go into your security - maybe kind of a getting started. your security is physical safety (what people would think of), emphasise this,but also security of information….your sources, your well being is important (give a concrete example here - if you are depressed or shocked you won’t be able to continue your job. it’s part of your security think about your well being and those of moths.

explain in your security and well being are more important than story - that this is true and will allow you to continue doing your work.

in security module also put “it is impportant to take care of trauma or you won’t be able to do your work”

'be careful with each other, so that we can be dangerous together.”

source: https://holistic-security.tacticaltech.org/chapters/prepare/chapter-1-1-what-is-holistic-security

Once we understand how individuals and teams react to stress and threats, it becomes important to reflect on how healthy practices towards this can be fostered in our groups and organisations. Creating a safe and regular environment for communicating about security within teams and organisations is one of the most important preparatory steps towards a successful security strategy and organisational well-being.

side from this clear practical necessity, creating space to talk about security with our peers and colleagues helps us to: • more accurately perceive the threats to our work (reduce unrecognised threats and unfounded fears) • understand why members of the team might react differently to stress or threats (individual responses to threats) • assign roles and responsibilities for security measures • increase group ownership of security measures • build solidarity and care for colleagues who are suffering from threats.

However, there may be barriers that prevent us from discussing security openly within our organisation. Some barriers may include: • heavy workloads and lack of time • simply being afraid to discuss it • a sense that our observations on security might be perceived as fear, para- noia or weakness • not wanting to confront colleagues about their practices • not wanting to be the first to bring the matter up for discussion • gender issues and/or power dynamics.

Self-care should not be understood not a selfish act, but rather as a subversive and political act of self-preservation.

Our approach to security and protection must take into account the effects not only of physical violence, but also structural, economic, gender-based and institutional violence, harassment and marginalisation. This may be perpetrated by the State, but also by private corporations, non-State armed groups, or even our own communities and those close to us. It can deeply affect our psychological well-being, our physical health, and our relationships with friends, family and colleagues. Awareness of, and action regarding these threats is vital in order for our activism and resistance to be sustainable, and in order to facilitate our ability to identify and implement strategies for our security and protection. As such, we understand and assert self-care, all too often considered ‘selfish’ among activists, to be a subversive and political act of self-preservation, and one which is fundamental to effective security strategy and culture.

Our security strategies also have to be regularly updated. As the context around us changes, so do the tasks and challenges in integrating security into our work.

As such, comprehensive security must not only include our bodies, emotions and mental states, but also the electronic information contained in devices in our hands, pockets, bags, homes, offices, streets and vehicles.

Your security and well being are always more important than a story. To minimise potential risks, it is important to always prepare a security assessment.

Step 1

Identify known hazards

Identify contact people and the time and means of communication; describe all known hazards, including the history of problems in the reporting area; and outline contingency plans that address the perceived risks.
Consider the possibility that any circumstance — from a tense political situation to a natural disaster — can escalate in severity.
The assessment should include:

  • where to stay and where to seek refuge if necessary
  • where and how to get updated information inside the country
  • whether equipment such as a weather-band or shortwave radio is needed
  • whom to contact in the country, from local human rights groups to foreign embassies, for emergency information
    • travel plans and methods within the country
    • multiple entry and exit routes.


Step 2

Address communications infrastructure

Address the communications infrastructure in the reporting area and identify any contingency equipment you may need.
Are electricity, Internet access, and mobile and landline phone service available? Are they likely to remain so? This will help you make prepared choices in choosing communications backups.
Is a generator or a car battery with a DC adaptor needed to power one’s computer? Should a satellite phone be used?
Basic needs such as nourishment and medical care must be addressed as well. Are food and water readily available? Is a hospital, clinic, or physician available? Is a medical kit needed, and what should it include? This is helpful for knowing what kinds of items you should bring along with you.


Step 3

Consult diverse sources

Consult diverse sources including journalists with experience in the location or topic, diplomatic advisories, reports on press freedom and human rights, and academic research.
Editors working with staffers or freelancers should have substantial input into the assessment, take the initiative in raising security questions, and receive a copy of the assessment.
An independent journalist working without a relationship with a news organization must be especially rigorous in compiling a security assessment, consulting with peers,researching the risks, and arranging a contact network.


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For more information on conducting a risk assessment, refer to the Planning and Preparing section of this guide.