CPJ Safety Advisory: Covering the coronavirus pandemic
Journalists around the world are playing a crucial role in keeping the public informed about the pandemic and governments’ efforts to combat it, despite attempts by authorities in several countries to crack down on independent reporting and access to information, as documented by CPJ. Members of the media are facing a huge amount of pressure and strain, and are often potentially exposed to infection through travel, interviews, and the locations they find themselves working in, according to CPJ’s interviews with journalists. Journalists have faced censorship, detention, physical and online harassment, and the loss of their livelihoods due to COVID-19, as highlighted in recent reporting by CPJ.
As the situation continues to evolve and new information emerges, updated health advice and outbreak news will be issued by the relevant authorities. To keep up-to-date on the latest advice and restrictions, journalists covering the outbreak should monitor information from the WHO and their local public health body.
To keep up to date with the latest outbreak developments, the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center is a safe and reliable resource.
Staying safe in the field
International travel restrictions remain in place and change frequently. All assignments are highly likely to change or be cancelled with little or no notice, due to a fast-moving and rapidly evolving situation throughout the world.
Those who are planning to cover the COVID-19 pandemic should consider the following safety information:
- To minimize the risk of exposure, and wherever possible, phone or online interviews should continue to be carried out rather than in person
- According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), older people and individuals with underlying health conditions such as diabetes or obesity are considered higher risk. If you fall into such categories, you should avoid participating in any assignment that puts you in direct contact with the general public. Consideration should also be given to any employees who are pregnant