freedom of the press

In the face of threats, censorship and other attacks on press freedom, journalists around the world now have an additional tool to ensure that their stories are published, no matter how hard others try to silence them.

Forbidden Stories, a global network of journalists that aims to protect and publish the work of reporters facing threats, lawsuits or even assassination, recently launched the SafeBox Network, a tool to deal with threats and attacks against journalists.



The design of the SafeBox Network, which was presented at the World Press Freedom Day Global Conference 2022 in Punta del Este, Uruguay, is simple: journalists who feel threatened upload key information to the platform to safeguard their work. This includes three key elements: the materials they have collected over the course of their investigation (photos, videos, interviews, documents, databases, etc.); evidence of the threats made against them; and instructions on what to do with the materials should Forbidden Stories need to publish the reporting.

Forbidden Stories will not publish reporting simply because information is uploaded to SafeBox. The organization will act only if something happens to the journalist who uploaded the content. Prior to publication, Forbidden Stories will conduct a pre-investigation to determine if there are indeed connections between the threats or attacks the journalist received and the journalist’s work. Forbidden Stories will also analyze when it is both relevant and possible for the journalist to continue their work.

In early March, Paraguayan investigative journalist Alfredo Guachiré announced that he had uploaded reporting and audio to SafeBox. The content was related to his investigations of former Paraguayan Congressman Juan Carlos Osorio, whom Guachiré linked to a drug trafficking organization. When this information came to light, Osorio resigned from his seat in the legislature and was charged with money laundering, drug trafficking and criminal association.



Guachiré has received anonymous death threats because of his reporting, and has been harassed on social media by people in Paraguayan politics. This includes those with ties to Paraguay’s vice president, Hugo Velázquez, due to Guachiré’s reporting implicating Velázquez’s brother, Carlos Velázquez, in illicit smuggling activities.

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by Santiago Sánchez, International Journalists’ Network

Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash

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