Reporters Without Borders’ Assistance Desk provides concrete support to journalists and media outlets in difficulty.
EXPANDING, STRENGTHENING AND SUPPORTING THE MEDIA
Reporters Without Borders materially and financially assists independent media outlets operating in a sensitive or unstable environment. In times of crisis such as war, political unrest or humanitarian disasters, the organisation works to keep information flowing. It was in such a context that the association created a Media Operations Centre in Haiti after the January 2010 earthquake.
PROVIDING DIRECT ASSITANCE TO JOURNALISTS
For the last 20 years, the organisation has been helping journalists in exile with their requests for protection or asylum and providing financial aid to journalists needing urgent help, as well as to their families. This ad hoc aid allows journalists forced into exile, assaulted, or prosecuted for their activities to meet their basic necessities, pay their medical expenses, or find a safe place to stay. In 2012, 166 such grants were distributed.
WINNING INSTITUTIONAL SUPPORT
Reporters Without Borders engages in a variety of activities involving national and international bodies, notably the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Since 2009 and Iran’s contested elections, French officials have issued some 50 visas at Reporters Without Borders’ request.
PROTECTING JOURNALISTS IN THE FIELD
In view of rising violence against media professionals, the organisation has made available safety resources for journalists being dispatched abroad.
Preliminary training and information : The “Practical Guide for Journalists” developed by Reporters Without Borders in partnership with UNESCO, and the practical training sessions offered by the French Ministry of Defence, are tools that are helping to limit the risks incurred by journalists assigned to cover dangerous areas.
Bullet-proof vests and helmets on loan : Reporters Without Borders lends these items (marked “PRESS”) without charge.
Insurance policies tailored to journalists’ needs. Working jointly with April International, the organisation offers packages which enable journalists to gain access to policies that include war-risk coverage at discounted rates.
A free “Press SOS” hotline for journalists in difficulty: American Express has partnered with Reporters Without Borders to provide journalists in need with emergency telephone assistance, available 7 days/week, 24hours/day.
Psychological support : The organisation informs journalists on how to detect “posttraumatic stress disorder” and maintains a list of professionals qualified to help them.
Set up in 2009 by an exiled Eritrean journalist with the support of Reporters Without Borders, Radio Erena broadcasts via satellite to Eritreans in Eritrea.
Since no independent news media is authorized in the country, news there has become a state-controlled instrument. Thanks to Radio Erena, tens of thousands of people are receiving information from an independent source.