INSI Safety Advisory for Female Journalists
In the days following the sexual attack on the well-known CBS
reporter Lara Logan, much has been made of the threats that
might be faced by female journalists.
The International News Safety Institute has put together the
following safety advisory for women. INSI is also in the process
of creating a more substantial document with advice,
anecdotes and helpful information, which should be available
within the next few months.
WOMEN TRAVELLERS – GENERAL INFORMATION
If travelling alone, choose a good standard hotel where security is of
a higher standard than you might stay in if travelling with male
Try not to attract unwanted attention by striking up conversations or
making eye contact with strangers. It can sometimes be
misinterpreted as flirting.
Unless you want to be the centre of attention, do not wear tight fitting
or revealing clothes
If you’re alone and facing unwanted attention, have a cover story
prepared – ‘I am waiting for my husband/boyfriend/colleague to
arrive’. If the pestering continues, try and join a large group of people
– preferably mixed sex
Don’t wear expensive jewellery, but do consider wearing a cheap ring
on your wedding finger, even if you’re not married.
Always remain alert.
Consider taking a male colleague with you into potentially volatile
Do not wear a pony tail or necklace which can be easily grabbed.
Wear a sturdy belt.Keep a copy of your passport and documents with you at all times
and store the originals in a safe place.
Carry a mobile phone with local emergency numbers saved. Do not
keep this in your handbag, in case it is snatched.
Be aware of discussing details of your work with people you do not
know. It may sometimes be better to pretend to work in an alternative
profession – ie. teaching.
If travelling alone, always tell someone where you are going, how you
plan on getting there and when you expect to be back. If you are
meeting someone, leave a name and number for them with someone
Avoid walking alone by yourself, especially in poorly lit areas, quiet
streets and alleyways
If possible, try to walk close to groups of people. Be aware of who is
Walk confidently, with your head up, and as though you look like you
know where you’re going.
Arrange to meet people in well-lit and busy areas.
Where possible avoid carrying handbags; but if it is necessary
wear them across your body.
If you suspect you are being followed, try to find a busy place: hotel,
Always use a reputable company – avoid unlicensed cars.
Agree the cost before you leave if the taxi does not have a meter.
If alone, try not to sit in the front of the taxi. If you are in the back and
being troubled by the driver, you have two doors from which to exit -
but remember some cabs have automatic locking when the car is
Sit near the driver.