The International Press Centre (IPC), trained not fewer than 50 journalists on safety, security and management of trauma in the coverage of dangerous assignments to help them manage matters arising in the course of discharging their duties.
The Executive Director of the Centre, Mr. Lanre Arogudande who moderated the Webinar while delivering his open address stated that the Webinar became pertinent in the face of the numerous crisis the countryis going through and journalists who are at the fore-front covering these crisis needs to be equiped with skills on how best to stay safe and manage trauma.
In his presentation on Safety reporting and the Challenges Online and offline, a Digital Security Expert, Mr. Gillo Cutrupi charge journalists to ensure that their devices are properly secured to prevent unautherized access to informations on such devices.
To achieve this, Cutrupi stated that journalists should ensure to Screen lock with strong PIN code: 1 minute, Don’t tamper with your device, Keep your systems and software updated, Install only licensed apps, Antivirus (Avast) , Full Disk Encryption (Android: Security -> Encrypt Phone / SD card), Lock apps: AppLock , Browsing: Firefox+ UBlock Origin, Mail: ProtonMail, VPN: Mullvad and ensure to only visit and download only from trusted sites while working online.
He further suggested a Checklist to further guarantee the safety of a reporter such as; Do you need an extra phone and laptop solely dedicated to your travel? Are you traveling with secure and/or empty devices? Are you temporarily setting your social networks in private mode?
Others are; have you identified a way to let your family or close ones close your online accounts? Is your phone or laptop encrypted? Are your USB / external disks empty and/or wiped? Have you erased the cache, history and cookies on your browsers?
Also, Fisayo Soyombo in his presentation Dangerous Assignments:’ Lessons on Safety from the Field’, reminded the trainees that while on a dangerous assignment they should always remember to apply the following tips; Highest standards of protective equipment, Security over funds, Don’t endanger family and friends, Seek professional advice, Be brave, but remember also that no story is worth your life.
Fisayo, Founder/Editor, Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ), also urged investigative journalists to use the social media with discretion to avoid exposing what they are investigating before it is completed and leaving behind their trail and not to forget to have an emergency exit plan(s) while on the field to avoid being caught up in the face of a dangerous situation.
Dr. Uzo Israel, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Dept. of psychology UNILAG shared the following tips for managing stress and trauma: Low sympathetic arousal
- High parasympathetic functioning
- Reduced heart rate
- Increased EEG alpha waves
- Slower and deeper respiration
- Reduction or absence of tension, nervousness, edginess
- Increased feeling of well being
- Good sleep
In the same vein, Israel suggested the following for managing trauma; Tension scanning- focus on one’s internal environment
Diaphragmatic breathing or breathing exercises
Progressive muscle relaxation