Journalists are often required to work in the most dangerous environments in pursuit of the truth, and the sight of Reporters wearing body armor is one many will be familiar with. However, many journalists will not be aware of the variety of armor available to them, let alone what is appropriate for the environments they will find themselves in. Safety should be the top priority and with an increase in attacks on and violence towards journalists, it is more important than ever that they are aware of the protection available to them.
For example, while the image of Reporters with ‘PRESS’ emblazoned on their vests is a common one, the President of the Associated Press has argued that this is highlighting journalists as a target, and a valuable one at that. With the tragic murders of journalists like James Foley in the past few years, terrorist groups, in particular, have increasingly targeted journalists and Reporters to spread their message. With this in mind, it may be that a covert vest is required that can be worn underneath clothing, meaning they remain protected but are not highlighted as journalists. On the other hand, with the nature of the environments, these people will be working in, ‘hard armor’ at Level III or IV may be needed to protect against high-caliber rounds and armor-piercing ammunition. These may not be available in covert styles, and at the very least will add additional weight and bulk to armor. For this reason, journalists must be aware of the threats they are likely to face so they can prepare accordingly.
As part of a dedication to safety and particularly the safety of journalists, SafeGuard Armor has launched its Journalist Safety Initiative intending to provide industry-standard information and raise awareness of the dangers facing journalists.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), 61 journalists were killed around the world in 2014. Of this number, 27 were murdered, while 23 died in combat situations. Syria, Ukraine, and Pakistan were the most dangerous countries, blighted by extreme violence. Whenever journalists travel to high-risk locations, absolute safety can never be guaranteed, but carrying the best protective equipment available can prove a huge help in boosting personal security.
We're dedicated to showing people just how important body armor is, and we believe that today's journalists should be well-informed about their protective equipment. To stay as safe as possible in hostile environments, wearing the vest best suited to the expected threat level is essential. With frontline reporting, there is an inherent risk so you should always take full advantage of the protective clothing available to you.