World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

New resource helps news organisations respond to COVID-19 safety challenges

World News Publishing Focus

World News Publishing Focus
Your Guide to the Changing Media Landscape

New resource helps news organisations respond to COVID-19 safety challenges

Available in English, Arabic, French and Spanish, the COVID-19 News Organizations Safety Protocols provide newsrooms and commissioning editors with practical guidance on how to cover the pandemic professionally and in a way that minimises risk.

It addresses all aspects of assignment planning and safety including crisis management, communications, hygiene and mental health. It also includes best practice around key freelance issues such as accreditation, PPE, insurance and expenses.

Elisabet Cantenys, Executive Director of the ACOS Alliance says: "COVID-19 exposes safety as a priority for everyone in the journalism profession, not just those involved in so-called "high risk" reporting. This is an invitation for news organisations who are new to safety to get involved in the conversation and to use this resource as an opportunity to embed a culture of safety within their everyday practices - including their work with freelancers."

The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the safety and revenue challenges already facing the journalism industry. The COVID-19 News Organizations Safety Protocols calls on news organisations to regard the safety and protection of all of its journalists - including freelancers - as an essential investment, as well as a basic duty of care.

It contains tools which help newsrooms to review, adapt and expand their existing safety procedures in response to the pandemic and encourages those without safety protocols to prioritise their development as a matter of urgency.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced many newsrooms to safety considerations in a way they've perhaps never before had to deal with," says WAN-IFRA's Executive Director of Press Freedom, Andrew Heslop. "New ways of working, of operating, and of thinking in terms of how we gather and produce the news will continue to have lasting effects, and it is extremely important to prioritise safety and integrate good practices as we navigate this new reality. Adopting the advice and expertise contained in this invaluable new resource, as early as possible, is a good way to start."


The resource was produced in partnership with Article 19, Committee to Protect Journalists, Free Press Unlimited, Frontline Freelance Register, International Center for Journalists, International Media Support, International News Safety Institute, International Press Institute, International Women’s Media Foundation, Reporters Without Borders, Samir Kassir Foundation and the World Association of News Publishers. It is being translated into Arabic, French and Spanish.

This is the latest in a range of resources produced by the ACOS Alliance aimed at helping newsrooms and freelance journalists embed a culture of safety into their journalism practice.


The ACOS (A Culture Of Safety) Alliance is an unprecedented coalition of more than 100 signatory news organizations, freelance journalist associations and press freedom NGOs working together to champion safe and responsible journalistic practices.

The Alliance was formed in the wake of the brutal killings of freelance journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff in Syria in the summer of 2014. Their deaths set in motion a chain of events that culminated in the launch of the Freelance Journalist Safety Principles and the creation of ACOS in 2015.

The ACOS Alliance is a project of the Overseas Press Club Foundation (OPCF) in New York.



Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop


2020-06-08 13:53

Contact information

The World Editors Forum is the organisation within the World Association of Newspapers devoted to newspaper editors worldwide. The Editors Weblog (, launched in January 2004, is a WEF initiative designed to facilitate the diffusion of information relevant to newspapers and their editors.

© 2020 WAN-IFRA - World Association of News Publishers

Footer Navigation