Press freedom is the very foundation of a free and open society. Truth must be told and the messenger should remain free to tell the truth and safe from the aftereffects. While the physical safety is a priority, the threats to journalism and journalists in the online world too needs equal attention. Technology can help the journalist remain safe digitally too. Let’s discuss some threats to PRESS beyond bullets.
It’s #WorldPressFreedomDay and we the people from IT world stand with journalists to mark this day. You simply can’t deny the importance of free and fair journalism in the democratic society. Alongside comes the issue of a journalist’s safety and security. An unsafe press can’t be expected to report fairly.
The physical safety is very important for press and there have been several instances of assaults against journalists that got the limelight. What skips the headlines is the threat to a journalist in the digital world. While SYGITECH is running #DataSafe campaign so as to make people aware of the threats of the online world, we intend to alert our media friends too. They are equally exposed to threats of the online world and including some safe practices can help PRESS remain safe and free to report the TRUTH as it is.
Safety from Trolling
Trolling or continuous poking of journalists on social media merely for the stories that they cover or aspects that they highlight is a common phenomenon nowadays. At times the poking spreads to include the family, friends and relatives, even business associates of the journalist. Press definitely needs protection from social media trolling.
Unity of the fraternity and intellectuals, logical thinkers is the only way we can deal with the trolls. That’s just a crowd with a huge count of people non-existent. Educated people with brains and existence, if united, can easily push them down and get them blocked too.
Safety from Hacking
More often than not, you will find all prominent journalists have faced hacking or attempt to hack, sometime in their life. Their official or personal social media handles or blogs continuously remain under the threat of hacking and misuse.
Firewalls and security checks should always remain strong and updated so as to remain safe from the threats of hacking. Tools like Password Manager can be employed by the press people so as to keep all their login details safe and dynamic passwords with regular updation is also a good idea.
Email & Messaging Apps Safety
The emails are also easy to hack and read. For their own safety and also the safety, security of their sources, victims, etc. the journalist should keep his/her mailbox safe. Usage of encrypted email and messenger apps that guarantee top-end security from hacking or leaks should be employed.
Private File Storage
Media professionals have to rely on and keep handy a lot of information and data for future reference. At times the information, which could be very critical and confidential, asks for storage space. One should opt for high-security options and could also consider some of the options available on cloud storage with state-of-the-art security features. Also available in the market are password protected, double secured USB drives that simply wouldn’t let your data accessed by anyone other than you. Store safely.
While the journalists working on crucial stories may keep all their sources and data secret, their internet browsing and traffic can give away not just their location but also the research they are doing. That’s enough to gauge the kind of story one is working on and the aim of the investigation under progress.
There are tools available using which the journalists can keep themselves from the eyes of the radar and browse safely. Usage of VPN is also one way of hiding your actual IP and also lets you change your virtual location so as to dodge the digital eyes that might be following you and your investigation.
Browser’s incognito mode can also be used to stop sharing lots of data unknowingly.
These are just a few basic steps that media professionals can adopt to be digital safe and continue reporting in a free and fair manner in the interest of the democracy.