European Federation of Journalists


Journalists and media workers have always been considered “high risk” workers because of the nature of their work. But in reality, there is both a lack of awareness of health and safety issues and of protective measures and policies in place for journalists and media workers. As speed is essential for breaking news, there is barely time to carry out risk assessments for journalists. However, journalists face omnipresent risks to their health and safety, whether in the workplace or more dangerous or volatile environments. Since 1990, 371 journalists and media workers have lost their lives on assignment. 

The COVID-19 pandemic crisis has exposed such deficiencies and confirmed that the health and safety of essential workers like journalists are ever more important. Trade unions play an important role to ensure the health and safety of workers, who are often under pressure to perform work in an unsafe environment without adequate protection or policies in place. Many unions in Europe representing essential workers, that include journalists, have stepped up to guarantee the health and safety of workers during the pandemic. 

Against this backdrop, the Safety4Journalists aims to answer the following questions: Where does the duty of care lie? Who is responsible for the health and safety of journalists? How can journalists achieve work-life-balance in an increasingly digital age producing 24-hour news? How can journalists’ unions and associations support workers? There is a need for a culture of safety and coordinated efforts to ensure the health and safety of journalists.

overall objective

The main objective of this project is to promote health and safety at work through training of workers’ organisations and engagement in social dialogue with employers’ organisations. Also, a universal risk assessment model will be created that can be used by journalists and media companies in praxis and best practices will be exchanged. Furthermore, there is a focus on vulnerable workers, such as female journalists and freelancers.

The project will involve five national journalists’ unions and associations in Croatia (Trade Union of Croatian Journalists,TUCJ), Germany (German Journalists Union, DJV), France (National Journalists Union CGT,SNJ-CGT), the Netherlands (Dutch Journalists Association, NVJ), and Sweden (Swedish Journalists Association,SJF) and their respective national employers organisations. The trainings will take into account the geographical coverage and the needs and development of national partners in these areas. The training will make use of the resources in the online platform and the online modules/training. These trainings will also allow the testing of the online platform to its relevance.

  • Survey on journalists’ perceptions of health and safety issues
  • Development of an online risk assessment platform
  • Development of an online handbook with five modules (case studies, best practices, physical safety and digital safety)
  • Five trainings will be organised in Croatia, Germany, Sweden, France and the Netherlands
  • Involvement of stakeholders beyond the journalism sectors
  • Final conference in Brussels to raise awareness and publicise online platform and handbook
Safety for Journalists, symbolic image

Journalists not sufficiently trained in health and safety issues

A report published by the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) about the safety of journalists across Europe reveals a serious lack of training and awareness, as journalists face increasing threats and intimidation in the course of their work. Authored by media expert Marc Gruber, the report analyses the current situation of the health and safety of journalists across Europe and explores the responsibilities of management, journalists’ unions and associations in tackling the issue. The safety of journalists is a priority for many journalists’ unions in Europe, who have witnessed the increasing physical and psychological risks faced by media workers in…

Germany: Health and safety training for journalists in Bonn

Eleven journalists and representatives from regional journalists’ unions in Germany took part in a training workshop on the health and safety of journalists in Bonn on September 14-15 2022. This workshop is the first in a series of training sessions organised by the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) as part of the  Safety4Journalists project. The workshop was organised by EFJ and its member the German Federation of Journalists (DJV). It focused on specific safety needs for journalists in Germany, including covering protests safely, online harassment and trolling.   It responds to the increasing attacks facing journalists in Germany with the aim…

Why it is important to denounce those who attack journalists

EFJ President Maja Sever reflects on the attack on her on 1 August in the bay of the island of Tijat in Croatia. The story is quite simple. The inhabitants of the village where I spent my summer holidays, on a small island on the Adriatic coast of Croatia, are revolted by what they describe as the devastation, usurpation and illegal use of the bay of a neighbouring islet. They are fighting to preserve the site through legal means, but the atmosphere has been tense and unpleasant for several years. Only recently has the story made its way to the…

Safety of journalists: Media employers need to fulfill their duty of care

Media employers have to do more to fulfil their duty of care for journalists’ safety, especially freelance and female journalists who are more vulnerable, concluded in a safety workshop held by the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the Dutch Association of Journalists (NVJ) in the Hilversum Media Park on 4 and 5 July.  The workshop, attended by more than 40 EFJ members, legal experts, journalists and media representatives, highlighted the increasing dangers to journalists, both physical and online, with little awareness from media employers of these threats and a flagrant lack of resources to ensure their safety. According to…

How to build a culture of safety in the media?

On 4 and 5 July 2022, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is holding the workshop “How to build a culture of safety in the media? Media safety policy and safety training” at the Museum of Image and Sound in Hilversum, the Netherlands. The two-day workshop aims to share best practices on the culture of safety in media by examining existing media policy and initiatives as well as the safety awareness among unions and journalists. The event will be organised in partnership with the Dutch Journalist Association(NVJ) and the Museum of Image and Sound and funded by the European Commission.  …

Germany: New website to inform journalists about their employer protections

Journalists in Germany can now find out whether their employers or clients have joined the code of conduct to better protect journalists via the website Schutzkodex. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins its German affiliates, the German Journalists Association (DJV) and the German Journalists Union (dju in ver.di), in welcoming this further development of the initiative to better protect journalists. Violence against media workers is increasing in Germany as well as throughout Europe, whether it be hate speech, (online) threats or physical attacks in the streets. This strongly imperils journalists and press freedom in general. Consequently, if more and more journalists turn their backs to such dangerous work environments,…