Covering civil unrest can be frightening and dangerous. A crowd may turn violent with little warning and police can target journalists or mistake them for rabble rousers. It’s particularly challenging to maintain social distancing during a riot, so take extra precautions to stay on the edge for quick exit. Bring extra masks, gloves and sanitizer for gear.
Resources for Self-Care & Peer Support
Editor’s Note: Edward Lawrence has been covering the coronavirus story on the ground in China since January, including a trip onto China’s frontline: Hubei province on lockdown. Here, he has outlined some of his thoughts on the challenges of reporting amid the pandemic, and the precautions that he and his team have been taking.
In May 2015, my producer and I were arrested while filming a documentary in Indonesia. We were put in a small jail cell for one week, then placed under house arrest in a hotel for two months before being sent to prison to await trial. The charges hanging over us could have led to anything from immediate release, to 22 years in prison.
The Sri Lanka situation in many ways represents what is being experienced across the globe – journalists are not equipped deal with online threats, harassment or direct attacks. Very few recognise the emotional toll and impact on their lives.
This report is the first to map in detail the risks that traumatic stress and moral injury pose to those working in documentary and factual TV. In releasing it, the Dart Centre is calling for informed policies around the management of traumatic content, greater awareness of mental health, and more attention on ethical and emotional challenges of working with vulnerable contributors.
Amy McQuire reflects on a Dart Centre Asia Pacific retreat focussed on Indigenous trauma reporting, and explains why she believes Aboriginal journalists need to embrace an advocate's role.