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18/12/2002

Skillset to fund hostile environment training for journalists

The case of Channel 4 reporters Zaiba Malik and Bruno Sorrentino, freed from captivity in Bangladesh on Wednesday December 10, highlights the increasing dangers faced by foreign correspondents post September 11.
In response to these growing risks, many large broadcasters operate established training programmes for staff going into war zones but for the substantial number of freelancers working in the sector access to training is neglected.
Channel 4 and Skillset, the Sector Skills Council for the Audio Visual Industries, are jointly funding a new Hostile Regions Training Programme for freelance broadcast journalists and crew. The pilot programme will enable 60 broadcast freelancers to be trained by ex Special Forces personnel who will focus on awareness, anticipation and avoidance of risk in conflict zones.
Dinah Caine, Chief Executive of Skillset explained: "The instability of a freelancer`s life means they can`t often find the time or the money for training in general which raises concerns but it is especially alarming when we are talking about their own personal safety. Thirteen western journalists have been killed this year. Last year, seven journalists were killed in one week in Afghanistan. There will always be risks in front line reporting but Skillset wants to see freelancers fully trained and prepared for those risks. And ensure, as far as is possible, their wellbeing."
(GB)
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