Information and the right to be informed in this crucial moment are pivotal. At the same time media employers’ duty of care obliges them to comply with a number of precautions that protect workers - staff and freelance - and that all unions should be calling for on behalf of their members.
This page aims to highlight initiatives around the globe taken by unions, media organisations and press freedom groups to make sure that information is provided with care and professionalism in full safety for media staff. It also links to key authoritative resources that all journalists should be consulting before reporting on the Coronavirus.
Keep safe and report ethically!
United Kingdom: Advices for freelances, National Union of Journalists (NUJ) - Language: English
United Kingdom: The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) called on the government “to step up” for freelancers to ensure they are not a “forgotten” group during the coronavirus pandemic - Language: English
Sweden: The Swedish journalists' union (SJF) started a special "Corona" page on its website, which provides useful information, tips, advices, and news related to COVID-19. SJF is pushing the government to protect media workers. The union achieved so far (Language: Swedish):
- Better unemployment insurance incl freelancers
- Financial relief for self-employed persons
- Journalists should be counted as "socially important" and thus be entitled to child care if the schools close
Bosnia and Herzegovina: BiH issued guidelines for journalists - Language: English
France: Letter by the National Union to all journalists on coronavirus crisis - Language: French
- The SNJ launched a petition to authoirities to include freelance journalists in the government aid packages.
Austria: GPA-djp has negotiated a “Corona short-time work” package for 3 months, in which all employees receive 80-90% compensation. The union informed their members about home office working conditions.
Belgium: Association des Journalistes Professionnels (AJP) is listing all the measures taken in French-speaking newsrooms to fight the spread of COVID-19 (work in progress). A good way to learn from each other, improve ourselves and get inspired - in French.
Belgium (Wallonie): the AJP is working on the creation of a solidarity fund for freelance journalists, who have been hard hit by the crisis: many of them have lost all or part of their collaborations -Language: French
Belgium (Flanders): Unions ensured that freelance journalists receive a monthly allowance from the first day they stop their activity because of the coronavirus crisis.
Italy: The FNSI urged the government to support journalism during the exceptional emergency plan and in particular local news facing unprecedented problems - Language: Italian
Portugal: Sindicato des Journalistas (SJ) has an special section on his website on the coronavirus crisis - Language: Portuguese
The Netherlands: Freelance journalists and photojournalists who have to deal with cancellations of assignments can report them via the NVJ hotline. The NVJ asked the central government and municipalities to come up with special measures, which they did - Language: Dutch
North Macedonia: The Council of Media Ethics of Macedonia (CMEM) joined forces with the Association of Journalists of North Macedonia (AJM) and released specific ‘Guidelines on ethical, accountable and professional reporting on the coronavirus’ in Macedonian, Albanian and English.
Greece: The Journalists' Union of Athens Daily Newspapers (JUADN) offered to its members financial aid and super market vouchers - Language: Greek
Australia:Coronavirus advices for MEAA Media members - Language: English
Indonesia: The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) has taken action to ensure journalists’ safety who are covering the Covid19 crisis. The union published a Safety Protocol and helped to provide all its members with safety material such as masks and hand sanitizers, among other actions - Language: Indonesian
Pakistan: The PFUJ has managed to coordinate with the Government of Pakistan to take care of the journalists if any body get infected and it has been officially announced by the Federal and provincial governments. PFUj had also sent an open letter media houses to restrict the number of employees in the offices and allow the rest to work from home, Most of the media have responded positively and have made arrangements accordingly. Some have asked the reporting and editorial section staff to work on alternate days while others have asked the staff to work from home. Journalists seem satisfied with this solution, according to the Federation. However many journalists continue to face non payments of their wages.
Sri Lanka: The Free Media Movement of Sri Lanka sent a letter to all the media outlets calling on their responsibility to guarantee journalists’ safety - Language: English
Philippines: The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines urged the government not to use the emergency as an excuse to curtail media freedom.
Canada: Unions seek coronavirus income support for entertainment industry workers, CWA - Language: English
Uruguay: APU guidelines facing Codv-19 - Language: Spanish
- Prevention campaign launched by the Uruguayan Press Association and with the support of the Uruguayan Medical Union, the Federation of Public Health Officials and the Uruguayan Health Federation
Panamá: The Sindicato de Periodistas de Panamá (SPP) urges the government to protect journalists' jobs as essential service to ensure the free right to be informed - Language: Spanish
Paraguay: SPP, Sindicato de Periodistas del Paraguay reaction to coronavirus - Language: Spanish
FEPALC: Federación de Periodistas de América Latina y el Caribe, FEPALC, safety guidelines - Language: Spanish
Ivory Coast: The Intersyndicale du secteur des médias called on authorities to respect the free flow of information - Language - French
Other entitites initiatives:
UNESCO:Resource Center of Responses to COVID-19. Actions to Support Media, Enhance Access to Information, and Leverage Digital Technologies in the Fight Against the Pandemic.
International Labour Organization (ILO) resources:
- Key provisions of international labour standards relevant to the evolving COVID19 outbreak
- New guidelines to help employers support families during COVID-19
UNI Global Union: Fighting the COVID-19 crisis in the media & entertainment sector
Norway: The Fritt Ord Foundation will support journalists and other with 3.2 million euros – to projects that “can secure spaces of expression, develop new channels of expression and help a vibrant and vital public”.
New York Times provided free access to the main news and for useful guidance on the coronavirus outbreak
Latin American newsrooms adapt operations as new coronavirus spreads across the continent, Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas
Resources and best practices from Public Media Alliance.
News Media Association, reaction to coronavirus
Community radio broadcasting coronavirus prevention education in Bangladesh: https://bnnrc.net/covid-19-community-radio-broadcasting-coronavirus-prevention-education-in-bangladesh/
Argentinian newspaper "Clarín" decided to allow unlimited access to its digital content on the pandemic
Global investigative journalism network, COVID-19 resources:
International Center for Journalists COVID-19 resources