Covering Mindanao: The Safety of Local vs. Non-local Journalists in the Field
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionHøiby MH. Covering Mindanao: The Safety of Local vs. Non-local Journalists in the Field. Journalism Practice. 2019:1-17 https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17512786.2019.1598884
In this study, I examine the perilous conditions facing Filipino journalists covering the Mindanao region, focusing on differences in threats and dangers faced by those who are local to the region and those parachuting in from Manila. Using a qualitative approach, I have conducted one group interview with two local and two non-local journalists, and five in-depth one-to-one interviews with journalists and expert sources, in 2017. The study additionally draws on interviews with fourteen Filipino journalists and editors from 2014. The journalists perceive that safety differ depending on whether they are local to the conflict they cover or not. Safety issues are significant for the ways in which they operate in the field and decisions they make. Extra-judicial killings and impunity for perpetrators committing crimes against journalists perpetuate dangerous conditions particularly for local journalists, while kidnapping for ransom is among the greatest threats perceived by non-local journalists. In situations which non-local journalists can retreat, their local counterparts stay behind and face reprisals. Ethics is imperative to safety particularly for local journalists. Safety training should be tailored to and differentiate between security challenges. Collaboration between local and non-local journalists may improve their safety altogether, but media organisations must adequately compensate both.