SAG-AFTRA, which counts broadcast and cable reporters, news
editors and writers among its 160,000 members, released safety tips Thursday (World
Press Freedom Day) for journalists covering protests.
One of the reasons for the tip sheet, said the union, was to
help them stay safe while covering domestic unrest like the Occupy protests, or
the upcoming G8 Summit in Chicago.
"The recent Occupy protests and the upcoming G8 summit
in Chicago highlight the threat journalists, broadcasters and other reporting
staff may face when doing their jobs," said the union. "Simply
turning on the evening television news makes clear the threat to professional
news workers. The danger is no longer only on the combat battlefield - pepper
spray, tear gas and violence by individuals, crowds and confrontations with law
enforcement pose potential threats to news professionals in the field."
Among the tips are to wear natural fabrics that are
"less flammable" than synthetics; research local police tactics
("is pepper spray likely?"); carry a bandana soaked with onion, lemon
or vinegar, which reduces the irritation of tear gas; and "avoid horses.
They bite and kick."
For other tips, check out the sheet.