Manual to help journalists handle job risks

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian journalists will soon be equipped with a standard operating procedures manual to assist them in carrying out their daily responsibilities. It will include SOPs for journalists covering news in high-risk locations.

The Safe Work Practices Manual for Media Professionals and Journalists is being prepared by the Occupational Safety and Health Department (DOSH) and will be launched by the end of next month.

DOSH policy and research director Saiful Azhar Mohd Said said the 154-page manual was drafted by the department's experts to empower journalists with knowledge of the risks that come with the job and how to minimise them.

"The guidelines came about after Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam requested for a set of guidelines for journalists following the death of BernamaTV cameraman Noramfaizul Mohd Nor in Somalia in September.

"Draft copies of the manual had been distributed to media companies and government departments for feedback. The manual, among other things, includes a brief explanation on how to assess situations and make adequate preparations before going for assignments," he told the New Straits Times yesterday.

He said the draft generally covers every aspect of a journalist's job -- from covering press conferences and joining authorities in raids to covering riots, disaster and disease-stricken areas and conflict zones.

"We are still open to suggestions and comments on the draft until Nov 30."