Amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic, the increased use of electronic tools by journalists has enhanced their work—through improved information gathering and greater dissemination—but also left them vulnerable when it comes to cyber security.

Professor Angela Daly, University of Dundee, received a £10K RSE SAPHIRE Fund award with Dr David McMenemy, University of Glasgow, to strengthen an existing collaboration with colleagues at Deakin University (Australia). Their research looked at how journalists in Scotland and Australia understood and were aware of cyber security and surveillance and what, if anything, they did to keep themselves safe online. Journalists from different kinds of outlets (TV, newspapers, web publications), and backgrounds (including freelance, editorial, broadcast) and media lawyers were interviewed in both Scotland and Australia. Through these conversations, Daly and the team heard about the journalists’ experiences and knowledge of cyber security and related issues, such as online harassment, the impact of surveillance by the government, and areas of law which impede their work, such as defamation.

In their report, the researchers devised three recommendations for journalists, media organisations and policymakers:

  1. More ongoing cyber security education for journalists, recognising their specific needs, such as secure communications with sources. Additionally, more support should be offered to media organisations, recognising them as businesses that play an important democratic role, as well as a commercial one.
  2. More legal protection for journalists, including the reform of surveillance and defamation laws regarding journalism. More resources on these matters should be accessible to journalists.
  3. More resources and sustainability are needed to support the (cyber) future of journalism in Scotland.

Extracted from RSE website - read more here

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