Security Guidance for Journalists on the U.S.-Mexico Border

By: 12/05/2022

After several attacks against Mexican journalists throughout 2022, the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and the Border Center for Journalists and Bloggers collaborated with USAID-Mexico to develop security recommendations and guidance for journalists working on the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Border Center in November trained journalists how to apply the protocols in their day-to-day work. The Iniciativa Sinaloa broadcasted the event. The panel discussion included a presentation from Border Hub journalists Maria de la Luz Sosa (editor, El Diario de Cuidad Juarez), Rosario Mosso (editor and investigative reporter, Semanario Zeta), Vicente Calderon (director, Tijuana Press), and Francisco Sandoval (investigative journalist and mentor, Border Hub).

The panelists talked about what worked when reacting to different types of threats. They also explained how to reduce risks before and after an investigation is published. The journalists advised and encouraged the next generation of professionals. The event also highlighted the need to provide security training to media editors, journalists working in high-risk areas, and vulnerable groups facing different risks.

These protocols guide journalists and human rights defenders in how to reduce the risk significantly when there is a threat of serious physical, legal, digital, or psychological harm to their organizations and people. The authors state that the guidelines are neither static nor definitive. They are documents that must be tested and improved by the experience of every journalist or human rights defender who uses them to improve their security. The document includes action protocols in the case of:

  • Threat surveillance
  • Sexual harassment
  • High-risk investigations
  • Information sources
  • High-risk areas
  • Legal harassment
  • Serious security incidents
  • Digital security
Presentación del Protocolo de Seguridad del border hub
Journalist Vicente Calderón, a member of the Border Hub and editor of the Tijuana Press website, participated in the presentation of the protocols in Tijuana.


Download the Security Protocols in Spanish 

This is a project of the International Center for Journalists in partnership with the Border Center for Journalists and Bloggers, with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The author of the report is Jorge Luis Sierra, director of the Border Hub and president of the Border Center for Journalists and Bloggers. Jorge Sebastian Sierra collaborated on the document, and Carlos Mendoza produced illustrations.

DISCLAIMER: The content of this text is the responsibility of its author and does not necessarily reflect the point of view of USAID or the United States government.

Latest News

The Benefits and Pitfalls of ChatGPT for Journalists

In the latest ICFJ Pamela Howard Forum on Global Crisis Reporting webinar, Jenna Burrell, director of research at Data & Society, dove into the pros of ChatGPT and how it can be a tool for journalists, as well as its limitations and what journalists should be cautious about.  

Transforming Newsrooms in Brazil

News outlets across Brazil – from radio stations in the Amazon to legacy newsrooms in São Paulo – are expanding their reach and ramping up their digital content through a large-scale ICFJ initiative supported by Meta that is now kicking off a second round.

Journalist of the Month: Chani Guyot

For Argentinian journalist Chani Guyot, journalism centers around purpose and impact. When he recognized a pattern of news avoidance in his community in Argentina, he knew it was imperative that journalists better engage their audiences.