Friday, July 1

Reporters Without Borders presents ‘Digital Vest’, an App to help journalists sent to hostile areas




Reporters Without Borders (RSF) presented its new application this Thursday ‘Digital Vest’, a project that has the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation and that seeks to provide assistance to journalists who enter dangerous areas. The tool, which stores data from hostile places so that journalists can inform themselves, aims to prevent them from feeling alone in the face of the dangers they face in these conflict areas. The presentation also paid tribute to David Beriain and Roberto Fraile, the two journalists who were murdered in Burkina Faso just two months ago.

The operation of this tool, developed by TalentoMobile altruistically, is basic but very useful. Raul Repiso, CEO of this company, explained in the meeting that took place in Arab house that “created the digital project as a result of the idea of ​​Reporters Without Borders.”

The application, which is in an early stage and is still only available for Android, it needs to have internet access to work. Count with one ‘SOS button’, something essential for journalists who are in conflictive areas and that must be configured just when you download the App. This, which is always visible on the screen to facilitate its use, share location in real time of the professional, using a geolocation system that allows information to be sent during the time determined by the user. In addition, this App is also useful to record the level of danger in the area.

“There are places where contacting the authorities is not the best idea”

The tool, which shows the status of the situation in real time, also allows create custom buttons depending on the needs of each one, since the alarm alerts whoever the user determines because “there are places where contacting the authorities is not the best idea” he explained in the presentation Pilar Bernal, vice president of Reporters Without Borders. Pedro Martinez-Avial, general director of Casa Árabe, has clarified that whoever finds himself in this situation can “ask for help from the consulate or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

In addition, the application also allows you to register danger zones and report information about cyber bullying. Although the main idea is that hostile places are reported, “it should serve to find out which are the safe areas,” Bernal explained.

Provide security

Cristina Gallach, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and for Latin America and the Caribbean of the Government of Spain, also wanted to highlight that for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs it is important that journalists do “the best possible job to create a better society”, showing pride of what has been achieved : «A small act has produced a transforming effect that helps communicators.

Alfonso Armada, president of the Spanish Section of Reporters Without Borders, has vindicated the importance of creating an application of this nature for journalism. “Although RSF continues to offer physical vests and helmets, which will continue to be needed, this digital vest will give security to journalists who tell us what others do not want to see, “he explained. Likewise, it has also stressed that “we must prevent this from being a tool against journalists”

David Beriain and Roberto Fraile

The event paid tribute to these two reporters who were killed in April when they were surprised by an ambush in Burkina Faso, while working in a documentary on poaching. Two friends of his, colleagues by profession, also attended the presentation, who wanted to say a few words in his honor: Natalia Junqueras and Roberto Lozano.

“Roberto and David had the gift of the singular gaze”

“David had a super power and he wanted to understand so he could share. He said that he was ‘a stubborn Navarrese’ and that we should not forget that the biggest stories are also in the small places. David was critical with journalism and with himself, it was authentic. He always said that ‘I do not go to these places to show that I am brave, because I am not’ but, despite fear, you have to do what you think you should do, ”shared Junqueras.

Lozano has confessed that he is “an apostle of his legacy.” «Roberto and David had the gift of singular gaze And they made us ask ourselves questions that we would never think. David would have interviewed his murderer and Roberto would have wondered why that corner where they were murdered did not have as much visibility before as at the time of their death ».

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