PFO Tech, the companybehind the technology of security bracelets protecting human rights activists at risk, was at UNESCO this week presenting their solution at the World Press Freedom Day conference in Paris.
Journalism is one of the most dangerous professions today, and in places like Syria it is often called “an impossible job.” Journalists are constantly at risk of attacks, imprisonment and even death for seeking to tell the truth.
A two-day conference marking the World Press Freedom Day at UNESCO Headquarters aimed in part to address the safety of journalists, adding to a Declaration that highlights the contribution of free expression to development. Ernest Sagaga of the International Federation of Journalists invited PFO Tech to demonstrate their alarm bracelet, saying, “Increasing the safety of journalists is key to the freedom of expression around the world, and we believe this type of initiative can make an important difference for our members’ safety.”
Johan Carlsson, CEO of PFO Tech, is confident that charitably funded initiatives similar to that of the Natalia Project for human rights defenders can be implemented to protect journalists as well. “Information is the very foundation of our morals and ideals, and protecting the people who bring us that information is key to knowing where to direct our resources for development,” says Carlsson. “Reporters are a target for doing their job, and it’s our job to report when and where they are being targeted.”
PFO’s solution includes a GPS bracelet with patented alarm mechanism, a mobile application and hosting service. By triggering the alarm, a journalist can send their live position to pre-chosen recipients such as headquarters, alarm receiving centres, colleagues nearby, and even out on social media platforms to involve the whole world in the event of an attack.