Global Journalist Security (USA)

Founded in 2011 by Frank Smyth, a seasoned freelance journalist who had served as senior advisor to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Global Journalist Security provides training programs and consultancy services to human-rights groups, news organizations and independent journalists looking to ameliorate the risk of serious injury, kidnapping or death in reporting environments with weak police presences or developing military situations. The for-profit company specializes in teaching how to avoid falling prey to violence in a variety of borderline conditions that fall short of outright war zones, such as regions afflicted with violent corruption or periodic eruptions of civil unrest.

GJS's employees, who operate from training centers in the United States and Sweden and who often can speak French, Russian or Arabic in addition to English, teach emergency first aid, personal self-defense methods, special techniques for forestalling sexual assaults and general situational awareness against falling prey to kidnapping at the hands of ransom-seeking criminal gangs or terrorists. The company's curriculum includes evading surveillance and securing digital communications against repressive regimes or corrupt government agencies in otherwise nominally free countries. A particular characteristic of the company is preparing reporters and others for the daily threat of savage violence, imprisonment or death by conducting realistic training scenarios that simulate a range of possible negative and positive outcomes. GJS largely draws its personnel from law-enforcement agents, former members of elite military units, martial-arts experts, experienced journalists and professional psychological counselors.

The company's programs also teach softer skills such as employing social-media platforms to raise awareness of and sympathy for the missions of reporters, which frequently can lead to invaluable security tip-offs and emergency assistance from local residents and other sympathetic individuals.

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