Don’t Gamble Your Safety! How journalists and activists can assess risks online and in the field

This webinar addresses challenges that arise when crossing the often invisible lines between physical and digital spaces and how this can affect your work and aspects of your private life alike. Journalist and security researcher Dimitri Bettoni talks about the practical needs and the ethical dilemmas that journalists and activists face while shifting between the offline and online dimensions of their work.

Do you think that there is a disconnect between your offline and online work environments? Are you often looking for safety methods, tools or tips that apply to your digital research / investigation, and yet for more “tangible” solutions to keep you safe during field work? How do you anticipate your threats, and how do you assess and address risks related to your work?

When shifting between digital and physical spaces, hidden threats also spill from one realm to the next. If not anticipated and addressed these can have a significant impact on the work and safety of journalists, activists and others gathering and communicating information as evidence.

Through the lenses of threat modelling and risk assessment, this webinar discusses the practical needs of switching between online and offline spaces as well as the ethical dilemmas that may arise and that journalists and activists have to face in their work.

In brief, the webinar addresses:

  • the practices of 'threat modelling' and 'risk assessment’ and how they relate: when does a threat become risky?

  • the ethical dimensions of threat modelling (prior identification of threats);

  • the opportunities that come from participatory risk assessment and mitigation activities;

  • useful approaches that can be applied to various contexts, across “the offline and the online.”


Dimitri Bettoni is a researcher at OBC Transeuropa and the Institute for Future Media Democracy and Society (FuJo) of the Dublin City University. His research focuses on surveillance technologies and cultures, both as a threat and opportunity for journalism, while exploring the intersections with topics such as disinformation, safety vs security, collaborative networks. He worked as a correspondent in Middle Eastern and Balkan countries, and he is a founding member of the Foreign Media Association in Turkey. His twitter account is: @DimitriBettoni1

Moderator: Léopold Salzenstein

Léopold Salzenstein is a freelance investigative journalist and researcher focusing on climate change. His work has been published in various online media, such as The New Humanitarian, Mongabay, The Third Pole and Climate Home News. Leopold has a Master’s degree in Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation.

About the Organiser

Tactical Tech is an international non-profit organisation that engages with citizens and civil-society organisations to explore and mitigate the impacts of technology on society. Exposing the Invisible is a Tactical Tech project that develops resources, training and collaborations promoting investigation as one of the most important forms of public engagement.

This event is part of the Collaborative and Investigative Journalism Initiative (CIJI) project co-funded by the European Commission under the Pilot Project: "Supporting investigative journalism and media freedom in the EU" (DG CONNECT).

This text reflects the author’s view and the Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

First published on September 7, 2022