It need not be reiterated, as recent tragedies worldwide have reminded us, the danger journalists, non-combatants and civilians face worldwide. Avoiding ‘danger’ zones is not always practical or achievable. Fortunately, there are protective options available to all which increasingly accessible.
Protective clothing in the form of body armour may be something that many would not normally consider. Many are reticent to consider body armour as an option for a number of reasons. Some view it as a readiness for attack. However, as is all too clear, tragedy can strike anywhere and at any time, and it is important to be protected against potential attacks.
There have been significant developments that have improved the comfort and lowered the cost of body armour. Body armour is often considered bulky, rigid and uncomfortable. However, bullet proof vests are lighter and thinner than ever, and can be worn comfortably underneath clothing for extended periods, offering discreet protection even at the highest levels.
As freelancers, we are all aware of the cost of sufficient protection. However, manufacturers have focussed heavily on researching and developing new materials to be used in body armour, moving away from the traditional materials like steel towards plastics and ceramics. There have even been promising developments in liquid armour, which is naturally far lighter and thinner. As a result, armour, both new and used, is far more accessible for journalists than ever before, and at a fraction of the cost.
Of course, body armour should not necessarily be mandatory for everyone; there are many who will simply not need it. However, the usual concerns about body armour are simply not true anymore, and protective clothing is far more accessible than ever. For those who will be working and reporting from hostile environments, or wherever there is the threat of injury or violence, a protective vest is something that should be considered.