Forbidden Stories
Safebox network

SafeBox Network Charter

The SafeBox Network is a mechanism developed by Forbidden Stories that allows journalists who are threatened due to their investigative work to share their information so that the organization and its partners are able to continue the journalists’ work if they are killed, kidnapped or imprisoned.



As per its mandate, Forbidden Stories has as its mission the protection of sensitive information and documents. The organization does not provide physical protection, judicial assistance, nor financial or psychological support.

Forbidden Stories focuses on continuing the investigations of journalists who have been killed, kidnapped or imprisoned. The organization does not do advocacy work.



Forbidden Stories upholds the following values:

  • Freedom of the press and of expression
  • Access to free and independent information
  • Democracy
  • Public interest
  • Journalistic ethics and deontology
  • Collaborative journalism
  • Transparency
  • Diversity
  • Combatting all forms of harassment, discrimination, defamation, blackmail, slander, and hate speech
  • Combatting disinformation, corruption, environmental crimes, and human rights violations



Membership of the SafeBox Network is free.

Joining the SafeBox Network entails adherence to the values of Forbidden Stories, mentioned above.

A SafeBox Network member is any journalist or newsroom who has received a favorable decision from Forbidden Stories after securing information with the organization.

Forbidden Stories only protects the information of journalists and does not respond to requests made by individuals not exercising journalistic activities. The SafeBox Network is intended solely for journalists who are threatened or who are at risk of being threatened due to their research and/or their journalistic publications.

Membership of the SafeBox Network is effective when the Forbidden Stories team informs applicants that their application is complete. The file is composed of general instructions, the first set of information to secure, and proof that the journalists are being threatened.

In case of emergency, Forbidden Stories can secure the information of a journalist who is not a member. Before continuing an investigation, Forbidden Stories will verify the activity and identity of the individual. If possible, the creation of a file after the first securing of information is preferable so that Forbidden Stories can effectively pursue an investigation.


Publicizing one’s membership

The decision to make one’s membership to the SafeBox Network public or not is entirely up to the member. Forbidden Stories respects this choice. The organization can provide communication support to members who wish to make it publicly known that they are securing their information, and takes the necessary internal steps to preserve the anonymity of other members.

Members will specify their choice in the form titled, “General Instructions” when they join the SafeBox Network. Members can change their choice at any moment by notifying Forbidden Stories.

All members who choose to make it publicly known that they share their information with the SafeBox Network will appear in the SafeBox Network directory on the Forbidden Stories website.


Withdrawal and Exclusion

Members are considered inactive in the case they:

  • Do not respond to requests made by Forbidden Stories for more than 4 months and/or;
  • Have not protected information related to their ongoing investigations for more than one year and/or ;
  • Stop their journalistic work.


Forbidden Stories will stop contacting and following up with inactive members, and they will be removed from the SafeBox Network directory on the Forbidden Stories website, if they appeared in it. All inactive members will be informed in advance of their imminent withdrawal.

Withdrawal from the SafeBox Network mechanism is not definitive. Forbidden Stories keeps the file associated with inactive members for two years after the individuals’ withdrawal. Inactive members can ask Forbidden Stories to be reintegrated to the SafeBox Network if they meet the above-mentioned membership conditions.

Forbidden Stories reserves the right to exclude any member who contravene its values (mentioned above).

Forbidden Stories can decide to suspend members as soon as it becomes aware of alleged actions taken by members that violate the organization’s values, while it investigates the accusations. If the allegations are confirmed, Forbidden Stories can decide to expel the members. Members will be notified of their suspension, and upon their eventual exclusion from the SafeBox Network.

Members of the SafeBox Network may at any moment decide to leave the SafeBox Network, by informing their contact at Forbidden Stories of their decision.


Members commit to:

  • Regularly inform the Forbidden Stories team of their situation and the status of threats they receive. The members also commit to respond to any request of communication made by their assigned contact at Forbidden Stories.


  • Only reach out to their designated contact within the Forbidden Stories team. In case of unavailability or communication issues with the point of contact, an emergency number is available for the members. The SecureDrop platform also allows members of the SafeBox Network to safely send their information at any moment.


  • Secure information when they deem it necessary. There is no obligation as to how often information must be secured. Nevertheless, after a year of not securing information with the SafeBox Network, members may be temporarily withdrawn from the mechanism.


  • Provide clear, detailed and complete information. It is not required to submit instruction sheets every time the members secures new elements, however, it is strongly recommended to ensure strong coordination with Forbidden Stories. The members understand that Forbidden Stories cannot pursue an investigation that it is unaware of, or for which it has received only incomplete information.


  • Use, whenever possible, the methods of communication recommended by Forbidden Stories, which are amongst the most reliable in terms of safety, to interact with their point of contact. The members of the SafeBox Network acknowledge, however, that the safety of any form of communication can never be 100% guaranteed. In the event that the members decide to use other communication methods to exchange with their designated point of contact, the members recognize that they will most likely not have as much guaranteed security. The members are also invited to adopt good security practices, both online and with digital equipment, to maximize the safety of exchanges.


Forbidden Stories commits to:

  • Take all possible measures to guarantee the confidentiality of information secured via the SafeBox Network.


  • Never disclose the information secured via the SafeBox Network to any third party under any circumstances.


  • Make every effort to ensure the anonymity of members who do not wish to make their SafeBox Network membership public.


  • Ensure, at least once a year, that members update their general instructions and still meet the conditions that justified their membership of the network.


  • If members are murdered, abducted or imprisoned for a reason presumably related to their journalistic research and/or publications, Forbidden Stories launches a pre-investigation to confirm the existence of a link between the members’ journalistic activities and their murder, abduction, or imprisonment. In this case, Forbidden Stories does its utmost to get in touch with the contact points communicated by the member and, if the pre-investigation is conclusive, to continue the investigation of the silenced member.


  • In the event that members have commitments in several areas, Forbidden Stories activates the mechanism for continuing an investigation only if it appears that the members have been silenced due to their journalistic activity and if their work meets the ethical and deontological criteria of journalism.


  • Forbidden Stories does not publish investigations that violate its values (see above).

About the SafeBox Network