Forbidden Stories

REd SafeBox

What is the SafeBox Network?

Forbidden Stories protects the information of threatened journalists. If they are imprisoned, abducted or murdered, Forbidden Stories and its international network of media partners will be able to continue their investigations and publish them worldwide.

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All over the world, journalists are jailed, abducted and murdered, depriving millions of people of information of public interest.

To ensure that their investigations do not disappear with them, Forbidden Stories has created the SafeBox Network

Our goal is to increase access to information and to deter crimes against journalists by sending a strong message to the enemies of the press: killing the journalist won’t kill the story.

They are journalists from all corners of the world: Mexico, Nigeria, Syria, the Philippines, Colombia… Every day, they are intimidated, threatened with death, and even imprisoned or assaulted. They are attacked because they publish information about issues of public concern, like the environment, human rights or corruption, that some want to keep under wraps.

More than a hundred journalists and newsrooms, among the most threatened in the world, are members of our SafeBox Network. 

Through the SafeBox Network, these reporters can safeguard their sensitive information. If they are abducted, imprisoned or assassinated, Forbidden Stories and its powerful network of media partners will be able to pursue their investigations and publish them worldwide. 

Making it publicly known that their information is secure can help protect these journalists at risk, by deterring those who try to silence them and letting them know that whatever they try to hide will be amplified. 

The SafeBox Network is a collective, global and journalistic response to impunity.

Protect your stories

Are you a journalist under threat because of your reporting? Secure your information with Forbidden Stories via the SafeBox Network.

SafeBox Network members

Some journalists want those who threaten them to know that their information is secure, and that a worldwide network of colleagues is ready to continue their work if necessary. 

Find them in this directory. Not all members are listed, as some do not wish to make their membership public for safety reasons.

Key figures

SafeBox Network partner organizations

Forbidden Stories is supported by local organizations to make the SafeBox Network available to the journalists who need it most.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Who can protect their information?

Journalists who are threatened for their work, regardless of the language they work in.

Is there a fee to join the SafeBox Network?

Membership is entirely free. Forbidden Stories is a non-profit media organization who relies on the support of philanthropic foundations and donations from the public.

How can I join the SafeBox Network?
What should I share with the SafeBox Network?

We need three types of documents:

  1. The elements of your ongoing investigation (documents, photos, videos, interviews, or rough drafts of your articles).
  2. Information on the threats that you face.
  3. Your instructions, to guide us in the possible continuation of your work.

For more information, follow this tutorial.

Is the information secured through the SafeBox Network automatically published?

No. What we receive isn't automatically published. Securing your information is a preventive measure, and an investigation is only triggered in the event of imprisonment, abduction or murder.

When one of these situations arises, Forbidden Stories starts by launching a pre-investigation and analyzing the secured documents. Our goal in doing so is to determine if there are unfinished leads in your investigation that could be explored further. Forbidden Stories maintains its editorial independence. If an investigation is feasible and relevant, we will pick up the work where it was left off.

How secure are communications with Forbidden Stories?

The security of digital systems can never be fully guaranteed, but the tools we use are among the best available. They are open-source, well-known, and have been audited for bugs and vulnerabilities. We work closely with the Freedom of the Press Foundation, the organization that develops SecureDrop, which is the platform underpinning the SafeBox Network.

What does Forbidden Stories do with the information it receives?

As long as the journalist is able to publish their investigations on their own, the information they have secured with Forbidden Stories is safely stored. We don't use it. We can, however, make it known that the information is protected by our organization, if the journalist feels that this would help protect them.

Our mechanism will only be triggered if the journalist is imprisoned, abducted, or, worse still, murdered. If an investigation is feasible and relevant, we then bring together media partners to investigate, based on the information the journalist had secured through the SafeBox Network.

At what point does Forbidden Stories and its partners take over the work of a journalist?

We take over the work of a journalist from the SafeBox Network when they are prevented from investigating on their own. This can happen if they are abducted, jailed or murdered because of their work.

What kind of protection can Forbidden Stories provide?

We protect and pursue investigations. But we're not an advocacy organization, and we don't provide physical or legal protection.

Our partner the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) can support SafeBox Network members in reinforcing their safety.

How can this network deter crimes against journalists?

The objective of the SafeBox Network is to subvert the criminal logic of the enemies of the press. Silencing a journalist will no longer allow them to hide their crimes — it will even be counterproductive because instead of only being published in a local media outlet by a journalist, their misdeeds will be exposed worldwide thanks to Forbidden Stories’ powerful network.

Forbidden Stories accompanies and supports SafeBox Network members who wish to communicate about their membership, in order to let as many people as possible (starting with the enemies of the press) know that these journalists and newsrooms are not alone.

How many media outlets are partners of Forbidden Stories?

Since its creation, 90 news organizations and more than 150 journalists  from 49 different countries across five continents have worked on the collaborative investigations coordinated by Forbidden Stories.

Has the network ever been a deterrent?

Deterrence is by definition difficult to measure, as it results in what doesn’t happen. Several threatened journalists have already stated that being publicly supported by Forbidden Stories and its network has helped reduce the pressure on them.

How can I know if a journalist belongs to the SafeBox Network?

Any journalist who publicly states that they have shared their information with the SafeBox Network appears in this directory. This is the best way to check if this claim by a journalist is true. Note, however, that not all journalists who are members of the SafeBox Network will appear in the directory. Some may not want to make this information public.

Can members of the network remain anonymous?

Yes. It is up to the member to decide whether they want to make their membership public or not. Some do because they believe it can deter those who try to silence them. If it is not the case, they can choose to keep their membership confidential.

Who coordinates the SafeBox Network?

Forbidden Stories created the SafeBox Network in 2022 and coordinates it. 

Since its inception in 2017, Forbidden Stories has built a powerful network of media partners by coordinating collaborative investigations (Pegasus Project, Daphne Project, Cartel Project, Mining Secrets, etc.). These major investigations have had an impact around the world and have received multiple awards, including two George Polk awards. Learn more about Forbidden Stories.

What is the difference between Forbidden Stories and the SafeBox Network?

The SafeBox Network adds an element of protecting journalists’ stories to Forbidden Stories’ mandate, in addition to pursuing and publishing their work. The SafeBox Network complements the mission that Forbidden Stories has pursued since its inception. It aims to act before the threats received by journalists materialize and result in crimes. The SafeBox Network connects these at-risk journalists with journalists around the world who are less at risk, in order to protect them.

Who funds Forbidden Stories?

Forbidden Stories is a non-profit organization. We rely on the support of philanthropic foundations and on donations from individuals who support our mission.

I am not a threatened journalist, but I would like to help you. What can I do?

First of all, thank you for your interest! You can help us in several ways. 

The first is to spread the word about this network around you: the more it is known, the more it acts as a deterrent. 

You can also make a donation to support our mission, as Forbidden Stories is a non-profit organization. 

If you want to contact us, you can write to us at this address: info [at] freedomvoicesnetwork.org

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