What is the SafeBox Network?
All over the world, journalists are jailed, kidnapped and murdered, depriving millions of people of information of general interest. To ensure that their investigations do not disappear with them, Forbidden Stories has created the SafeBox Network. The goal? To deter crimes against journalists by sending a strong message to the enemies of the press: killing the journalist won’t kill the story.
The SafeBox Network is a collective, global and journalistic response to defeat impunity.
Since its creation 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 impact around the world and received multiple awards, including two George Polk awards.
With the SafeBox Network, threatened journalists are securing their sensitive information by sharing it with Forbidden Stories. If they are abducted, imprisoned or assassinated, Forbidden Stories and its partners can continue their investigations and publish them worldwide.
Making it publicly known that their information is safe will help protect these journalists at risk. Being part of the network serves as a deterrent to those who might try to silence threatened journalists: what some try to hide will be amplified by many.
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?
No. Everything is free: both the protection of information and the pursuit of investigations by Forbidden Stories and its partners if necessary. Forbidden Stories is a non-profit organization.
How to join the SafeBox Network?
Contact the Forbidden Stories team. Everything is explained here.
What to share with the network?
Three things are needed: investigative material (documents, photos, videos, database, interviews, transcripts, article drafts, etc.), evidence of the threats faced by the journalist, and his or her instructions to guide us in the eventual pursuit and publication of his or her work. For more information, follow our guide.
Is information secured with the SafeBox Network automatically published?
No. Submitting information to Forbidden Stories does not mean it will be published. We maintain our editorial independence. If something happens to a journalist who has shared his or her information with the SafeBox Network, Forbidden Stories first conducts a pre-investigation to determine the connection between the threats, pressure or attacks and the journalist’s publications. Similarly, we determine whether it is relevant and possible to continue his or her work based on the information secured.
How secure are communications with Forbidden Stories?
The security of a digital system can never be fully guaranteed, but the tools below are among the best available. They are open-source, well-known, and have been audited for bugs and vulnerabilities. We work closely with Freedom of the Press Foundation, the organization that develops SecureDrop.
What does Forbidden Stories do with the information it receives?
We store it securely without working on it or modifying it. If it is necessary to complete one of these investigations because the journalist is unable to, we then share the information with our global network of media outlets. The scale at which we pursue the investigation is tailored to each subject.
At what point does Forbidden Stories and its partners take over the work of a journalist?
We take over a journalist’s work from the SafeBox Network when they are prevented from investigating on their own. This can happen if they are kidnapped, jailed or murdered because of their work.
What kind of protection can Forbidden Stories provide?
The SafeBox Network does not provide direct, physical protection for journalists. It proposes another method of protection aimed at deterring the enemies of the press from attacking journalists, because the stories they would seek to silence would be magnified. Physical protection, security equipment, relocation, legal assistance, etc. are not within the scope of Forbidden Stories.
How can this network deter crimes against journalists?
The objective of the SafeBox Network is to change the calculation of the enemies of the press. Silencing a journalist will no longer enable them to hide their crimes: it will even be counterproductive because instead of being published in a local media by a journalist, their misdeeds will be exposed worldwide thanks to the powerful network of Forbidden Stories.
How many media outlets are partners of Forbidden Stories?
Since its creation, 60 news organizations and more than 150 journalists – from 49 different countries and 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, because it is what does not happen. Several threatened journalists have already said that being publicly supported by Forbidden Stories and its network has helped reduce the pressure on them.
How do I know if a journalist belongs to the SafeBox Network?
Any journalist who publicly states that he has shared his 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.
You are a journalist, threatened for your work, and you want to let people know that you have shared your information with the SafeBox Network? All our advice is at the end of this tutorial.
Who coordinates the SafeBox Network?
Forbidden Stories created the SafeBox Network in 2022 and coordinates it. Since its creation 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.
Who funds Forbidden Stories?
Forbidden Stories is a non-profit organization. Like other organizations, we rely on charitable foundations and on financial support from the public.
What is the difference between Forbidden Stories and the SafeBox Network?
The SafeBox Network adds an element of protecting journalists’ stories, 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 result in crimes. The SafeBox Network connects these endangered journalists with journalists around the world who are less at risk in order to protect them.
I am not a threatened journalist, but I would like to help you. What can I do?
First, 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 can serve 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:
newsroom [at] freedomvoicesnetwork.org