The tendency to overestimate the ability to withstand attacks | #mediadev | DW | 25.03.2022
  1. Inhalt
  2. Navigation
  3. Weitere Inhalte
  4. Metanavigation
  5. Suche
  6. Choose from 30 Languages

Building media resilience

The tendency to overestimate the ability to withstand attacks

Resilience while working under a repressive regime – experiences from Efecto Cocuyo, Venezuela

Protest for press freedom in Caracas, Venezuela

Protest for press freedom in Caracas, Venezuela

About Efecto Cocuyo

The independent news website Efecto Cocuyo was born in 2015 out of a crisis. In 2014, a period of political unrest, censorship and self-censorship, three people were killed in Caracas, Venezuela's capital, during a demonstration against the government. Luz Mely Reyes, who worked at the time for a national print outlet, started tweeting directly from the event, and her followers tripled in four days. She and some colleagues recognized their fellow citizens' need for reliable information as well as a journalistic opportunity. They devised an organization that could have the "firefly effect": small lights (citizens and journalists) that together could illuminate the entire nation. It was created both as an outlet and as a school for journalists. Reporters Without Borders names Efecto Cocuyo one of the few independent media outlets in Venezuela. Most of their crises are due to political repression.

Resilience Strategy

Efecto Cocuyo is built on four pillars: To train, to inform, to maintain close ties with people, and to develop the organization. All of them have been instrumental for their resilience strategy, by creating a community of support, or building institutional capacities. Administration and finance have been crucial in dealing with crises, as well as the creation of internal policies, protocols and crisis committees, and strong national and international support networks. The latter developed more or less unintentionally in the beginning, but then Efecto Cocuyo cultivated them strategically. Empathetic and supportive leadership, and team training in physical, digital and emotional health have also been key.

Top 5 recommendations for resilience while working under a repressive regime 

  • Hold your organizations to the standards you impose on others.
  • Identify people and organizations who can give you cash or support in times of emergency.  
  • Understand the law and legal procedures and mitigate legal risks by holding to the highest ethical and legal standards. 
  • Build the outlet collectively, support your team, and have clear policies about how to report and how to deal with gender violence accusations. 
  • Become visible. Generate synergies with other organizations and support groups, and don't be afraid to ask for external professional help from human rights groups or journalist protection organizations for your security strategy.

"We tend to underestimate the ability to do harm of those who wield power. We have a tendency to overestimate our ability to withstand attacks. We are very fragile in the face of hostile governments."

Luz Mely Reyes, Editor-in-chief, Efecto Cocuyo, Venezuela

DW recommends