Donald Campbell, Head of Communications
Overall responsibility for all communications emanating from the UK office. Queries or complaints about MSF's public communications, or significant concerns about an element of MSF’s work.
Direct line: +44 (0) 207 067 4236
Mobile: +44 (0) 7791 755 415
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Information for journalists
Bearing witness and speaking out about the humanitarian situation in the places where our medical teams work is core to MSF’s mandate. The media is a very powerful tool through which we can talk about the plight of the people we help and advocate for change.
Although MSF does not normally finance journalists’ trips, we are always more than happy to help journalists who are travelling to the areas where we work and help arrange visits to our projects wherever possible.
MSF works with journalists in a variety of different ways and each situation and context will be different.
With most requests, we can provide information before travelling, give you a briefing and put you in direct contact with our teams on the ground.
With more formal arrangements, we can organise for journalists to visit our projects for a few days.
Often journalists will be able to travel with the MSF teams in whatever mode of transport they are using.
However, our priority is to get medical equipment and personnel to the place of need, so this may not always be possible. In some cases you will need to make your own arrangements.
Please contact our press officers who can give you more information on MSF’s work and visiting our projects.
Before you go
For any journalist travelling to our projects, there are a few things to take into account before you go (if you are taking photographs, please read our photographer guidelines below).
As doctors and nurses, we have a privileged relationship with the patients we treat. They put themselves in our care and trust us to try and heal them. It is our responsibility to ensure that they come to no harm in our care.
MSF staff on the ground have been told to intervene if they witness a journalist acting in a way which may harm the interests of the patient.
Be aware that an interviewee (especially if they are also photographed) may be harmed in different ways: stigmatisation, security, dignity, privacy/confidentiality.
MSF is not generally the “owner” of the medical facilities in which we work – often the structure belongs to the Ministry of Health or local community authority. It is vital that a journalist gets permission from the necessary authorities running the facility before starting to work.
Journalists must be sure to obtain full, informed consent from any patients or staff interviewed in MSF health facilities. Consent should be discussed in the exact context with the Country Representative.
Consent negotiations must be carried out in the subject’s native language. National medical staff, (unarmed) guards or logistics staff may well be the best people to translate for you, but please be very clear with them that the patient is perfectly entitled to say no.
Please be aware that the MSF teams will hope to stay in a location long after you leave. We often have to maintain a relationship with the authorities and other political/military actors in the region.
Ideally, before you start working in our programmes, a member of the MSF team will brief you about local security rules. MSF staff on the ground will be concerned about the implications that your behaviour might have on their security. Please be understanding about their concern and try and cooperate. On occasion, we may ask to have a visible arms-length relationship with you.
You will have a more comfortable time working with MSF teams if you can agree a few practical matters with them in advance. For example, will you be expected to follow the same security rules as expatriates, such as respecting curfews?
If you have any questions on any of the above, please contact the MSF UK press office.
Information for photographers
Pictures are important to MSF. They can educate people around the world about the situations our teams are witnessing and they can help MSF to raise money, recruit vital staff and inspire people. MSF works closely with photographers to get these important images.
The priority for teams on the ground, however, is to provide professional and timely medical care to people in need.
We are keen to make sure that photography is always conducted sensitively in MSF projects.
Whatever your plans, if you can demonstrate experience of taking exceptional images in difficult locations and would like to visit an MSF project, please get in touch with Bruno De Cock to discuss how we can work together.
To read more about what we expect from photographers, please read the guides below.
If you are looking to use MSF's photography, our extensive collection of film and images documenting our work around the globe spanning more than 40 years can be browsed and downloaded for editorial publication from the MSF media library.
The MSF Picturedesk team and associated editors, based in our operations centres and section offices around the world, work with some of the world’s top photojournalists to produce reportages on our projects as well as with our own communications staff who contribute stills, web clips and video B-roll to the library.
If you work for a media company publishing stories that require visual content for your stories on MSF’s humanitarian medical operations, please register for a free account today.
If you can demonstrate experience of taking exceptional images in difficult locations, have a clear plan for distributing your photos to the media, and would like to visit an MSF project, please get in touch using the contact details at the top of this page.