The Frontline Freelance Register (FFR) is a representative body for freelancers, created and run by freelancers. It is an independent, ring-fenced entity which sits within the Frontline Club Charitable Trust. The register launched on 7 June 2013 with membership open to all freelance journalists working in conflict or foreign reporting. A commitment to the code of conduct is required.
The FFR’s core objective is to support the physical and mental well-being of freelance journalists. In a world where staff jobs and fully paid foreign assignments are increasingly scarce, foreign and war reporting is dominated by freelancers, many of whom are deeply committed professionals doing outstanding work. At the same time, many of these freelancers lack the institutional support and the financial means to adequately manage the challenges of operating in dangerous environments in the long term. They also lack organised representation, often leaving them at the mercy of powerful media groups. FFR aims to help freelancers by providing them with a forum, a representative body and a critical mass to face some of these challenges.
The FFR aims to ensure its members observe responsible news gathering standards consistent with industry-established safety standards. During the six months following its launch, the FFR aims to build a community of independent journalists, establishing a voice for them by working with journalist support organisations, industry figures and those with an interest in safety and security to support its members and champion safety and professional practice.
Developed as an independent, freelancer-driven initiative, the FFR has received financial and logistical support from the Frontline Club. The FFR has been delivered thanks to a great deal of work by Vaughan Smith and the Frontline Club staff, Emma Beals, Aris Roussinos, Ayman Oghanna and Balint Szlanko alongside a wider group of consultants who informed the process. The initial governing committee is comprised of Anna Therese Day, Ayman Oghanna, Balint Szlanko, Emma Beals, Ed Giles and Vaughan Smith. The committee’s primary task is to ensure the integrity of the register. Within the first six months of the FFR's launch registrants will vote for a new governing committee, the vote recurring annually.