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Protecting Your Sources


About This Course

To support stories and ensure factual reporting, journalists typically rely on information provided in confidence by sources. Sources may want to remain anonymous if they are concerned about threats from people whose names or identities their information mentions or discloses.

Protecting confidentiality of sources is an essential component of ethical reporting.
Due to increased levels of digital surveillance and monitoring by authorities and other actors, maintaining confidentiality has become more difficult.

In this course, you will learn the tools and strategies that will keep you, your newsroom and your sources safe, secure, and anonymous when using digital devices, going online, or communicating. We offer useful advice and practical tools to safeguard the digital safety and security of you and your sources.

Bad Actor

About Totem

Totem is an online platform that offers interactive courses to learn how to increase digital security and privacy. The aim is to support journalists, human rights defenders and activists to use privacy tools and tactics more effectively in their work.
Start today and learn how to protect yourself online.

What will you learn?

At the end of this course you will:
  • Know where your source protection has gaps in it.
  • Understand how to exert more control over your online presence.
  • Identify the current amount of risk you and your sources are at.
  • Be able to securely communicate with sources.
  • Have a basic checklist you can use to make sure you and your sources are safe from surveillance and digital exposures.


The Totem platform has many great courses that you can follow to ensure that you increase your digital safety, security and privacy. During this course we will link to other courses you should consider completing to deepen your knowledge of the subject matter.

This course will provide the fundamental information, abilities and attitudes you'll need, but if you're looking for further information, we recommend checking out the Totem courses on:

Secure your devices
How to protect your identity online
Keep it Private
Secure messaging
Secure passwords

Last update

This course was updated for the last time on: July 2022


The content was created with the help of experts, trainers and online education experts. Special thanks goes out to the Media Development Collective.