Totem - Digital security courses for journalists & activists

Totem: Digital security courses for journalists and activists

Safety of journalists

Totem is the online platform where journalists and activists can learn about digital safety and privacy tools. The courses are free and available for everyone.

Digital security has never been more important for journalists and activists. Not everyone is happy with the information investigative journalists expose, nor the public awareness activists raise about certain issues.There are many governments who feel threatened enough to gather extensive information about journalists. This can be information about their whereabouts, networks or sources. Authorities can then use this intelligence to intimidate the media. 

Journalists and media organisations often lack the awareness and training to digitally protect themselves, their information and their sources. If private online communication of these journalists ends up in the wrong hands, it may be used against them.

Totem: online learning platform for digital safety

Because of this, Free Press Unlimited and Greenhost created the online learning platform Totem in 2016. Later, the digital learning knowledge of Media Development Collective was added to the team, and Greenhost's role was limited to hosting of the website and courses. 

On the Totem platform, journalists and activists can learn how to apply tools and tactics for digital safety and privacy in their work. Totem offers a range of free courses on topics such as ‘How to secure your devices’, ‘How to protect your identity online’, and ‘How to protect your sources’. They can be accessed anywhere and have been carefully designed to be safe and prevent eavesdropping.

Totem’s mission is to empower civil society actors, journalists, and human rights defenders by providing them with the tools they need to protect themselves against digital security threats that could compromise their work and public trust.

Available courses

24 Totem courses are now available on the website, with more to follow. We offer these courses in English, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, French, Bangla and Farsi.

Go to Totem

Are you a digital security trainer and would you like to include the Totem courses in your work? We would love to hear from you. Contact us at

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