The majority of women journalists reported experiencing threats and online violence while doing their jobs. Physical violence, such as assault and murder is also aided and abetted by online abuse of women journalists. Through various UN resolutions, UNESCO promotes the security of women journalists, works with partners to identify and implement best practices, and makes suggestions to all parties engaged in preventing violence against women in the journalism field.
Black and minority women journalists suffer a triple weight of intersectional abuse online, which amplifies and exacerbates the hostility they encounter offline. They are even targeted by physical violence because of their gender, the fact that they are journalists, and the color of their skin. They may experience abuse related to both their sexual orientation and religion in various situations.
The tech industry’s apathy and slowness to respond, as well as the time-consuming procedures for filing reports of online violence occurrences, are all severe problems that frequently cause weariness and annoyance. According to the story, Nigerian journalist Kiki Mordi said, “I feel like nothing will get done, therefore I don’t bother anymore.”
Social media platforms are being used more frequently by journalists for news collection, content dissemination, and audience engagement. They are, however, more vulnerable to exploitation because of this need. The lack of social media networks to effectively address online violence contributes to violence against women journalists.
Tech corporations have also declined to deal with or take down unpleasant online postings, frequently claiming it did not violate their business standards. On the one hand, nasty and violent rhetoric directed towards journalists continues to go unchallenged, but the researchers also observed that these platforms continue to limit publishing content.
For instance, journalist Ghada Oueiss of Al Jazeera informed the researchers of online threats made against her, including one in which physical violence involved a Facebook post that promised US $50,000 to anyone who could abduct or kill her. The accused was taken into custody after she reported the event to the police. The menacing post, though, was still accessible on Facebook.
The Chilling, a study on global trends in online violence against women journalists was released by UNESCO and showed the scope of these assaults against women journalists and the effects they have on their well-being, their jobs, and press freedom in general. UNESCO collaborates with partners to create useful tools that newsrooms, media management, and journalists can use to respond to offline and online abuse.
To train women journalists locally and through extensive online training programs, UNESCO collaborated with specialized organizations. It also worked with security forces to educate them on gender-specific aspects of freedom of expression.
A recent UNESCO-ICFJ poll revealed that 73% of the questioned women journalists said they had experienced online abuse while performing their jobs. In concerted, misogynistic attacks, they are frequently the target.
UNESCO, the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, and the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) organized a multilingual webinar to introduce the French and Spanish versions of the self-directed course titled How to report safely/Exercer le journalisme en toute sécurité/Como informar de manera Segura to give women journalists, newsrooms, and their allies’ resources to ensure that women media workers can safely exercise their profession. The seminar offers instruction on how to deal with the abuse and threats that female media professionals encounter regularly.
Women’s right to speak up and society’s right to know are both harmed by this assault. We must work together to find ways to protect female journalists from online violence to stop this growing trend. This includes resounding comments from media outlets, governmental authorities, and social media sites.
Everyone is harmed by online violence against women journalists. Let’s put an end to this!