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They've been beaten, trolled, threatened with sexual violence but refuse to be silenced

May 3, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 26.9%. 2 min read.

This World Press Freedom Day, a new report finds that online violence and disinformation against women journalists is on the rise

In fact, as a new report published in April by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and the United Nations' agency UNESCO reveals: "Online attacks on women journalists appear to be increasing significantly, as this study demonstrates, particularly in the context of the 'shadow pandemic' of violence against women during COVID-19.

The report which is based on a global survey of 901 journalists in 125 countries, a further 173 interviews and two big data case studies that analyse 2. 5 million Facebook and Twitter posts, concludes that "women journalists are both the primary targets of online violence and the first responders to it. " In addition, a journalist's race, sexual orientation and religion, exposes her to "even more frequent and vitriolic attacks".

Referring to its respondents, compared to 64% of white women journalists, 81% of women journalists identifying as Black, 86% identifying as Indigenous, and 88% of Jewish- identifying women journalists reported experiencing online violence, which the report defines as "misogynistic harassment, abuse and threats; digital privacy and security breaches that increase physical risks associated with online violence; and coordinated disinformation campaigns leveraging misogyny and other forms of hate speech".

Again from the report: "Another major issue in evidence is the role of political actors - including presidents and elected representatives, party officials and members - in instigating and fuelling online violence campaigns against women journalists. "

"Online violence against women journalists is designed to: belittle, humiliate, and shame; induce fear, silence, and retreat; discredit them professionally, undermining accountability journalism and trust in facts; and chill their active participation. . . in public debate.

Then there is a role for media employers in making sure their journalists are safe on their platforms and recognising how exposure to online or offline attacks may affect a woman's confidence.

Folajaiye Kareem, a clinical psychologist in Abuja, Nigeria, points out that feeling ostracised and fearful of further attacks, women journalists may avoid reporting on the very stories they deem important and be apprehensive about taking up leadership positions.

The ICFJ/UNESCO report presents 28 recommendations in total, including, "make social media companies more clearly accountable for combating online violence against women journalists," and "recognise and work to counter the role of officials active in facilitating and orchestrating large-scale and continuous online attacks on women journalists. "

by summa-bot

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