The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) in conjunction with the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) have launched a special Women’s Reporting Point to address the growing threats facing women journalists in the online and offline world in commemoration of the International Women’s Day celebrated annually on March 8.
The initiative was launched in response to the growing evidence showing that more and more women journalists encountered gender-based violence and online threats as well as with the foreknowledge of research results showing that victims are often reluctant to report on the attacks, especially online threats.
The new platform which is also supported by the EFJ affiliate in Italy, FNSI, is hosted by the ECPMF to allow victims report threats through the use of encrypted messages. Reports will be handled with care and confidentiality by a female member of staff. The details of the woman’s identity will be protected while other information in the report made to the ECPMF will be collected in a database. This database will form the basis of an analysis of the scale of the problem across Europe
The results of a global survey done by the International News Safety Institute shows that less than one-third of the attacks, harassment and online threats made against female journalists were reported to employers, police or the authorities. Almost two-thirds (64.8%/597) of 921 respondents said that they “have experienced intimidation, threats or abuse in relation to their work”. Mogens Blicher Bjerregård, the EFJ President said, “We must support our female colleagues, defend them and make their voices heard. Harassment and abuses targeting at female journalists shall not be tolerated.”
In a recent conference organized by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, and attended by the EFJ and other international experts, it has shown that women journalists are facing growing threat online. “Constantly being singled out and targeted with abusive comments, many female journalists may re-evaluate the issues they choose to cover. In this way, such attacks pose a clear and present threat to free media and the society as a whole.” To read the series of recommendations on countering online abuse of female journalists produced by the OSCE, visit here.