Majority of women journalists target of online hate, abuse and violence: Report

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A new global report has shown that online violence against female journalists is a major threat to press freedom which has also led to several women journalists being murdered across the globe.

The report based on the research by the International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ) and the University of Sheffield examined the response from over 1,000 female journalists across 15 countries.

Majority of the journalists who took part in the interview said they had experienced some form of online abuse and threats during their journalistic career. The research showed that globally, nearly three-quarters of women in the profession had received online hate and violence.   

25 per cent of the respondents said they had received threats of physical violence which escalated to death threats. 18 per cent received sexual violence threats while 48 per cent said they were harassed by unwanted people sliding in their private social media messages. 

The report called out the “victim-blaming and slut-shaming that perpetuates sexist and misogynistic responses to offline violence against women in the online environment, where patriarchal norms are being aggressively reinforced.”

“Our report has found that we are now at a crisis point in the level of violence being directed towards women journalists,” said Prof Kalina Bontcheva, a senior researcher associated with the study. 

As reported by WION, earlier this month, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stressed that a “free press” is vital for democracy, exposing wrongdoing and advancing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

“Yet, more than 70 journalists have been killed this year simply for fulfilling this role in society. Most of these crimes go unsolved. unkindwhile, a record number of journalists are incarcerated today, while threats of imprisonment, violence and death keep growing,” the UN chief said in a message.

The report aims to ring the warning bell that women journalists are targetted much more frequently and viciously on online platforms. It requests the big tech giants to alter their algorithms so as to make their platforms a safe space for female journalists. 

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