Nearly 1 in 3 women have been abused. In journalism, almost 1 in 2 women have suffered sexual harassment, psychological abuse, online trolling and others forms of gender-based violence (GBV) while working.
These acts of violence are not only aimed at intimidating and silencing women in the media, but their chilling effects contribute to killing stories and depriving the public of information thereby undermining pluralism and the right to access information.
To mark the International Day for the Elimination of violence against women on 25 November, the IFJ, its Gender Council and its affiliates across the world will focus on violence online as part of the IFJ's ongoing campaign #YouAreNotAlone.
Online abuse of women journalists on social media and websites targets women from all political, religious and ethnic backgrounds. One of the main aspects of these attacks is that they are gendered and sexualized. And yet, they are too often considered as "part of the job".
Few female journalists report the attacks and, if they are reported, very little action is taken. An IFJ survey conducted in 2018 showed that only half of the victims of online abuse (53%) reported the attacks to their media management, union or the police, and in two-thirds of the cases which were reported nothing was done.
We need to talk.
It is time for the media and unions to denounce all acts of online abuse publicly.
It is urgent for legislators to make online abuse a health and safety issue. This can be done by governments implementing ILO Convention C190 on harassment and violence in the world of work urgently.
Media employers have a duty to ensure a safe workplace and provide a solid mechanism for women to come forward and be protected when subject to online abuse.
No woman journalists should be facing online abuse. And none should be facing it alone.
This year the IFJ will:
- Organise a conference together with its Gender Council on 22 November - Women in the unions: Building power, fighting for safety.
- Share interviews with journalists highlighting what unions can do to fight online abuse.
- Join the Global Unions Federations, the UN and UN Women for 16 days of activism starting on 25 November.