Convention 190 was adopted by the International Labor Organization (ILO) on 10th June 2019 and is now in the process of ratification by Member States. The IFJ and other Global Unions Federations have been battling for several years in support of a convention that would outlaw gender-based violence at work.
According to IFJ statistics, 65% of women journalists have experienced violence at work, either in newsrooms, in relation to their sources, at home, on the way home or online. It can take the form of physical attacks, unwanted touching, sexual comments, online abuse, threats and intimidations in all their forms.
The IFJ has reiterated that violence and harassment have devastating implications for the targeted journalist as her well-being, her work, her private life and , by extension, press freedom are affected.
The new Convention protects all media workers irrespective of their status. It makes violence and harassment a health and safety issue, forcing media employers to include violence and harassment when managing occupational health and safety issues.
It covers gender-based violence including sexual harassment, bullying, stalking as well as as online abuse. Convention 190 also covers domestic violence because it can have a serious impact on one's mental health and performance at work.
IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: " The level of violence facing women journalists is unacceptable and is often gender-based. Once a state ratifies the Convention, it becomes legally binding and we expect women journalists to receive stronger support from their employer when they become a target of harassment and violence. We urge our affiliates to campaign nationally for a ratification of this desperately -needed convention ".
IFJ gender council chair Maria Angeles Samperio said: "Gender-based violence is a rampant phenomenon in journalism and has led many women to self-censor. It is time for governments to be responsible and make a change. And it is time for media employers to ban harassment and violence from their work places, including online. "
Unions can already take action to make a change by informing their members about the Convention, including language on ending violence and harassment at work in collective bargaining agreements and working with the media to develop sound policies on health and safety that include violence and harassment and more specifically gender-based violence.