UNESCO has just announced a research journalist and Philippines, Maria Ressa, as the winner of the Guillermo Cano Prize for Press Freedom, which respects human rights activists, especially those who are at risk for doing so. Ressa risks her safety every day, because she searches for facts and has the power to count. He is often threatened anonymously on the internet – in 2016 he received 90 hate messages online in one hour – most of them coming from misogyny and racism.
But Maria Ressa is not alone. Women everywhere are being harassed online for wanting to do journalism as women. Back in 2014, 23% of women journalists who responded to a UNESCO study said they were threatened, intimidated and ridiculed online for their work. By December 2020, this number had risen to 73%.
Women journalists from more than 120 countries, throughout the UNESCO region, have now spoken in a new UNESCO study conducted by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), explaining how they have been informed online. He works for the BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, and other media outlets in the country.
The study reveals dangerous incidents: Female journalists are threatened with beatings, rape, theft, and waiting – to publish their addresses on television. Others have been publicly accused of using sex to protect their cause. Their newsletters and their roommates are full of lies, distractions, and pornography on their faces. In some cases, women and their children have been threatened, or sent away. Not surprisingly, a quarter of women told the researchers to seek psychological help; others had suffered from PTSD.
More and more, cyberbullying leads to violence, harassment and cyberbullying: some women who were interviewed and harassed via e-mail or social networking sites are also being harassed, or beaten. This was the case for half of the Arab women journalists interviewed. Malta’s last reporter Daphne Caruana Galizia threatened to set her on fire as a witch, before killing her with a car bomb.
I can’t stress enough that cyberbullying was aimed at banning women journalists and preventing them from reporting contradictory, effective stories. After the abuse, 30% of the women interviewed said they had tested themselves on television and 38% were identified. Some women take turns telling nonchalant stories, others leave the press or move on.
I was apprehensive when young student journalists in a recent contest I said were considering dropping out of school because of the shocking news they heard about the harassment of women journalists. Even at a young age, women know that their husbands or wives will be used against those who want to stop them from seeking and spreading the truth.
Online violence is taking a destructive ball to freedom of speech. It undermines management journalism and reliance on facts. I’m also resizing the time for different travel on the broadcast. When more female journalists are monitored, the report finds that black, Jewish, lesbian, and bisexual women are more likely to be abused. Journalists play a major role in defining and representing all aspects of the conflict. If we lose the voice of these journalists, then public debates end.
The chronic problem of misogyny will not be solved suddenly. But we need the TV industry to play a leading role and ensure that they reach their full potential in tackling the spread of hate and cyberbullying. For example, according to a study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, lies spread six times faster than real stories.
In addition, the TV industry needs to be more transparent in its response to harassment reports and requests for removal. Many of the journalists interviewed by the researchers were forced to watch what they published on TV, and then I went to a difficult exchange with platforms that had the opportunity to remove any comments of violence.
The UN Framework Convention on the Protection of Journalism and the Issue of Impunity provides us with a framework for changing policy principles to prevent, prevent and prosecute these crimes. Clear measures should be put in place and tools to protect women journalists should be developed, including access to legal and health support. Judges should also be trained to apply international human rights standards in doing so.
Journalists interviewed for the report are well aware that the increase means they could be at risk of secondary cyberbullying, yet 98% of them still chose to be named rather than identified. They did this because they wanted to help uncover these secrets, but to magnify the global problem.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editor of Al Jazeera.