Giving Compass' Take:
- Guilherme Canela explains the threats of violence and doxxing facing women journalists online and why governments need to take urgent action to protect women journalists.
- Why are Black, Jewish, lesbian, and bisexual women disproportionately attacked online? How can we hold social media companies accountable for the spread of hate and disinformation online?
- Read more about addressing the online harassment of women journalists.
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UNESCO has just announced the Philippine investigative journalist and media executive, Maria Ressa, as the winner of the Guillermo Cano Prize for Press Freedom, which honors champions of media freedom, particularly those who have faced danger in order to do this. Ressa risks her own personal safety every day, as she pursues the facts and holds the powerful to account. She is often the target of anonymous online attacks – in 2016 she received 90 online hate messages an hour – many of which are rooted in misogyny and racism.
But Maria Ressa is by no means alone. Women everywhere are being attacked online for daring to practice journalism while female. Back in 2014, 23 percent of the women journalists who responded to a UNESCO survey said they had been threatened, intimidated, and insulted online in connection with their work. By December 2020, this number had leapt to 73 percent.
Women journalists from more than 120 countries, across all UNESCO regions of the world, have now spoken out in a new study commissioned by UNESCO and carried out by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), describing how they were attacked online. They work for the BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, and other national and local media outlets.
The study reveals alarming trends: female journalists are threatened with physical violence, rape, kidnapping, and doxxing – the publication of their addresses on social media. Some are publicly accused of using sex to secure stories. Their inboxes and those of their newsroom colleagues are spammed with lies, disinformation, and pornographic images with their faces photoshopped in.
Read the full article about the threats facing women journalists online by Guilherme Canela at Al Jazeera.