Today, on World Press Freedom Day 2022, the undersigned foreign ministers for country members of the Global Partnership for Action on Gender-Based Online Harassment and Abuse call attention to the pressing need for enhanced safety of women journalists and media workers.
Women in journalism are disproportionately impacted by threats and attacks, which are more often gendered and sexualized than threats against their male counterparts and increasingly take place online. Many women journalists face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and sexual and gender-based violence, including on the basis of other characteristics, including race, religion, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The latest study from 2020 (UNESCO) shows that almost 75 percent of women journalists worldwide have experienced online violence.
Social media is a critical avenue for journalists and media organizations to engage their audiences, but it is also a vector of online harms.
Furthermore, the escalation of technology-facilitated gender-based violence is of urgent concern and forms a serious threat to an inclusive and diverse media landscape. It is a risk to media pluralism and democracy. Online threats to women journalists and media workers can lead to self-censorship and disengagement from the digital public square, undermining their ability to exercise their human rights and enjoy freedom of expression, compounding the forms of violence they face offline. All people – including women – should be able to speak out without fear of harassment, discrimination, or violence. There is also in many places a culture of impunity surrounding online attacks on women journalists and media workers, which perpetuates the cycle of gender-based violence.
Today, we call upon all states, media companies, workplaces, technology platforms and civil society groups to speak out against technology-facilitated gender-based violence, to prevent and address all forms of violence against women journalists and media workers, both online and offline, and defend their ability to practice journalism freely and safely.