Submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression Irene Khan to inform her thematic report on gender justice
Across Europe, online and offline verbal abuse, threats and harassment disproportionately affect women journalists and media workers. Many of these are part of a growing trend of anti-media rhetoric, online and offline, resulting in targeted harassment, threats and smear campaigns directed at journalists and media workers of all genders. Targeting women journalists and media workers, such harassment and threats target women, they can take on an outspoken misogynistic character.
This submission by The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Free Press Unlimited (FPU) and OBC Transeuropa (OBCT), as part of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), considers barriers, challenges and threats that women journalists and media workers face in the exercise of their profession based on our monitoring.
Since the start of the MFRR project in March 2020 a total of 1504 attacked persons or entities have been monitored. In 21.8% of cases, women were involved as attacked persons. Taking a more detailed look shows that there are specific threats that women journalists are more subjected to than their male colleagues.
In 66% of cases, women journalists and media workers were subjected to verbal attacks and psychological abuse, which is significantly higher (factor = 1.41) than for their male colleagues. This includes online and offline intimidation and threatening, insult and abuse, harassment, and bullying and trolling behaviour. Findings show that attacks against women are most likely to occur online or in the digital sphere. Further analysis showed that women journalists and media workers are significantly more likely to face attacks from unknown assailants and less from police or state security actors compared to male collegues.
For more detailed data analysis and cases, please have a look at the full submission.