Gender-based violence continues to affect us negatively and urgent action needs to be taken. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5 seeks to achieve gender equality, but the progress on the ground is minimal. In journalism, female* media workers are the most likely targets of online harassment that is exerted to silence their voices, enforce self-censorship, challenge gender equality and denigrate women. Misogyny and queer-phobia are rampant in social media networks: threats of rape, physical violence.
Besides causing trauma, fear, anxiety and mental issues to the women experiencing them, these kinds of harassment have a chilling effect on press freedom and freedom of expression: in extreme cases, these attacks lead women journalists to self-censorship and silence their voices.
Under the umbrella of the newly launched Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) mechanism, ECPMF’s Women’s Reporting Point aims to deepen a gender-specific aspect of the safety of journalists and encourages female media workers to report it if they are subjected to harassment or they witness it in their journalistic work. Reports received are given priority, treated confidentially and are only handled by women staff.
*ECPMF strives for a Europe that is free from any gender-related discrimination. All people who identify as female/woman or non-binary are addressed in this article and in the ECPMF’s Women’s Reporting Point and support programmes.