The organisation is marking International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women with 16 days of action against gender-based violence
Promoting their work to raise awareness of the continued violence, threats and harassment that female journalists and media workers face around the world, Women in Journalism has shared UNESCO’s publication of 11 journalists’ personal experiences of gender-based violence.
Explaining the importance of the initiative, Women in Journalism’s report says: “[Female media workers’] safety is put at risk by offline and online attacks, ranging from violence, stigmatization, sexist hate speech, trolling, physical assault, rape to even murder. In addition to being attacked on the basis of their work as journalists, they are the targets of gender-based violence.
“These attacks seek to silence the voices of women journalists and threaten freedom of speech by interrupting valuable investigative work. They distort the media landscape by threatening diversity and perpetuating inequalities both in newsrooms and in societies.”
Women in Journalism also held a virtual panel event on Thursday, with a panel discussing how domestic abuse and homicide can be reported on sensitively and effectively, hosted by Mirror editor and Women in Journalism chair Alison Phillips.
The panellists covered a range of issues, including how journalists can be encouraged to be more aware of how narratives around gender, race and relationships shape both how we approach victims’ stories and how society can better deal with the issue as a whole. There were also calls to make sure journalists put cases in the wider context of gender-based violence rather than simply treating stories as isolated cases or focussing on personal details.
Donna Covey, director of the organisation Against Violence & Abuse (AVA), spoke about how the media influences the conversation about domestic abuse. “We know from listening to survivors… how much media coverage of domestic abuse more broadly has an impact on them personally, not just on how they feel but also about how likely they are to seek help and how likely they are to report the violence.”
Covey also mentioned a new project from AVA and Level Up, training journalists to report sensitively on domestic abuse and homicide, as well as to support survivors to produce content as citizen journalists. The project will launch in the New Year.
Find out more about what was discussed at Women in Journalism’s panel event in their full write-up here.