Platform responsibilities for journalist digital safety

1 Dec 2022 10:45h - 11:45h

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What are the most pressing concerns facing women online, particularly in terms of abuse on online platforms? On 2 November, the International Center for Journalists (ICF) published a study regarding this issue called Chilling, in partnership with UNESCO. Since 2019, ICF has been conducting a global study that covered 15 countries and went beyond their borders, involving a survey of over 1,000 people. Over 710 of those surveyed were women journalists. It was found that 73% of them had experienced online violence in their work, while 20% of the women journalists surveyed said that the online violence they had experienced had manifested in physical ways.

Therefore, online violence has spilt offline into harassment, abuse, or attacks and the most serious concern is the trajectory of online to offline violence. In the session, it was proposed that work needs to be done on trying to stem online violence, but also on measuring and monitoring online violence while trying to predict and prevent some of these offline manifestations.

For example, In the Southern African region, female journalists from 11 countries were surveyed. Facebook and Twitter came out as key platforms where threats to female journalists were noted. It was emphasised that there has been a normalisation of online gender-based violence, particularly against female journalists. Two key issues that are happening in the region are doxxing (personal information being released online) and the use of such personal information for violence against journalists, and digital surveillance. There has been an increase in online monitoring by states and threats to female journalists and those expressing different views and opinions.

More institutional responses and policy discussions related to these issues are needed. News organisations and digital platforms need to implement risk assessment frameworks; UNESCO is working on a proposal for such a framework. There needs to be accessible data for researchers to be able to monitor and respond and recommend certain actions.

The key message of this session is that online violence is not virtual, as it does not stay online. The key stakeholders are not fully aware of this digital rights issue. It was highlighted that there is a need for transparency, not only in terms of the actions to protect journalists taken, but also those that have not been taken.

By Teodora Markovic


The session in keywords

WS326 WORDCLOUD Platform reisponsibilities IGF2022