HRC’s annual debate on gender-based barriers to freedom of expression: online aspects

The Human Rights Council held its annual debate on the incorporation of a gender perspective, with a focus on overcoming gender-based barriers to freedom of opinion and expression.

Gender-based online violence against journalists, according to Julie Posetti of the International Centre for Journalists, is one of the most serious contemporary threats to press freedom and the safety of women journalists worldwide. Individual political actors and parties have been identified as perpetrators, instigators, and amplifiers of online violence against female journalists in many countries.

Irene Khan, Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression said that states must not use efforts to eradicate online violence, gendered hate speech, and disinformation as an excuse to limit free expression.

During the discussion that followed, speakers stated that online discrimination plays a role in censoring and silencing the voices of women and girls.