UNESCO Member States, led by the Permanent Delegations of Slovakia and Austria, convened as the Group of Friends for the Safety of Journalists to discuss strategies for combating online violence against women journalists. The meeting focused on implementing recommendations from “The Chilling” report and a recent stocktaking exercise covering a decade of progress in implementing the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists.
During the discussion, Reem Alsalem, the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur for Violence Against Women and Girls, highlighted the alarming rise in the killings of women journalists worldwide. Online violence, often a precursor to physical attacks, was emphasized as a form of violence in itself.
Proposed solutions from media and digital platforms were discussed, with Priyanka Bhalla from Meta presenting the company’s approach, including policies addressing harassment and adult sexual exploitation. Rita Rudusa, a veteran journalist, underscored the responsibility of media companies in supporting journalists and the necessity for robust enforcement of laws to protect journalists.
Panelists emphasized the crucial role of Member States in addressing online violence against journalists, advocating for the establishment of relevant national mechanisms.
Mariane Pearl, a journalist and safety advocate, highlighted the reluctance of women journalists to report online violence. With the upcoming ‘super-elections’ year in 2024, where over 80 countries are set to hold elections, concerns were raised about the potential upsurge in violence against journalists during this period.
Repurpose article originally published on UNESCO.org