On 17 March 2021, we co-hosted a side event at the 65th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women titled “Tackling Online Harassment and Abuse Against Women Journalists”. We co-hosted the event with OSCE, UNESCO, and the Permanent Missions of Austria, Botswana, Canada, Costa Rica, and the United Kingdom to the United Nations in New York.
Across the globe, women journalists are at a heightened risk of violence as a result of their journalistic activities, and for being women in patriarchal societies. While digital technologies have created new opportunities for women journalists to conduct their vital work, the same technologies have also reproduced and amplified patterns of abuse and harassment that women have long faced offline. With the UN repeatedly reaffirming that ‘the same human rights that people have offline must be protected online’, it is paramount that States enhance their policies to better safeguard women journalists’ right to freedom of expression in the digital sphere.
At our side event, we discussed:
• What are emerging or otherwise overlooked forms of online harassment and abuse that disproportionally or differently affect women journalists compared to their male counterparts?
• How should States appropriately and effectively investigate instances of online harassment and abuse faced by women journalists? What are the key principles and standards to consider in such investigations?
• What measures are States currently taking to tackle online gender-based harassment and abuse in a way which fully protects the right to freedom of expression? Are these measures sufficient? What other measures should States adopt?
• What are the gaps in existing international standards on the human rights of women journalists, including in regular safety of journalists resolutions?
Watch the recording of the event below!
• H.E. Robert Oliphant, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Canada
• Irene Khan, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression
• Teresa Ribeiro, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media
• Guilherme Canela, Chief of Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists, UNESCO
• Paulina Gutiérrez, Senior Legal Officer, ARTICLE 19
• Bianca Santana, Journalist and PhD in Information Science
• Hiba Morgan, Journalist, Al Jazeera
This event is part of the project “Equally Safe: Towards a Feminist Approach to the Safety of Journalists”, funded by Global Affairs Canada
What to find out more? ARTICLE 19 has published comprehensive briefing papers which set out our recommended approaches to tackling online abuse and harassment against women journalists.