IFJ guidelines for media and unions to combat online harassment of women journalists
Online trolling is a health and safety issue and must be considered as such by the media industry.
The online trolling of women journalists on social media and via websites targets women from all political, religious and ethnic backgrounds. One of the main aspects of these attacks is that they are gendered and sexualized. Online harassment often leads to fear and self-censorship, as well as female journalists temporarily or permanently quitting social media . It is unacceptable and should not be tolerated, either by media or by unions.
One of the difficulties women face is that they do not get the level of support from colleagues and newsroom managers that they should. Few report the attacks and, if they are reported, very little action is taken. An IFJ survey, conducted in 2018, showed that only half the victims of online abuse (53%) reported the attacks to their media’s management, their union or the police, and, in two-thirds of cases, nothing was done.