NUJ backs call for an end to the cycle of abuse against women journalists

  • 08 Mar 2024

On International Women's Day, the union is supporting calls to national police leads urging necessary action to address the harmful online violence women journalists face as part of their work.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, has joined journalists and media organisations urging measures by national police leads on the Committee for the Safety of Journalists to improve the recording and handling of crimes against women journalists.

The letter states:

We come together to ask you - as police representatives charged with working on the safety of journalists - to work with us for change. We have four simple asks which could make a world of difference to our industry both now and in the future: The four asks are: 

  • Improve the recording of crimes against journalists. Accurate reporting – including clearly recording when attacks are related to a journalist’s work – is essential if we are to understand the scale of the problem, formulate effective responses and hold social media platforms to account.
  • Provide national-level guidance for police on online violence against journalists, and training on the gendered nature of online violence, the connections between online and physical violence, and best practice in dealing with such crimes.
  • Report back to government. As police representatives on the National Committee for the Safety of Journalists, we call on you to regularly report back figures of crimes against journalists to the Committee.
  • Improve dialogue between police and industry. Police forces should establish direct and effective channels of communication with journalists and representative bodies to ensure attacks can be quickly reported and effectively dealt with and perpetrators held to account.

The NUJ continues to campaign to improve the safety of women journalists. Members shared their experiences of abuse in our safety film, highlighting key concerns the union is working with government and stakeholders to tackle. 

Read the full letter sent by Women in Journalism, Reporters Without Borders and Reach plc and see the full list of signatories. 

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