Vienna Session: Online Safety of Women Journalists

Developing solutions to fight gender-based threats against female journalists was the main goal of a session organised by UNESCO, the Bosch Alumni Network and the GDL. GDL member Julia Jaroschewski and GDL Blog editor Mareike Enghusen, both freelance journalists and experienced moderators, facilitated the session. Their session was built on the motivation to tackle challenges such as a masculine culture in newsrooms or the lack of knowledge among the police, media executives and policymakers about online violence against women.

Screenshot GDL Blog

Screenshot GDL Blog

The event on ‘Online Safety of Women Journalists’ took place within the framework of the OSCE conference ‘Increasing Opportunities for Freedom of Expression and Media Pluralism’. The results of the event will directly influence a new UNESCO initiative addressing the harassment women journalists have to deal with in their daily work.

27 participants with different areas of expertise were brought together by the workshop to find solutions concerning the safety of women journalists online. The methodology consisted of two phases, each characterised by short brainstorming intervals. While the first phase served as a basis to work out potential research questions, the second section was used to develop ideas, ready to be incorporated into the UNESCO study. This unconventional and open format contributed to the positive outcome of the session.

The participants, including journalists, diplomats and advocates, were concerned with many difficult challenges, among them the lack of accountability of social media platforms and the transnational nature of the issue vs national legal frameworks. They were then asked to brainstorm potential mechanisms and ingenious ways to tackle existing obstacles. In a short time the participants came up with promising recommendations and possible solutions to counter this issue, for example the creation of mechanisms to simplify the reporting of online harassment or the provision of physical protection in extreme cases.

 

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