This report provides a clear examination into the professional dangers of being a female journalist in the news media today. Against a global backdrop that has changed significantly in the past five years both politically and digitally, this report provides an update to the 2014 report “Violence and Harassment Against Women in the News Media: A Global Picture” published by the International Women’s Media Foundation and the International News Safety Institute. This new report describes how different actors are using physical and social media strategies against women journalists and media workers to intimidate, sow disinformation, discredit the journalist and the news media, and create significant professional harm. This hostile environment is a direct attack on freedom of expression worldwide with the intent to silence women’s voices and the stories they tell.
Survey respondents stated that online attacks have become more visible and coordinated in the past five years, particularly with a rise of nationalism around the world and the use of digital networks to thwart political processes. Extremists, online manipulators and antagonists use online channels and the media itself to amplify their messages. Whether government-sponsored attacks in the Ukraine, so-called alt-right extremists in the United States, or the use of bots and fake accounts, online attacks against journalists have become more sophisticated in nature, more insidious in their damage to the news enterprise and more dangerous for journalists, both online and off.