The virtual world mirrors the ‘real’ world, where women journalists are harassed, excluded and subjected to abuse for their work. Online abuse – a form of gender discrimination and violence against women – must be prevented to enable women to confidently express themselves in the digital space without nasty repercussions.
On International Women’s Day, March 8, 2017, the South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) and IFJ, representing unions and press freedom organisations, call for strong action to stop cyber-bullying and online harassment of women journalists.
Journalists of all genders; their unions; media houses; moderators of social media platforms; the public and governments must take firm steps towards ensuring women’s rightful place in the digital world, without harassment, abuse and cyber-violence. Only then can a diversity of information, analysis and opinion co-exist contribute to building healthy and vibrant democracies in South Asia.
Join the IFJ ByteBack Campaign!
What is online harassment? [PDF]
- See the IFJ-SAMSN guide on what to do if you are harassed online [PDF]
- Download campaign resources and graphics here
- Spread campaign messages with hashtags #DontTroll and/or #DefendMyVoiceOnline and mention @ifjasiapacific for our retweet
- Resources to raise awareness with solid evidence and data:
- Here is what our IFJ affiliates and their members have to say about the fight against online harassment of women in the media [VIDEOS]
- Join our mail list here
SAMSN Blogs on Online Harassment
- Trolling is stoppable, by Laxmi Murthy
Understanding trolling behaviour holds to clue to stopping it.
- I tweet but am very selective and very careful, by Zofeen Ibrahim
Zofeen Ebrahim, Karachi-based freelance journalist, says that hate speech
and online misogyny need to be moderated.
- ‘Sexually Explicit Abuses Land in my Inbox’, by Neha Dixit
An award-winning journalist describes how she is relentlessly trolled and harassed.
- Trolls Target India’s Media Women, by Sujata Madhok
General Secretary of the Delhi Union of Journalists analyses the move by the Ministry of Women and Child Development to curb online harassment.
- The Silent Crime, by Dilrukshi Handunnetti
A Sri Lankan journalist describes how sexual harassment and online gender-based violence hinder progress in Sri Lanka.
Social media resources to share
Download more social media sharing graphics here.
From the Media
- Unless online giants stop the abuse of free speech, democracy and innovation is threatened The German government proposed fining Facebook and Twitter up to $53 million for failing to remove abuse, slander, fake news and hate speech within 24 hours once again threw into sharp relief the differences between Europe and the U.S. in attitudes to online content. If followed through, such a law would make it the most draconian clampdown by a European country on an online network.
- This Journalist Is Going Through Hell For Exposing Illegal Beach Sand Mining In Tamil Nadu The Network of Women in Media, India released a statement.
- Internet is helping feminist movementsOnline activism has been effective in calling out sexism and misogyny, says Geeta Seshu.
- Good intentions aren't enough. Maneka Gandhi’s battle against online abuse is a political battleA month after the minister announced that a special cyber cell will deal with the abuse of women by bullies on social media, it’s business as usual for trolls.
- Amy Kazmin, South Asia bureau chief of the Financial Times reviews 'I Am a Troll' by Swati ChaturvediCyber bullies and how social media is used to attack political opponents.
- What Online Harassers Really Want. Q&A with Nighat DadWhat they really want isn’t freedom of speech for all, but freedom for their speech, and no one else’s.
- The threats and abuse outspoken Pakistani women receive The renewed debate over women's right to speak out online, in the wake of the "honour killing" of Pakistani social media celebrity Qandeel Baloch.
See the IFJ Byte Back Campaign happening across the Asia-Pacific here
- The Report of the Best Practices Forum on Online Abuse and Gender-Based Violence Against Women and Girls The report by Internet Governance Forum 2015 found that online abuse and gender-based violence have to be studied keeping in mind offline/physical environments, and potential repercussions in offline/physical environments. The Report suggests that relief and redress to victims of online abuse must be prioritised over criminalisation.
- Challenging Patriarchy through the lens of Privacy This special briefing by the Privacy International for International Women's Day, 2017 explores concerns related to online privacy, surveillance, women's rights and gender.
- Misogyny on Twitter A study by Jamie Bartlett et al (Demos, 2014) analyses tweets using the word 'rape', and misogynist words like 'slut', whore' to understand what drives the traffic and who is using these words. The conclusions are surprising.
- New Challenges to Freedom of Expression: Countering Online Abuse of Female Journalists, OSCE, 2016
- Don’t Let it Stand: An Exploratory Study of Women and Verbal Online Abuse in India by Anja Kovacs, Richa Kaul Padte and Shobha SV, Internet Democracy Project, 2013
- ‘“Violence” Online In India: Cybercrimes Against Women & Minorities on Social Media’ by Japleen Pasricha. (Feminism in India and Freedom House), 2016
- Violence and Harassment Against Women in the News Media, IWMF (2013)