As the world marks World Press Freedom Day, a new report shows that an increasing number of female journalist have been subjected to online violence.
A new survey by Unesco and the International Center for Journalists that contacted over 900 female journalists from 125 countries and found that nearly three-quarters of them had gone through online abuse.
“Online attacks on women journalists appear to be increasing significantly, as this study demonstrates, particularly in the context of the ‘shadow pandemic’ of violence against women during Covid-19,” the report says.
Almost a third of the women surveyed said their mental health had been affected following threats, and some reported experiencing post-traumatic stress disorders.
A third of female reporters also said that they had decided to censor themselves after those attacks.
Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and journalists play a critical role in making the public aware of what’s happening around the world.
Every year, May 3 is observed as the World Press Freedom Day. According to Unesco, the day is usually dedicated to the exercise of freedom of the press.
This day is also a moment of reflection within the media industry on issues of press freedom and professional ethics, an occasion of showing solidarity with journalists, photo-journalists, and all associated with the media, who brave the toughest situations to disseminate information and bring news home.
In many countries, media persons are at a great risk while performing their professional duties.
The Director-General of Unesco, Audrey Azulay, said, “the theme of this year’s World Press Freedom Day, ‘Information as a Public Good,’ underlines the indisputable importance of verified and reliable information. It calls attention to the essential role of free and professional journalists in producing and disseminating this information, by tackling misinformation and other harmful content.”
Wishing the media fraternity well on this day, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged all the governments to do everything in their power to support a free, independent, and diverse media saying that in too many countries journalists and media workers face censorship, abuse, harassment, detention, and even death, simply for doing their jobs.
On World Press Freedom Day, let us also remember those journalists who lost their lives in the pursuit of a story.