How Safe Are Women Journalists ?

Published: 9 December 2013

Region: Worldwide


Almost two-thirds of women journalists have been intimidated, threatened or abused in relation to their work by their male bosses, supervisors or co-workers, according to global research published by International News Safety Institute (INSI) and the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF).

Interestingly enough these incidents have occurred not in a dangerous war zone but in women’s work place.

“That’s quite a staggering figure when you think about it … In some ways I’m incredibly surprised. In some ways it’s just a sad confirmation of what we’ve known for a long time”, Hannah Storm, director of International News Safety Institute told Radio Australia.

The survey also revealed that 46.12% of the respondents * admitted that they have been sexually harassed – mostly by their co-workers- while more than 20% that they have suffered physical violence. The striking majority of perpetrators are men, including policemen and interviewees. Moreover, more than half of the women who have been sexually harassed stated that it had happened in the field and the next most likely location for the violence was in the office.

Other types of harassment that women had experienced are tapping, hacking, digital online surveillance and email or other digital online account hacking.  Almost half of the women said their work email had been affected, 39.75% their personal mobile (cell phone) was affected and finally 36.02% that their social media account had been.

Despite the high percentages of harassment, most of these incidents remain unknown as almost 3 out of 4 of the women who suffered violence did not report it to the police or to any authority.

“One of the other reasons [women don’t report it] is, where it doesn’t happen in the office, one of the other main sets of perpetrators were government officials, authorities, police,” Storm, commented.

*The women responded in the survey were aged between 18 to 75 and come from Asia and the Pacific, North America, Europe, Africa, Latin/South America and the Commonwealth of Independent States.