‘The threats follow us home’: Survey details risks for female journalists in U.S., Canada

The following is an excerpt of a 4 September 2019 CPJ blog post by Lucy Westcott/CPJ James W. Foley Fellow.

Ask any female journalist about harassment or safety while on assignment and they’ll likely have a story to tell.

When I surveyed female and gender non-conforming journalists in the U.S. and Canada earlier this year about their views and experiences, the respondents recalled unwanted sexual advances, explicit voicemails threatening rape or violence, and how threats from an angry reader exposed a newsroom’s lack of emergency planning. Respondents also spoke of the toll to mental health from dealing with such attacks.

The survey – part of my research as CPJ’s James W. Foley Fellow – aimed to highlight the main issues and inform new guidance as part of CPJ’s Emergencies Department’s safety kit of resources for journalists out in the field.

Based on the survey’s findings, CPJ has released additional safety guidance on how to better protect yourself online, including ways to remove personal information from the internet to help prevent being doxed: the public release of personal information such as phone numbers or addresses that makes it easier to identify and harass someone; information for journalists who work alone; and advice on how to protect your mental health in the event of an online attack.

Read the full blog post on CPJ’s site.

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Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) is a network of human rights journalists in Uganda working towards enhancing the promotion, protection and respect of human rights through defending and building the capacities of journalists, to effectively exercise their constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms for collective campaigning through the media.

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