OSCE Representative launches innovative compilation on safety of female journalists online

VIENNA, 5 February 2016 – “On 25 July 2013, I got my first rape threat. That was a Thursday. By Sunday, police had collected 300 A4 pages of threats that had been made against me.” – Journalist Caroline Criado-Perez, on her experience with online abuse.

The situation described above is indeed shocking but, unfortunately, far from unique. Criado-Perez, and other journalists, scholars and free speech advocates share their experiences with, research on and solutions to online abuse in a ground-breaking new publication issued today by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media.

The book, New Challenges to Freedom of Expression: Countering Online Abuse of Female Journalists (available at www.osce.org/fom/220411) reflects and expands on the recommendations issued by the Representative following an OSCE expert meeting held in Vienna in September 2015.

“The contributions in this publication written by Criado-Perez’ and other free speech advocates show the severity and the magnitude of the abuse female journalists are subjected to,” said OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović. “Online abuse of female journalists has become a clear and present threat to journalism, free media and freedom of expression.”

The publication presents research, discusses the damaging effects on journalism and free speech, outlines the international human rights framework and state obligations, and identifies key factors in the effective prevention of and response to online abuse of female journalists. It also puts the issue into a broader context of misogyny and violence against women in our societies, calling for responses at all levels of decision and policy-making to address the root causes of this problem.

“We cannot tolerate an environment in which female journalists and bloggers in particular are coerced into silence,” Mijatović said. “This compilation will serve to bring the stories of real women to the foreground of the debate of online abuse of female journalists, hopefully contributing to a debate involving many stakeholders on how this problem can be tackled.”

Contributors to the publication are: Zorana Antonijević, Caroline Criado-Perez, Aina Landsverk Hagen, Alison Bethel McKenzie, Elisa Lees Munoz, Snježana Milivojević, Courtney C. Radsch, Sejal Parmar, Elana Newman, Susan Drevo, Bradley Brummel, Gavin Rees, Bruce Shapiro and Becky Gardiner.

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media has engaged in numerous activities to raise awareness and generate solutions to end the online abuse of female journalists. More information is available at http://www.osce.org/fom/179486