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Right To Be and HeartMob: Supporting Women Journalists Experiencing online Abuse.

 

Right To Be (formerly Hollaback!) has partnered with the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) and the Coalition Against Online Violence to re-design and expand its HeartMob anti-online harassment platform to support women and gender-expansive journalists experiencing online threats.

 

Women journalists face online violence simply for doing their job and are disproportionately targeted compared to their male peers. According to a 2019 survey conducted by the Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ, 90 % of female reporters in the USA and 70 % of reporters in Canada say that online harassment is the most dangerous threat to women in the profession. Online abuse threatens freedom of expression and silences women’s voices. This affects the quality of public discourse and results in some perspectives not being covered. It also has deep repercussions on those who experience it.  In a 2018 study by the International Federation of Journalists, 63% of women who experienced online abuse said these attacks had had psychological effects such as anxiety, fear, or stress.

 

Our partnership with IWMF aims to empower women journalists through a peer-to-peer support system and a useful set of tools and resources that could be crucial when experiencing attacks.  After speaking directly to journalists to understand more about their needs, we learned that women journalists would like to connect with other fellow journalists who understand their situations and have access to “action plans” to determine next steps in their cases.

 

We have adapted Heartmob to meet those needs. Watch our PSA, produced by Mel City Entertainment, designed to raise awareness of the threats that many women journalists face on a daily basis and how they can now get support on Heartmob.

 

 

Journalists can now create a special “journalist account,” as well as tag their stories as journalist stories, allowing for more specific and attentive support.  They can also access the Coalition Against Online Violence’s Online Violence Resources Hub, a project of the IWMF with ICFJ. The Hub offers the latest information on online abuse and easy-to-follow recommendations for specific online violence situations.

 

The partnership between Right To Be and IWMF to develop these tools has been made possible by the generous support of Craig Newmark Philanthropies.

 

Share with your friends on social media

 

We would be very grateful if you could spread the word via email and on social media. Here are some graphics and suggested captions you can use:

 

Click to tweet: Journalists tell stories that must be heard. They unfairly get harassed for it: so @iwmf & @righttobeorg are #HereForJournalists with 2 complementary tools to support. Visit iheartmob.org for community, & onlineviolenceresponsehub.org for resources.

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