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Consultations on UN Plan of Action: Urgent need to address gendered violence against journalists

Consultations on UN Plan of Action: Urgent need to address gendered violence against journalists

A broad group of stakeholders committed to the implementation of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity has specifically stressed the need to adopt an intersectional perspective, looking at how different aspects of identity, including gender, affect the safety and protection of journalists.

This was one of the main conclusions of consultations held in Bangkok, Thailand on 3 October, organized by UNESCO and the Association for Progressive Communications (APC)

The participants, comprising journalists, union representatives, researchers, civil society organizations and representatives of Member States, acknowledged that while the UN Plan calls for a gender-sensitive approach in the safety of journalists, societal understanding and knowledge about the different ways that gender impacts journalists’ safety has evolved in the past ten years. This highlights the need for a renewed and amplified commitment to combat gender-based violence.

This meeting was the final consultation in a series of multistakeholder events organized by UNESCO, including five regional consultations and three thematic consultations. The results of the consultations will inform the conference “Safety of Journalists: Protecting media to protect democracy”, to be hosted by the government of Austria on 3-4 November in Vienna to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.

The event was opened jointly by UNESCO and APC and included a contribution by the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Irene Khan, who highlighted the threat to freedom of expression posed by gendered violence.

Participants of the event

The consultation participants formulated concrete recommendations based upon a mapping exercise looking at the impact and potential responses in the three thematic areas: “Online gender-based violence against journalists”, “Violence during coverages” and “Harassment in the workplace”.

Selected recommendations include:

  • Referring to gender-based violence in journalism instead of violence against women journalists, as a step to ensure that diversity and intersectionality are better taken into consideration.
  • Incentivizing actions aimed at strengthening capacity for implementation of measures that could promote the safety of women journalists. These could include:
    • Trainings offered to women journalists on holistic security;
    • More transparency and communication / dissemination by tech companies in relation to the tools they have developed to improve women’s ability to protect themselves on their respective internet platforms;
    • Training for law enforcement and judicial actors on how to investigate and process complaints relating to online gender-based violence.
  • The UN and its Member States should promote and support the creation of gender-responsive newsroom policies, including through the promotion of ratification of the 190 ILO Convention.

Register here for the conference “Safety of Journalists: Protecting media to protect democracy” 3-4 November in Vienna, Austria.