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Group issues safety resources for female, gender-nonconforming journalists

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New York — In response to growing safety concerns among female and gender-nonconforming journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists has published a collection of resources to help combat work-related physical threats, online harassment and other dangers.

Included in the collection is a survey of 115 female and gender-nonconforming journalists from the United States and Canada that was conducted over a five-week period in 2019. Among the respondents, 84.2% said journalists are less safe than they were five years ago, and 70.4% have personally experienced safety issues or threats. The biggest concern noted was online harassment.

The most common source of threats, according to the respondents, were members of the public (60.7%) and sources/interview subjects (39.3%). Internet trolls (55.5%) accounted for the majority of online threats. Journalists covering a variety of beats have experienced threats, but the most severe and sustained were among professionals who write about local or national politics or extremism.

 

Despite the variety of threats they face, only 43.9% of the respondents said they had received safety or security training.

“We intend for these tools to help women working in journalism to better think about risk and mitigation, and to be a means to combat challenges and feel safer,” CPJ Emergencies Director Maria Salazar Ferro said in a Sept. 4 press release. “CPJ’s research confirms that female and non-binary journalists face unique threats, and that these need to be taken seriously by editors and newsrooms.”

Among the resources, CPJ offers guidance on:

  • Removing personal information from the internet to lessen the chances of having it publicized as a form of punishment or revenge
  • Mitigating threats of sexual violence
  • Learning how to safely work alone
  • Getting advice on psychosocial safety

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