Defending women journalists
Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
Participants of the recent 62 nd United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the UN headquarters in New York highlighted that there has been a “marked increase” in cyber harassment over the past 15 years, making the safety of women journalists a major issue for reportage in the digital era.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development report focuses on gender equality in the media, providing an essential perspective to understanding the changing global media landscape.
The report said the number of states responding to UNESCO’s request for more information on the judicial follow-up of murder of journalists increased from 30 percent to 75 percent. This shows progress that governments are becoming increasingly more sensitized. However, according to Guy Berger, UNESCO director of freedom of expression and media development, “Unfortunately, you still have only one out of 10 cases of killings of journalists being resolved.”
The sharp increase on the attacks on women journalists gives the UN more reason to worry for their safety and welfare. The panel discussion titled “Safe Journalists, Strong Democracies: How On and Offline Attacks on Women Journalists Are Hurting Us” focused on the many ways women journalists are placed in vulnerable settings in the workplace, on the field and even online.
If protecting women journalists from attacks is the goal, humanity, through the United Nations, will need the cooperation of the leaders of countries where attacks are on the rise in terms of frequency and viciousness.
This will prove to be a daunting challenge in countries where the leaders themselves are suspected to be either behind the attacks or condone the attacks by doing absolutely nothing to protect the journalists who happen to be women that ask difficult questions while doing their job.*