The 2022 Media4Women campaign focuses on safety for women journalists

Media4Women: safety for women journalists

On March 1st every year, Free Press Unlimited and partners launch the Media4Women (M4W) campaign. The two-week global campaign highlights the importance of gender equality in and through the media. This year the campaign focuses on safety for women journalists.

Safety of journalists is essential for the media to bring reliable information to the public. This is as clear as day in the face of the war in Ukraine, and the information war waged by Russia. In Ukraine, many journalists, men and women, hold their ground and continue reporting from the front line. In doing so they take great risks, as it can incite offline and online attacks, besides working in an unstable and dangerous environment.

Increased violence

Many journalists all over the world experience violence, however, women journalists experience a double hit because of their work and because of their gender. They experience violence when working in the field, when posting their content online and engaging on social media platforms, or in their own newsroom. This violence is often very sexual and gendered in nature.

According to the 2020 study from UNESCO and the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), 73 percent of women journalists face online harassment, and one third of them even consider leaving the profession because of it. This level of violence against women journalists results in self-censorship which means that essential information cannot reach the wider public.

Call for accountability

In this campaign we address all these issues, and call for media outlets, policy makers and other stakeholders to take responsibility in creating harassment-free spaces, and put policies in place that help protect women journalists. They need to enable themselves to recognise all kinds of violence against women, and create adequate response mechanisms to support those affected by violence and targeted intimidation. This creates accountability, and puts an end to impunity. We all need to act against this trend of violence and set an example for current and future generations!

Gender Equality Champions

During the campaign we will introduce four Gender Equality Champions to you. The Champions are those who are already working towards an equal representation of women by the media. They highlight the positive change and results that are already happening. During the campaign we publish their stories to inspire others to follow in their footsteps.

Keep an eye on our social media channels or our Media4Women dossier to not miss any updates. Download the Media4Women 2022 social media kit and spread the word about the #M4W2022 campaign, and highlight your own Gender Equality Champions and women journalists!

Women journalists in crisis situations

On International Women’s Day (8 March), in the middle of the campaign, a Studio Free Press Matters episode will be dedicated to women journalists and their work, especially in crisis situations. The developments in Ukraine will be discussed, and compared to a crisis situation that took place in a whole other part of the world: Nicaragua. What particular challenges do women journalists face, and what is needed to create a safe online and offline work environment for women journalists. Subscribe to our channel to not miss out.

Oscar nominated documentary: Writing With Fire

We are very proud that a pre-screening of the Oscar nominated documentary Writing With Fire will be part of this year’s campaign. Writing With Fire takes place in Uttar Pradesh, one of India's most conservative states. Here, a local newspaper turned digital outlet – Khabar Lahariya - is run by women from the lowest social class, the Dalits. In a country where journalists belong to the elite, that is quite unique. The Khabar Laharia team, equipped with their smartphones, relentlessly create the news, produce impactful stories for their community and hold those in power accountable. Their story contains a hopeful plea for determination and willfulness.

On 9 March at De Balie Amsterdam at 2.00pm, we will co-host an event with a discussion with the participation of two prominent Dalit reporters Meena Kotwal and Yashica Dutt, and a former South Asia correspondent for NRC Handelsblad - Eva Oude Elferink. After which the inspiring documentary will be shown. The screening is followed by a recorded Q&A with the film makers – Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh, who for 5 years closely followed the amazing women journalists of Khabar Lahariya. Get your tickets here!

Join the campaign!

Would you like to speak out and join the campaign? Check out our social media toolkit, where you can find content and visuals that you can share on your own channels. Of course you can also follow us on social media and like and share our posts!

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