Day to End Violence against Women: Female journalists at risk from cyberbullies

Michelle Trimborn

As the United Nations call out the yearly International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 26th November, violence against female journalists is becoming an important topic, especially in online contexts.


Violent abuse and threats of rape or murder are increasing in social media, according to research by the National Union of Journalists (UK and Ireland). Online harassments might not only have psychological impacts on the person, but also affect the journalistic work, resulting in self-censorship to avoid future confrontations, the study states.

ECPMF’s partner Ossigeno per l’informazione often reports cases of online intimidation to journalists in Italy. Some recent examples include Facebook threats against Federica Angeli, who consequently lives under police protection, freelance Simona Cangelo and reporters Samantha dell’Erde and Francesca Mulas, who all have been threaten or insulted, often as reaction to critical reporting or investigations. Read more details at Ossigeno’s English website.


In Italy, Ossigeno monitors online harassment along with all other violations of press freedom. Internationally, journalists facing such problems can send anonymous reports to the Council of Europe’s online platform to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists. 

At the local level, trades unions belonging to the 600,000 members strong International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) offer support and advise on security precautions.


IFJ President, Jim Boumelha said:

Thanks to our Gender Council, the IFJ is urging journalists and their unions to raise awareness and take action against violence against women and girls.

This violence is almost universally under-reported. Nevertheless, the prevalence of such violence suggests that globally, millions of women are experiencing violence or living with its consequences. I urge all our unions to join the advocacy campaign across the world.


The UN is raising the worldwide issue of violence against women this week. Journalists are asked not just to highlight the issue in their work, but also to check on their own female colleagues, who may be afraid to speak out or seek help.

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