Majority of women in news media suffer abuse
Geneva / Washington DC, March 10, 2014
Nearly two-thirds of women in the news media have experienced acts of intimidation, threats and abuse in relation to their work, ranging in severity from name-calling to death threats, a report said.
The most frequently reported acts were classified as “abuse of power or authority”, “verbal, written, and/or physical intimidation (including threats) to you”, and “attempts to damage your reputation/honour”, added the global survey on harassment and violence against female media workers conducted jointly by the London-based International News Safety Institute and the Washington, DC-based International Women’s Media Foundation.
The most commonly reported perpetrators of “intimidation, threats and abuse” were bosses (31.7 per cent). Other perpetrators included supervisors, co-workers, interviewees, government officials, police, subordinates and “other.”
The majority of perpetrators were male (63.6 per cent) incidents where the perpetrator’s sex was selected).
More than half of respondents (44.6 per cent) to a question about the effects of “intimidation, threats and abuse” said they experienced psychological trauma. Around one-third (35.6 per cent) who experienced such acts said they reported the incidents to an employer, police or another authority.
More than one-fifth (21.6 per cent) of respondents said they had experienced physical violence in relation to their work.
Of 310 acts reported in this section, the most frequent were “pushing”, “shoving”, and “assault with an object or weapon”.
Nearly half (45.5 per cent) of acts where location was reported occurred “in the field.” Other acts took place “in the street” while covering protests, rallies, or other public events (26 per cent, and “in the office” (18 per cent).
The main perpetrators of reported acts of physical violence were “other” (36.8 per cent) – which included strangers in a crowd or public place, politicians and soldiers – “police” (20.5 per cent), and “interviewees” (18 per cent). More than three-quarters (77.2 per cent) of respondents who listed sex of perpetrator said “mostly men” carried out the physical violence.
Around one-third (34.9 per cent) of respondents said they reported acts of physical violence against them.
About 14.3 per cent said they had experienced sexual violence in relation to their work, while nearly one half (48.9 per cent) of the acts reported were “touching you in a sexual manner against your will (i.e., kissing, grabbing, fondling)”, the report said.
Around one half of the acts where a perpetrator was classified were committed by a “co-worker,” “boss,” or “supervisor”. “Other” accounted for 22.5 per cent (25) of acts. Respondents included other journalists, fixers and protesters in this category. Almost all (94.6 per cent) respondents who cited the perpetrator’s sex said men committed the acts of sexual violence.
Only 19.3 per cent of respondents said they reported sexual violence to their employer, the police or another authority.
Nearly half (47.9 per cent) of respondents said they had experienced sexual harassment at their jobs.
The most common acts were “unwanted comments on dress and appearance” 20.2 per cent, “suggestive remarks or sounds” 18.6 per cent, “jokes of a sexual nature” 16.9 per cent, “invasion of personal space” 15.5 per cent and “unwanted physical contact” 14.7 per cent.
According to the report, the most common locations for harassment were “in the office” (42.2 per cent) and “in the field” (32.4 per cent).
Perpetrator categories of “co-worker,” “boss,” and “supervisor” made up more than half (55.3 per cent). “Interviewees” made up 16.4 per cent of the total. Among acts where the sex of the perpetrator was given, 93.8 per cent were committed by “mostly men.”
Less than one-fifth of respondents (16.9 per cent) said they reported incidents of sexual harassment.
Tapping, hacking and digital security threats
More than one-fifth of respondents (21.1 per cent) said they had experienced “digital/online account surveillance”. About the same number reported “email or other digital/online account hacking” (20.3 per cent), and “phone tapping” (20.9 per cent). A smaller number (17.3 per cent/74 of 428) reported “hacking” (of websites, etc).
Some respondents (19.2 per cent/41 of 214) reported they had source material stolen, including the identities of sources, emails and interview content. The most commonly named means of stealing source material was email hacking.
The most common targets for breach among 469 reported incidents were personal email accounts (18 per cent) and work email accounts (17.3 per cent). Other channels included personal mobiles (14.5 per cent), social media accounts (12.9 per cent), and work mobiles (11.9 per cent).
Preparedness, prevention and protection
Less than one-third (30.3 per cent) of 443 respondents said their organisations take measures to protect their personal security.
One-fifth of respondents said their organisations prepare them for work-related harassment (21.3 per cent) or work-related violence (21.8 per cent of 467).
A similar number (22.8 per cent) said their organisations provide training and/or resources for digital/online security, and 20.1 per cent said they were provided training and/or resources for source protection.
Among preparedness measures offered, respondents mentioned high-risk environment training, bodyguards, drivers and fixers, chaperones during late hours and check-in protocols.
Less than one-third (31.2 per cent) of respondents said they are provided emotional support or professional counselling/therapy in the event of work-related harassment or violence.
Type of media
The largest number (49.3 per cent) of women who responded to the survey worked for a newspaper. Online media was the second most frequent response, with 43.6 per cent. Magazine journalists were 24 per cent, television journalists were 20.6 per cent and radio journalists were 15.6 per cent.
A smaller segment (7.1 per cent) said they worked in multiple media. Some respondents left qualitative responses indicating they worked in types outside these options, and nearly half of these worked for news agencies.
Type of employment
About half of the respondents (52.1 per cent) said they were “employees,” while the remainder said they were “freelancers” (27.4 per cent), “both employees and freelancers” (17.6 per cent) or “other” (6 per cent). – TradeArabia News Service