Now more than ever, media freedom is under threat as journalists and filmmakers face dangers not only in person but also in cyberspace.
On Tuesday November 2nd, 2021, One World Media hosted an event in collaboration with Al Jazeera and the Journalism Department at City University of London in recognition of the International Day to End Impunity Against Journalists.
We spoke with journalists and experts across the industry to discuss strategies for reporting safely in a world where technology exposes journalists to increased risks.
During the discussion, our panellists revealed the many ways that journalists have been targeted online including; phishing campaigns, bot accounts, online trolls and digital surveillance.
According to Reporters Without Borders’ UK Bureau Director, Rebecca Vincent, these occurrences are especially difficult for women journalists, who are the biggest targets of gender-based online violence.
In recent years, the line between online violence and physical violence has become increasingly blurred.
However, this violence doesn’t just stop at online abuse. In recent years, the line between online violence and physical violence has become increasingly blurred, so much so that we have started to see a disturbing trend of online abuse taking place before a journalist is murdered.
Osama Gaweesh, Editor-in-Chief of Egypt Watch gave a first-hand account of how death threats on social media materialised into tangible threats on the life of he and his family, forcing him to eventually flee to the UK.
While it may seem media freedom is completely at the mercy of cyber warfare, our panellists also examined some ways that journalists can empower themselves in cyberspace.
Journalists are vital to supporting our democratic institutions by creating an informed society and acting as a check on power.
We need to demand more from our government and from media platforms that have prioritised profit over the safety of journalists.
Today, as both state and non-state actors employ more sophisticated methods of cyberwarfare against journalists, we cannot afford to stay silent. We need to demand more from our government and from media platforms that have prioritised profit over the safety of journalists.
At One World Media, we will continue to show our support by providing a space to discuss and debate these issues, to come together in the fight to defend media freedom, and to champion those whose work brings to light underreported stories.