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WGL focuses on role of women journalists in reporting on Gender Based Violence

WFPD 2019 Press Release: The Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) at Rutgers University today

commemorates World Press Freedom Day by applauding the work of Women Journalists around the
world in reporting on gender-based violence (GbV).
“Women journalists have made a significant contribution to defending human rights through their
reporting on gender-based violence throughout the years,” said Krishanti Dharmaraj, Executive Director
of WGL.
The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) observatory of killed
journalists recorded 101 women journalists were killed in the past 24 years. A total of 95 journalists
both men and women were killed in 2018 alone according to the International Federation of Journalists.
“The threats faced by women journalists while performing their jobs are very real, and it is not limited to
one geography or a single type of political space, it is widespread,” said Dharmaraj.
Journalists and media workers have long been at risk for violence in the course of their work. The past
few years have seen an uptick in the number of journalists and media workers who were killed,
tortured, arrested or detained in as a direct result of their profession. Journalism can be a dangerous
profession. Journalists and media workers often work in the midst of war zones, conflicts, and natural
disasters, and can incur the wrath of the most powerful when reporting on corruption or human rights
abuses.
In addition to this, women journalists across the world face violence and harassment at an astounding
rate. According to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), 1 in every 2 women journalists have
suffered some form of sexual harassment, psychological abuse, online trolling, and other forms of abuse
while working. They are often at greater risk of being targeted not only for their reporting, but also
because of their gender, including through the threat of sexual violence.
The CWGL started consultations on the Global Journalism Initiative on gender-based violence (JIG), a
platform for journalists to work with experts in gender, trauma and human rights to better report on
gender-based violence.
Over 70 women journalists from over 30 countries including Mexico, Honduras, Spain, Cameroon, India,
Sri Lanka, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Samoa, Jordan and Syria were engaged through
extensive consultations to share their perspectives on reporting on gender-based violence.
“It was clear from the consultations that women journalists from varying experiences faced specific
threats due to their gender, and other intersecting identities in particular when reporting on genderbased violence,” said Dharmaraj.
Studies estimate that 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual
intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner which does not including sexual
harassment – at some point in their lives. According to the World Health Organization some national
studies show that up to 70 percent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an
intimate partner in their lifetime.
“Gender-based violence continues to be an issue that hinders the full participation of women and their
contribution to society, we hope that this project will not only help women journalists strengthen their
trade, but also create a space for journalists to share ideas on reporting on gender-based violence.”
The Global Project which is currently underway will continue to provide a platform for women
journalists and the media community to exchange ideas and work with WGL experts in developing
knowledge products to strengthen gender-based violence reporting globally.