Online Violence to Women Journalists

Over the years online, violence toward women journalists has been increasing significantly and uncontrollably in many corners of the globe while producing outlets. One of the reasons is the wide use of internet and the different social platforms.

As a woman and journalist, I have an interest to read and hear about stories that involve colleagues from all around, thus, I follow on social media several journalistic centers, foundations or organizations. The more I read, I realize that online violence has become a major issue in many countries, specially covering the pandemic, social-political manifestation, or corruption of state, etc. 

But what is online violence?

According to a report, A/HRC38/47 from the United National Against Women Violence it “extends to any act of gender-based violence against women that is committed, assisted or aggravated in part or fully by the use of information and communications technology (ICT), such as mobile phones and smartphones, the Internet, social media platforms or email, against a woman because she is a woman, or affects women disproportionately” (p.7).

So how many types of online violence exists? The same report mentioned that the range of violence vary from insults, threats, to death; and it can take one of these forms.

  • Cyberbullying;
  • Trolling: trolls post comments to try to provoke controversy;
  • Doxxing: online researching and publishing of private information about a person in order to cause them harm;
  • Obsessive online stalking (cyberstalking), intrusive and threatening harassment of a person;
  • Cyber-control in relationships;
  • Revenge porn: non-consensual dissemination of intimate images, online public sharing of sexually explicit content without the consent of the person concerned, often for the purposes of revenge.

Women journalists are a target group for these types of violence mentioned above for reasons of simple doing their job. This action, as well, creates consequences for journalism, freedom of press, and freedom of expression

A report conducted in late 2020, by International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) reveals that 73% of women journalist who participated in the survey had experienced online violence. In addition, the two highest online are physical threats with 25% and sexual violence with 18%. 13% of the participants mentioned that the threats went beyond themselves, since other individuals closer to them, also were attacked.

A friend and colleague of mine, Ileana Lacayo Ortiz from Bluefields, faced this doxing on social media when the social-political crisis broke out in Nicaragua in April, 2018. She also received threat and her house was burglared; so, months later, she fled the country. She was one of the many journalists who left the country for voicing out the injustice of the Nicaragua government. Ileana was not afraid to denounce the assassination of journalist, Angel Gahona in Bluefields on the 21st, of April 2018. In this video produced by Short Shelter City Utrecht, Ileana explains the repression she lived by the government.

Short Shelter City Utrecht documentary

Online violence has many impacts for journalists. As I read the different stories and reports I found that out that the most common effect is mental health mentioned by Ileana, as well. Another journalist who fled her country for protection is the Finnish journalist, Jessikka Aro.

Jessikka held a deep investigation about the pro-Russian internet trolls, but unfortunately, she was backlashed and became a victim of these same activities. In a debate organized by the International Women Media Foundation, the New York Times, and the Washington Post Jessikka said: “online violence is extreme, you can’t escape it, thus, you need to pay attention of your surrounding”.

One of Jessikka’s advice to women journalists who are living online violence is to get in touch with other colleagues or organizations. She said it’s important to know that “you are not alone”. Here is the complete panel discussion.

Press Freedom is a right, so, newsrooms, editors, colleagues and journalists’ organizations should continue to support women journalists who are being victims of online violence.

Do you know a woman journalist who had been abused online? Share it with us.

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

Black Feminism Talk

What do you know about black feminism? Here are some highlights.

During the past year, my participation in events has decreased. Due to the pandemic, most events are online. As a student, I have long hours of lectures, reading, and writing, so sitting extra time in front of a computer is not that gratifying. However, when my friend, Yesmith Sánchez, invited me to the panel discussion Black Feminism and culture in the Nordics: Who gets to be heard, I decided to attend because of three reasons. First, because as a black feminist and activist I think it’s necessary to hear and learn from other experiences. Second, I am researching a gap based on feminism for my master thesis. Third, it’s important to continue networking regardless that it is online.

The panel discussion was moderated by Jasmine Kelakey, an Afro Finish-Swedish, who is an activist focused on anti-black racism and black activism in the Nordics. The guest speakers of the panel were Monica Gathuo, a digital media producer for black women in Finland, and co-coordinator of the Anti-Racism Media Activist Alliance (ARMA); Judith Kiros, based in Sweden, a poet, literature scholar, journalist, who also had participated in several anti-black platforms; Phyllis Akinyi, a Danish- Kenyan choreographer, dancer, performer and researcher; and Deise Faira Nunes, who is based in Norway and is an art researcher, performance practitioner, and freelance writer. The event was organized by the Astra journal and Nordic Culture Point (information taken from the event).

The five brilliant, lovely, and strong black women are from different backgrounds and countries; however, something they all have in common is that black feminism is a stone foundation for their work and lifestyle.

Different background scenarios such as coffees shop, plants and books, map on the wall, or simply a white wall, were the scenes of these women who talked about the fundamental of understanding black feminism, why it’s necessary to be heard, seen, and spoken to make a difference.

Here are some points raised during the discussion:

  • Black feminism has its roots in the United State of America; however, they are other black women groups in many corners of the globe. E.g. Caribbean, Brazilian etc.
  • Black feminism is a pillar for our foundation and thus tells the stories that need to be heard.
  • Experience of “othering” is not the same here in the Nordics as across the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Black feminism is an inspiration for solidarity, building communities, bringing joy to our lives, and making changes. It is not only about our struggles.
  • The Black Live Matters manifestation that took place last year in the Nordic countries gave a huge push for a deeper discussion about black topics and the change of black narrative; nevertheless, it is a transit moment that can burn us out. It is important to remember that this moment will dissolve but we will continue being black.
  • The language that is used about black feminism needs to change, develop, and take into consideration research and dictionaries that are done by others.
  • How does representation need to be approached, should we continue to play the game of the systems or focus on our own?
  • Blackness is not homogenous, regardless weather we have similarities, we also have differences.
  • Scandinavian countries are categorized as democratic and have high freedom of speech; however, the issue of racism is present, there is a lack of awareness but also denial. The mainstream or public discourse narratives argue that racism occurs in the USA, but not here.
  • The four panelists hope that the struggle, fight and actions they are doing today may be beneficial for the future generation, and that the situation may be different and better for them.

“I can’t separate myself from black feminism, I am a black feminism,” said Phyllis Akinyi. If you are eager to hear and learn more about the topics, please watch the panel discussion here.

Photo by the event.

República Dominicana: 3 causales

Yo apoyo las 3 causales de aborto en República Dominicana

En Latinoamérica y el Caribe existen seis países donde el aborto es ilegal: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Suriname y República Dominicana, según el Center for Reproductive Rights. Acá las mujeres mueren por no poder practicar el aborto, existe violación de sus derechos sexuales y reproductivos y la violación física y psicológica.

Actualmente en República Dominicana se está impulsando la campaña “rd3causales” luego que el 2020 la muerte materna aumentó 20.2%, según la dirección de epistemología. Como en muchos otras países de la región se permite el aborto bajo causales. La campaña 3 causales en la isla caribeña demanda que el aborto se permite cuando:

1- La vida y salud de las mujeres o niñas está bajo amenaza.

2- Cuando el embarazo es inviable.

3- En caso de ser resultado de una violación o incesto.

Campaña rd3causales

En diciembre del año pasado en Argentina se legalizó el aborto luego que por años fue rechazado por el parlamento. Sin embargo, el movimiento de mujeres, activistas, feministas y el pueblo no dejó de luchar hasta su aprobación. Desde nuestro rincón apoyemos a las mujeres y niñas de República Dominicana para que sea una menos en la lista de países donde se prohíbe el aborto.

Es nuestro derecho, aborto libre, gratuito y seguro.

5 things about Minna Canth

Women rights

Photo: Shirlene Green N/Kupion Museum

1-Minna was a Finnish writer, activist, mother, wife, dancer, and theatre actress. She was born in Tampere (centre of Finland) in 1844, under the name of Ulrika Wilhelmina Johnsson, being the oldest of four siblings.

2-She is the first woman in Finland to receive her day flat (19th of March).

3-In Jyväskylä, she attended the Teacher Seminary, which was the first one in Finland to offer higher education for women.

4-She worked at the Keski-Suomi newspaper and Päijäinne. At this last one she published her first work of fiction and stories.

5-Her works were referring to women’s rights issues. The topics she develops in her writing were the separation of property between husband and wife, unwillingness to be a mother, injustice for women, and others.

Taking the streets

Photo: Rosamaria Bolom/Finland 2020

These pictures were taken in Nicaragua and Finland on the 8th of March, International Women Day. I will continue to fight for women rights that were accomplished by my ancestors and to develop new one. We don’t want to be better than others, we want to be equal.

Photo: Julie Schroell/Nicaragua 2016
Photo: Julie Schroell/Nicaragua 2016
Photo: Shirlene Green N/Finland 2019
Photo: Shirlene Green N/Finland 2019
Photo: Rosamaria Bolon/Finland 2020

#8March #WomenRights #Togetheronthestreets #Equal