Online violence including bullying, cyber stalking, hate speech and public shaming has grown into a silent epidemic in Kenya. There is limited knowledge on how to end it and it continues to be treated as a personal problem where the individual is expected to find a way to cope on her own.
Because of their profession and their identity as public figures, women journalists are easy targets of cyber violence, including harassment, intimidation and ridicule.
The Association of Media Women in Kenya carried out research on the online security of media women. The research found that women journalists encounter unique forms of violence unlike their male colleagues, in the workplace, in public spaces and on the internet. As the number women journalists increase, so does their risk to encounter violence. Women journalists are targeted for being women, for being journalists, and sometimes, for being women journalists.
The study made several recommendations: That media outlets should come up with ways of protecting women journalists; that the role of media organizations as intermediaries be to ensure that there are good online practices for users including online safety training for women journalists; that the government strengthens capacity and technical competence of key institutions to enable them respond to and tackle online violence against women effectively; and, that media associations and unions start engaging on Internet policy discourses and policy development processes.
The project was implemented in partnership with the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) and the Waldensian Church’s Otto per Mille.
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