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January 19, 2019

Study reveals more women journalists harassed by stalkers online

Journalists protests on Nairobi city streets. A study revealed that more female journalists are harassed online.Photo/FILE
Journalists protests on Nairobi city streets. A study revealed that more female journalists are harassed online.Photo/FILE

Approximately 7 out of 10 female journalists in Kenya have experienced online harassment in the course of their work. According to a survey on Women Journalist’s digital security by Article 19 and the Association of Media Women in Kenya. 100 journalists were interviewed in four counties Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru and Kisumu in December last year.

The survey highlights that the harassment includes Facebook hate pages, Twitter Hashtags, blog comments and memes with insulting messages.

“36% of the respondents have had their accounts hacked, 25% are being stalked, 24% have received threats” read part of the report.

Hacking, stalking and threats appear to be the most common forms of digital harassment of women. 4 out of 10 female journalists who experience digital harassment did not take any action. Only 10% reported the matter to their bosses for action to be taken.

The survey also shows 54 per cent of the respondents rate their knowledge of digital security tools and practices as good and 29 per cent as workable.

Most of these tools are inbuilt in the devices that female journalists use and include simple practices like passwords and screen locks.

Digital harassment leads to women withdrawing from the use of the internet and in many cases they have stopped working for some time. It has also changed the patterns of online interactions by women.

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