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OSCE Urges Action on Attacks Against Online Female Journalists

FILE - A OSCE report says female journalist are targeted, subjected to violence and intimidation; recommend action to counter harassment of women in the news/media, Feb. 11, 2014.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe called Friday for swift action to counter escalating threats and intimidation of female journalists online.

Speaking in Vienna, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović said such actions “tend to degrade the journalist as a woman, rather than address the content of the articles.”

The female journalists being targeted mostly report on crime, politics and sensitive social issues, including “taboos and dogmas” in today’s societies.

Mijatović presented a set of recommendations for OSCE participating states to tackle the problem — including prioritizing improvement of law enforcement agencies and contributing to "healthy and constructive media environments.”

“Journalists’ safety is a precondition for free expression and free media,” said Mijatović, adding that the OSCE will keep the issue of online threats to female journalists high on the agenda going forward.

Research on harassment of women journalists and bloggers indicates that more than 25 percent of it happens online. Studies also show that female journalists receive about three times as many abusive comments as their male counterparts on Twitter.