IWMF’s comment on CJR’s investigation of rampant sexual harassment in photojournalism.
Revelations about sexual harassment in the world of photojournalism published today in the Columbia Journalism Review are distressing. As shown in the International Women’s Media Foundation’s report Violence and Harassment against Women in the News Media: A Global Picture, most female journalists have experienced sexual harassment in their workplaces. Targets of harassment and those brave enough to stand by them often face retaliation; implicit as well as explicit. The industry as a whole needs to work together to create an environment where all can work on an even playing field.
Creating an environment which condemns this behavior will lead to a safe workspace for everyone. According to a recent Equal Opportunity Commission Report, “The importance of leadership cannot be overstated — effective harassment prevention efforts, and workplace culture in which harassment is not tolerated, must start with and involve the highest levels of management of the company.”
The IWMF and the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) call for leadership in the photojournalism community to address sexual harassment when it occurs and take appropriate action or make policy changes immediately; not when there is a risk of exposure or brand damage. Lack of leadership and accountability has driven countless photojournalists out of their preferred profession and left those who remain hampered by the fear of being labelled problematic; depriving them of equal opportunity for success if they dare to speak out.
They should not be left to stand alone against predators. We must all stand with them.
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