A Guide to Protecting Newsrooms and Journalists Against Online Violence

Online violence poses a constant threat to journalists, resulting in serious implications for press freedom, including self-censorship. This abuse disproportionately affects women and diverse journalists who are often reluctant to speak out for fear of jeopardizing their careers.

The IWMF is dedicated to promoting a culture of change in newsrooms when it comes to tackling online violence. “A Guide to Protecting Newsrooms and Journalists Against Online Violence” details policies and best practices newsrooms can implement to better protect staff members who are targeted simply for doing their jobs.

The guide also includes case studies from six months of work with a wide range of newsrooms – from small specialized outlets covering health in South Africa to established independent newsrooms in the United States.

Templates and resources from the guide are linked below. Learn more about our newsroom training and policy development consultations here.

New in 2024: Better Protection for Freelancers Facing Online Violence

Through the work of our News Safety Cohort, we identified that there was both a need and a want from newsrooms to understand how best to support their freelancers with issues around online violence.

To find out how freelancers could be better supported, we held three focus groups with 13 freelancers over a six-month period. Freelance journalists in our focus groups regularly raised the same issues when it came to discussing their safety and online abuse.

In a new chapter of the Guide to Protecting Newsrooms and Journalists Against Online Violence, we have included these learnings as an aid for newsroom managers who are thinking about how best to support freelancers with issues around online violence.

Templates

This guide has online templates (linked below) that you can adapt to meet the needs of your newsroom. To use the online template follow the instructions below. You will need to make a copy of the file in order to be able to edit it later.

To make a copy of a file:

  1. On your computer open the template you want to make a copy of.
  2. In the menu, click File › scroll down to Make a copy.
  3. Create a name for your document and choose where to save it. If you want to copy comments from a document, spreadsheet, or presentation, click Copy comments and suggestions. You can choose to include resolved comments and suggestions in your new copy.
  4. Click Ok or Make a copy. Now you will be able to edit/adjust the template.

You can also download a copy of the templates:

  1. On your computer, open the template you want to download.
  2. At the top, click FileDownload.
  3. Choose a file type. The file will download onto your computer.

Additional Resources: