Panel discussion: Safety of women journalists in conflict situations
To mark the World Press Freedom day, the group of friends on the protection of journalists, co-chaired by the Permanent Missions of France, Greece and Lithuania to the United Nations, is organizing a panel discussion on the safety of women journalists in conflict situations.
Reporting from conflict zones requires extraordinary determination and courage, especially as journalists themselves increasingly become the targets of the attacks. Being a woman journalist adds an extra layer of challenges.
While doing their work in conflict and fragile security zones, journalists experience threats, violence and abuse. Women journalists face such threats as sexual assault and abuse more often than men. Editors may be reluctant to assign women journalists to cover specific issues as ensuring their safety is more complicated and costly. Female freelancers are even more vulnerable as they have no institutional support and resources to ensure their safety. Local journalists make a large part of victims of violence and killings. It can be assumed that local female journalists are facing additional risks and vulnerabilities as they carry on their work.
The panel discussion will focus on the specific challenges and risks that women journalists face in conflict zones as well as the ways to address them. A number of initiatives are already being implemented, like conducting safety trainings tailored for women journalists and media workers in conflict zones, taking into account the specific challenges they face, but more could be done to this effect, both at normative and practical levels.
The panel consists of women journalists and representatives of non-governmental organizations engaged in the protection of journalists, who will share their first-hand experiences and insights regarding the specific challenges that female journalists and media workers face as well as ways to address them. The panel discussion will be followed by a Q&A session.
Women journalists and media workers are an integral part of the media fabric ensuring the constant flow news from around the world. It took persistence and determination for women journalists to break down barriers and stereotypes and be able to report from conflict zones.