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International organisation launches global campaign to end violence against women journalists

A message is projected at Rome's Campidoglio palace, as part of International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, 25 November 2013
A message is projected at Rome's Campidoglio palace, as part of International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, 25 November 2013

REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

On 25 November 2013, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) launched a global campaign to denounce violence against women journalists and alert public authorities on their need to to end impunity for these crimes.

This campaign is a response to the numerous cases of women journalists being threatened, attacked, harassed, raped or even killed in the course of their profession.

"Tragically, women journalists are under bigger threat than their male colleagues when it comes to attacks, bullying, threats, cyber-bullying, rape and abuse; all effective tools to silence women's voices in the media. As we encourage more and more women into the profession, their safety must be paramount," said IFJ Gender Council co-chair Mindy Ran.

Watch the video message from Beth Costa, IFJ General Secretary

International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women from IFJ Vimeo Channel on Vimeo.

According to the IFJ, six women journalists were killed this year in the course of their profession. Rebecca Davidson, a New Zealand national, deputy head of programming at the Dubai-based Arabian Radio Network was killed on 8 February in a boat collision while on assignment in the Seychelles. Journalist Rahmo Abdulkadir working for Radio Abudwaq was shot in Towfiq district in north Mogadishu, Somalia capital, when she was close to her house. Baiu Lu, from the Urumqi Evening News, died on 18 April, in an accident while conducting interviews on a construction site in Urumqi, capital of Northwest China. Habiba Ahmet Abd Elaziz from UAE-based Xpress newspaper was killed on 14 August together with four other journalists in Egypt. Yarra Abbas, television correspondent for Al-Ikhbariyah TV was killed on 27 May, while covering clashes near the border with Lebanon. French reporter Ghislaine Dupont, who worked for Radio France International (RFI), was abducted and shot dead on 2 November together with her male colleague Claude Verlon in the Malian northern city of Kidal.

"A one day protest on 25 November is not enough to fight against attacks against our female colleagues," said Zuliana Lainez, member of the IFJ Gender Council and the IFJ Executive Committee. "We are launching a Working Party to ensure that constant attention is paid to the safety of our colleagues throughout the world and regular alerts and protests are launched to denounce these crimes. Part of the activities include a twitter action to mark 25 November International Day for the elimination of violence against women," says Lainez who will lead the Working Party.

"We urge media organisations to do their best to fight violence against female media workers," says Mounia Belafia, IFJ Gender Council co-chair. "Respect for gender equality is an important step for this and media must be made accountable for mainstreaming gender in all their activities."

The IFJ encourages journalists, their unions and supporters to express their concerns over violence against women journalists and demand an end to impunity for these crimes. Please post your support on #IFJVAW.

Read a feature article by Mindy Ran, Co-Chair of IFJ Gender Council.

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