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Bad language, swearing and use of a disrespectful tone that degrade personal dignity, reputation and/or status in society. Pictures, videos, memes and gifs can also be utilised to inflict humiliation/shame. 

Everyone has different tolerance levels and the line between libel and criticism is often blurred.  Public figures, especially politicians who represent the general public,  must  display a higher level of tolerance of criticism. On the other hand, journalists, and human rights’ defenders, have the right to shock, disturb and even offend members of and the public at large, when carrying out their professional duties and in the public’s interest.

Female journalists, activists and women politicians are more likely to be targets of libel and humiliation than their male counterparts.  Offense based on gender identity or presentation is a silencing mechanism, and has been recognized as a form of gender-based violence and, as such, publicly condemned.

If you are targeted with any type of digital violence, we urge you to seek support from your support networks that understand you and your feelings. Take time away from spaces where you’re experiencing the harassment, and ask people you trust to check on your accounts, emails and update you about the status of attack, or help you document the abuse.

If you are a  female journalist, there is  an initiative “Female Journalists against violence”, which offers support and help rooted in the empathy, trust and mutual learning.

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Publicly disclosing personal information about a target, such as home address, familial status, bank and credit card details, date of birth etc. This information can be posted on one or many different platforms, in comment sections, or via video or text. 

The infraction of doxxing does not require that the published information be utilized with consequence to the target. The simple act of making sensitive information - the spread of which could have repercussions on the person whose information has been published -public, sends a clear message of intimidation and harassment. 

It is important to report online violence to social media platforms as there is  always the chance that the data is removed and/or the perpetrator blocked  . It is important to report abusive content as a method of documentation and evidence for police investigations and court cases - and there is always the chance that the content is removed and/or the perpetrator blocked. If needed, ask family and friends to take over reporting and communication with the platforms.

The most important thing is to take care of yourself, and acknowledge your feelings, even if it means allowing yourself a few days to lie in bed under the blankets, doing nothing.

There is always the option of abstaining from social media for a certain period of time, but given our reliance on these platforms, this is a strategy that is much easier said than done. Try instead to limit the time you spend on these platforms and interact with people you trust in closed group settings.

If you are a female journalist, there is an initiative “Female Journalists against violence”, which offers support and help rooted in the empathy, trust and mutual learning.

Check aslo OnLine SoS to learn more about additional means of protection.

Digital evidence Digital hygiene Harassment Reputation Safety Sexual Harassment Journalists Identity


Endangering physical and emotional safety and wellbeing by calling for violence against a particular person or group of people, including threats of rape and other forms of gender-based violence.

Threat is a serious form of assault and one that should be urgently addressed to best prevent it from being realized in the physical world. Report each and every threat to the police and the public prosecutor. 

As threats often cause fear and insecurity, art. 138 of the Criminal Code - Endangering safety - provides a suitable legal basis for initiating mechanisms of protection. 

 In this case, public prosecutors and police are mandated to follow up, investigate and responsible for protection. As the filing party, you are responsible for collecting evidence  needed for filing the criminal charges. This charge is especially relevant for (female) journalists, as this charge provides for a higher sanction. 

ADVICE: Explain in detail how, why and when you feel unsafe, and detail your concern for the safety of your family and loved ones. These details could be the key to success when it comes to court proceedings.

In addition to reporting threats to police and digital platforms, inform your employer and document them

If you can, protect your mental health by taking a break from social media platforms, especially those spaces that can cause additional stress or fear for your safety. Create a network of support to help take over some of the work documenting the threats. Again, prioritize your physical safety above all else and If you ever feel that the online violence you’re experiencing, might transition into the physical world, call the police → immediately! 

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