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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.

Digital evidence Reputation Tactic Support Journalists Public official