If you are a journalist facing harassment online it can be difficult to know where to get legal help. Online violence often crosses borders and jurisdictions and takes many forms, including image misrepresentation, doxxing and threats to life. Get support and learn more about your legal rights below.
Be safer by taking the following steps:
These organizations will need some documentation. Don’t forget to document and keep evidence of the harassment you are facing.
The following organizations assist journalists seeking legal support for situations that arise as a result of online violence.
Media Defense is an international human rights organization that provides legal help to journalists and independent media around the world. Their lawyers can provide support for the following:
- Online threats
- Stolen images, deepfakes, blackmail linked to images
- Discreditation and reputation damage
- Account takeovers and fake accounts
- Hacking and surveillance
The International Women’s Media Foundation
The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) is a nonprofit working internationally to support women journalists. Their team can connect journalists to lawyers and can provide financial assistance to cover legal costs.
The IWMF Emergency Fund provides funding for legal aid to counter threats of censorship or imprisonment. The fund is open to women and women-identifying journalists around the world.
For journalists in the United States, the IWMF has the United States Journalism Emergency Fund that covers referrals for legal support.
Free Press Unlimited
Free Press Unlimited is a non-governmental organization based in the Netherlands. They can provide financial support to journalists who face prosecution or imprisonment and who are unable to afford a lawyer or the cost of a trial.
The Rory Peck Trust
The Rory Peck Trust is an international NGO that supports freelance journalists worldwide. The organization has a fund that can cover legal fees resulting from your work as a journalist.
Reporters without Borders
Reporters without Borders is an independent NGO that can support journalists with legal costs if they have been wrongfully persecuted.
Share With Your Network
Learn more about your legal rights when it comes to being harassed online. The following resources can provide you with further information.
Heartmob is a community working to end online harassment. The organization has legal resources for a US audience.
Pen America is a non-profit protecting freedom of expression in the US and worldwide. Their Online Harassment Field Manual has resources on legal considerations for reporting online abuse in the US.
OnlineSOS empowers people facing online harassment. Read their article about Online Harassment & Restraining Orders.