Psychosocial support

Online violence can have real consequences for journalists. Journalists report that online harassment has a detrimental effect on their health and also prevents them from doing their jobs effectively. Accessing support and assistance can be an important step to helping those who are targeted online.

Next Steps

Fostering a culture of safety in the newsroom

Creating a culture in the newsroom, so journalists feel supported, is an important step when it comes to protecting the wellbeing of staff. This should include recognizing that online abuse disportionately targets some journalists more than others, including women journalists, journalists of color, non-binary journalists and LGBTQIA+ journalists, which means it’s especially important to have mechanisms to support them. This could include mentoring support for junior members of staff as well creating opportunities for people to speak about abuse, for example in informal chats. Media outlets should also consider how to support freelancers who are experiencing online abuse as a direct result of work carried out for the media outlet.

Establishing policies and procedures

Having robust and clear policies for reporting online harassment is also important to ensure that staff feel supported. These policies should be made widely available to staff. See our guide to newsroom protocols for more information on this.

Access to psychological support

Where possible journalists should be given the opportunity to access professional help for trauma resulting from online violence.  

Creating peer-support networks

Informal support networks in newsrooms have proved successful when it comes to supporting staff with issues related to online violence. This can include the setting up of group chats on messaging apps where journalists can inform others about the abuse they are facing and exchange strategies and techniques with each other to help in managing the abuse. 

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