Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (IJAS) has launched a platform for the safety of journalists “On the line” (https://prvalinija.nuns.rs/), which contains resources and tools that help newsrooms and journalists act correctly in the event of online threats addressed to them. As part of this action, journalists who are victims of online violence are provided with legal assistance, as well as psychological support to help them cope with this situation.
The site was created as a result of frequent attacks on journalists, especially online. Last year, there were 136 reported attacks/threats against journalists, of which 51 were online threats.
Based on the guidelines on the website, newsrooms can implement a mechanism to protect journalists who are the target of online attacks from the professional and emotional impact that occurs as a result of this form of harassment.
One of the ideas is to create a safety culture in the newsroom where journalists are encouraged to report violence on the Internet and are given support. The main goal of media outlets must be to create an environment where journalists do not feel embarrassed to report attacks on the Internet. Due to a competitive work environment or precarious work situation, journalists may worry that reporting an attack will be perceived as a sign of weakness or a lack of professional standards, and that it will negatively affect their careers. It is essential to speak openly about online abuse in order to limit its effects, including trauma and self-censorship.
A special section on the website refers to attacks on female journalists on the Internet, as well as on freelance journalists.
The website contains numerous interviews with international experts in this field who provide guidelines/advice on how to deal with the public on the Internet and how to act in the event of an online attack. Some of them were the targets of attacks themselves.
At the same time, the website contains the confessions of female journalists who were the targets of attacks, who talk about how they dealt with the situation.
The platform contains numerous useful resources – publications and tools that serve to train journalists to combat online violence.
Visit the On the Line platform here: https://prvalinija.nuns.rs/
The “On the Line” platform was created as part of a project financed by the European Union, which is jointly implemented by IJAS and BIRN in cooperation with the International Press Institute (IPI). IJAS and BIRN would like to thank the International Press Institute for providing the text and video materials originally published on its On the Line platform.