Same threats, different platforms? Female journalists’ experiences of online gender-based violence in selected newsrooms in Namibia

Itai Zviyita, Admire Mare

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Concerns about the disproportionate levels of online gender-based abuse experienced by female journalists when compared to their male counterparts have attracted sizeable scholarly attention in the last few years. Extant studies have highlighted that female journalists experience online forms of harassment such as name calling, body shaming, trolling, verbal abuse, sextortion, non-consensual sharing of intimate images, manipulation of photos, cyberstalking, doxing, hacking, receiving unwanted, offensive sexually explicit emails or messages, and inappropriate advances on social media platforms, in the line of duty. Although these findings are true in some of the newsrooms in the global North, there is a disconcerting absence of systematic studies looking at the experiences of female journalists in selected newsrooms in Africa in general and Namibia in particular. This article seeks to fill this lacuna by empirically investigating the extent to which online gender-based violence is deep-seated social problem in selected Namibian newsrooms. It deploys the intersectional approach to analyze the online gender-based violence experienced by female journalists in Namibia. Drawing our data from interviews with female journalists in selected Namibian newsrooms, overall, our findings suggest that cases of online gender-based violence against female journalists are still negligible when compared to other contexts, it is happening, nonetheless. This emerging phenomenon is largely underreported. Furthermore, it is occurring in an environment devoid of legislative, institutional, and newsroom-specific mechanisms aimed at ensuring the safety of female journalists. Namibian female journalists are facing unique online gender-based violence, which contributes immensely towards self-censorship and retreating from the public sphere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)779-799
Number of pages21
JournalJournalism
Volume25
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024

Keywords

  • digital journalism
  • female journalists
  • intersectionality
  • Namibian newsrooms
  • online gender-based violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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