Legal provision to ensure online safety of women journalists sought

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By A Staff Reporter, Kathmandu, Dec. 6: Stakeholders of gender and media have stressed the need of strong laws related to cyber security to prevent growing cases of gender based violence through digital media.    

Participants in the final round dialogue series on the draft of guidelines on Safety of Women Journalists Online organised by Sancharika Samuha in coordination with UNESCO Nepal on Monday emphasised that women journalists have been facing violence through digital platform in recent years.

Among the various social networks, Facebook and Facebook Messenger are the most common sources of violence faced by female journalists, research shows. 

Therefore, the participants stressed the necessity of separate cybercrime law and advanced guidelines for the safety of journalists to keep such violence at bay. Along with the formulation of the guidelines, implementation equally important, the 

participants said.

Manoj Dawadi, a member of the Human Rights Commission, said that journalists who plays a vital role to reform society should be able to work in a fear-free environment.

Secretary of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Dr. Baikunth Aryal, made a commitment to creating advanced guidelines by incorporating safety guidelines prepared by various organisations including Sancharika Samuha.

Sangita Khadka, chairperson of the Minimum Wages Determination Committee, said that due to violence faced by female journalists, they can't do quality work in a fearless environment.

Bal Krishna Basnet, chairperson of Press Council Nepal, said that stakeholders must focus on the implementation of the guidelines after their formulation. 

President of the Federation of Journalists, Bipul Pokharel, expressed his confidence that the state will guarantee full security of every journalist even from policy reform.

A week ago the Media Advocacy Group (MAG) and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) published a report that points to a steep rise in online violence against women journalists. 

The report claimed that 88.6 per cent of the female journalists surveyed had experienced online violence 

in their lifetime. Of them, 53 per cent said that the online violence they had faced was associated with their profession.

What’s more, 11.4 per cent said they had not personally experienced online violence but had heard about others who had. 

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