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Strengthening Safety Measures for Women Journalists in Cambodia

Globally, women journalists and media workers face a growing number of attacks both offline and online, exposing them to disproportional risks. These threats encompass various forms of gender-based violence ranging from stigmatization, hate speech, sexism, misogyny to trolling, and in severe cases, physical assault, sexual violence and murder.


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A UNESCO report titled ‘The Chilling’ demonstrated the pervasive nature of attacks against women journalists and their detrimental impact on press freedom.

In Cambodia, women journalists not only face these disproportionate threats, but also grapple with limited access to gender-sensitive support services, including gender-responsive legal advice. To address this pressing issue, the Women’s Media Centre of Cambodia has established the first Women Journalists’ Network in the country. 

This network provides women journalists with a safe space to discuss the threats they are facing. Additionally, it provides crucial gender-sensitive legal advice, counselling and peer support. 

Currently comprising 45 members, the Cambodian Women Journalists’ Network has organized a series of successful meetings since January 2023, covering relevant topics such as stress reduction, professional reporting, best practices for investigative coverage and unique challenges faced as women journalists. 

“We were taught techniques to tackle unhappiness and anger, helping us regain control over our emotions. We also benefited from powerful exercises to identify our aspirations and prioritize what matters in our lives.” - Nhim Srey PovReporter and participant

Ahead of the national elections, the Centre organized a special session providing insights into the specific issues female reporters should be mindful of during electoral campaigns. The session also emphasized the crucial role, rights and responsibilities of journalists, highlighting the importance of disseminating accurate information to the public during election periods. 

According to UNESCO’s issue brief on the violence against journalists during elections around the world, the intensity violence and stigmatizing  discourse  by public officials escalates during electoral  cycles. Women constitute 29% of the total number of attacked during elections. 

Since 2021, UNESCO and the Women’s Media Centre of Cambodia have been collaborating to enhance the safety of women journalists by providing gender-responsive access to legal assistance through the Global Media Defence Fund

This Fund , established in 2019 within the framework of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, has supported over 120 projects globally. Notably, it has directly benefited over 5,000 journalists, 1,500 lawyers and 200 non-governmental organizations.


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