Women's Journal

Strengthening Safety Measures for Women Journalists in Cambodia

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Addressing Disproportional Risks and Building a Supportive Network

Globally, the challenges faced by women journalists and media workers are escalating, with a surge in offline and online attacks, exposing them to various forms of gender-based violence. From stigmatization to severe cases of physical assault and murder, the threats are pervasive.

A recent UNESCO report, titled ‘The Chilling,’ highlights the detrimental impact of these attacks on press freedom. In Cambodia, women journalists not only confront these disproportionate threats but also encounter limited access to gender-sensitive support services, including legal advice.

To combat this critical issue, the Women’s Media Centre of Cambodia has established the first Women Journalists’ Network in the country. This network provides a secure space for women journalists to address the threats they face, offering essential gender-sensitive legal advice, counseling, and peer support. With 45 members currently, the Cambodian Women Journalists’ Network has conducted successful meetings covering topics such as stress reduction, professional reporting, investigative coverage best practices, and the unique challenges faced by women journalists.

In preparation for the national elections, the Centre organized a special session providing insights into specific issues female reporters should be mindful of during electoral campaigns. Emphasizing the crucial role, rights, and responsibilities of journalists, the session highlighted the importance of disseminating accurate information to the public during election periods. UNESCO’s issue brief on violence against journalists during elections globally reveals that women constitute 29% of the total number attacked during these periods.

Since 2021, UNESCO and the Women’s Media Centre of Cambodia have collaborated to enhance the safety of women journalists by providing gender-responsive access to legal assistance through the Global Media Defence Fund. Established in 2019 within the framework of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, this fund has supported over 120 projects globally, directly benefiting over 5,000 journalists, 1,500 lawyers, and 200 non-governmental organizations.