Hybrid event
STOP: Crimes against Female Journalists

International Day to end Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists

From left to right: Wenika Wichaiwatthana (ThaiPBS), Vanessa Steinmetz (Regional Project Coordinator for The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom), and Eunice Barbara Novio (Correspondent for Inquirer.net)

The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom Southeast and East Asia, Asia Center, Engage Media, and Taiwan Foundation for Democracy have collaborated to organize a hybrid event entitled “STOP: Crimes against Female Journalists” on November 2nd, the International Day to end Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists . The event featured international speakers from Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and Cambodia.

Our speakers included: Wenika Wichaiwattana from Thailand (News anchor/reporter from Thai PBS), Uni Lubis from Indonesia (Chair and Editor-in-Chief of Indonesian Forum for Women Journalists (FJPI), Eunice Barbara Novio from the Philippines (Correspondent of Inquirer.net), and Sokheng Pa from Cambodia (News Reporter for Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM). The hybrid event illustrated that crimes against female journalists is a pressing and global issue. The moderator was Vanessa Steinmetz, Regional Project Coordinator for the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Southeast and East Asia.

During the event, our speakers spoke about their personal experiences and experiences of colleagues and friends who faced harassment, disinformation, defamation, and threats of rape, abduction, and violence.

“Women are expected to be silent,” said Wenika Wichaiwatthana, who has been covering local and international entertainment industries for ThaiPBS. “There are multiple factors that silences women from reporting their sexual harassment and abuse, factors such as their safety, prospects of their career path, and consequences to their reputation... What is even more sad, is that it is generally other women who tell them to be silent.”

Eunice Barbara Novio has had first-hand experiences of harassment by fellow Filipino Journalists in Thailand. At the event, she bravely shared with the audiences the threats and insults she had been subject to, which resulted in her insomnia and multiple health-related issues.

Uni Lubis, Chair of the forum for Indonesian Women Journalists (FPJI) and Editor-in-Chief of IDN Times, presented evidence that the increased digital domain has resulted in increased crimes related to defamation, disinformation and misinformation for female journalists. “Female journalists are ten times more likely to face bullying, when people disagree with them in social media” Thus, FPJI was created to provide resources for female journalists such as this article about self-defense. 

Our last speaker, Pa Sokheng, is a news reporter for the Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM). She reported that “out of 5,000 Cambodian journalists, only 470 are women and an even smaller number cover topics associated with politics, conflict, corruption and human rights.” Pa advocates more legal support for the security of individuals and their families.

Thank you to our friends at Asia Center for hosting this event. The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom is honoured to be associated with events that promote gender equality and journalistic excellence.