Half the Story is Never Enough: Threats Facing Women Journalists

By November 17, 2020 November 23rd, 2020 No Comments

This November 17, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESCO), World Press Freedom Canada and Journalists for Human Rights are proud to launch a unique collection of papers written by women journalists from across the globe.

The three organizations have invited three leading women journalists, Nisreen Anabli of Syria, Sandra Bashengezi of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Karyn Pugliese of the Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation in Ontario to write papers on challenges they face as journalists and ways the international community can work with them to help mitigate those challenges. The collection is framed by a paper from Journalists for Human Rights executive director Rachel Pulfer.

Quote: “The safety of women journalists is a central concern for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO. While both men and women journalists face threats to their safety, women are disproportionately targeted. These threats can range from discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace, to online violence, to sexual violence,” said Canadian Commission for UNESCO Secretary General Sébastien Goupil. “These threats have a silencing effect that diminishes freedom of speech and perpetuates inequalities. A free and representative press, including the voices of women journalists, is essential for both the future of democracy and for achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

Quote: “World Press Freedom Canada works to highlight the importance of an robust and independent media, both at home and internationally. But press freedom is a hollow concept unless women – and indeed all marginalized people – fully participate in and have access to media in order to make their voices heard,” WPFC President Shawn McCarthy said. “We know from experience as well as from industry studies that women journalists face more online harassment and personal threats than their male colleagues. We all need to work hard to protect them.”

“Journalists for Human Rights works to ensure human rights awareness worldwide. We do this work by training journalists on covering human rights stories ethically and objectively,” says Rachel Pulfer, executive director of Journalists for Human Rights. “When we don’t prioritize women and girls’ stories, voices and rights, we are not hearing from half of humanity. JHR is very proud to work with CCUNESCO and World Press Freedom Canada on this collection of papers that helps brings balance to that equation by giving these courageous and inspiring women the platform they deserve.”

The papers are co-published by the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and World Press Freedom Canada, both based in Ottawa, and Journalists for Human Rights, based in Toronto. They enable these women to present insights and findings on the theme of challenges for women journalists. For the collection of papers, please see or