Every third journalist in Latvia has experienced threats, insults, and public discrediting – survey
Every third journalist in Latvia has experienced insults, humiliation, and public discrediting. This is evidenced by the data of the Worlds of Journalisms Study (WJS) (RSU/SKDS, 2021), the results of which were shared by mass media ombudswoman Anda Rozukalne, Delfi reports.
78% of the journalists interviewed within the scope of the survey admitted that they have been subjected to insults or hate speech (18% have faced this often or very often), 72% have had their work publicly discredited (13% often or very often), and 14% of the respondents have been victims of harassment.
Another 36% of journalists reported experiencing other types of threats or intimidation, 48% responded that their personal morals have been questioned, 23% of respondents have had their personal details used for fabricated stories, 24% have had their personal information leaked, 24% of the respondents reported having to deal with lawsuits due to their work, and another 12% of the journalists have experienced persecution and intimidation.
Following harassment or attacks, 63% of the interviewed Latvian journalists have received support from their media organization and almost as many (64%) felt understanding and support from their colleagues. Less often it was provided by journalist organizations (14%), non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that support journalists (7%), or public institutions (8%).
Journalists of regional and local mass media make up almost a third of the respondents (137 respondents, or 28%). Their responses to the survey show that 68% (11% – often or very often) of the journalists working in local media have received hostile comments about them, almost as many (63%) have had their work publicly discredited (9% – often or very often).
The survey showed that a third, or 30%, of the respondents has experienced stalking, one in five has had to resolve issues in court (8% – often or very often), the same number reported that their personal information has been leaked, 13% have been persecuted, 37% have experienced other types of threats or harassment.
According to the ombudswoman, in Latvia, journalists who specialize in investigations and analytics are being attacked and threatened most often.
She acknowledged that in Latvia, as in other countries, neither media organizations nor law enforcement agencies have yet developed any substantial strategies to help deal with the serious cases and prevent attacks, as well as to support media workers who are being regularly insulted or threatened online.
The media outlet reminds that in early 2020, Latvian professional mass media associations signed a memorandum on cooperation with the state police to inform about cases of threats against journalists that are related to their professional work.
In the European Commission's 2021 report, published on 13 July 2022, the Latvian section mentions that at the end of 2020 and in 2021 there had been no warnings on the Council of Europe Platform for the Promotion of Journalism and the Safety of Journalists about Latvia, but Latvian journalists were facing harassment in the online realm.
We will remind you that according to an IMI survey, 88% of Ukrainian media workers have faced Internet persecution (bot attacks, threatening emails, bullying, psychological pressure, etc.). 87% of those who have experienced cyberbullying associate it with their professional work.
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