“Hello monkey girls, black girls and maghribi who ask more than you deserve.” That’s what journalist Erica Ifill found in her work email on the morning of August 23. In addition to insulting her, moderate and progressive journalist Lisa LaFlamme is offended by her appearance, her ancestry and the positions she has taken — no matter how black she is.
No longer isolated cases, but an increasingly worrying phenomenon. Online abuse of female journalists is an increasingly tangible part of social media and particularly in Canada. In 2022, campaigns organized by groups of trolls targeting media professionals on the Internet, especially if they are African American or of other races, rose to thirteen. In August, journalists Erica Ifill and Saba Edizas received threatening emails, and at the end of the year, between 2021 and 2022, journalists’ mailboxes were heavily defaced.
“Monkey in Islamic society” is the subject of an email received from Saba Edizas. Text: “When are you going to shut your big black mouth?” It was precisely because of such threats that Saba had to leave Pakistan. “I get regular news every Friday so I can think about it over the weekend. What do you call a systematic and targeted hate campaign? Also, when are we going to stop talking and take action against people who threaten journalists? Been wondering this for a while. Alliance for Women in Journalism (CFWIJ), the Coalition for Women in Journalism, has been monitoring the situation of women in the information world since 2017 and advocating for better social justice.
Canada ranks third in the nightmare ranking of abuses against journalists, as monitored by the CFWIJ, but not alone. With 7% of the world total, the North American country ranks behind Turkey (68%) and Russia (14.5%). In 2021, the coalition announced feeding keyboard haters, well-known Canadian politician Maxime Bernier, who was unhappy with how the media covered his election campaign. They described Bernier’s party as full of white supremacists, and he ordered his supporters to ‘let them know what you think of the scandalous work of those stupid journalists’. Get it dirty ». Journalists, especially journalists, received insults and threats for days until Twitter blocked Bernier and demanded he remove the tweet. Christy Somos, a reporter for The Hill Times, published the email-affected scandal directly questioning the leader of the People’s Party of Canada.
On September 1, CFWIJ’s official response came: along with 46 other associations and newspapers, the NGO sent a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Toronto Police, the Ottawa Police, four federal ministers and the Attorney General. Ontario demands swift and decisive action against these systematic hate campaigns. “In many countries, countermeasures are taken against this type of behavior. We ask that the Canadian authorities and administration do the same. On August 25, Trudeau already expressed himself on the problem of insulting journalists, arguing that “hate has no place in this society and no journalist should be threatened for doing his job.”
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