Protecting journalists from harassment: Comparing existing protection mechanisms and the effects on democracy

Alice Baroni, Leen d’Haenens, Wai Han Lo

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


There is a quickly increasing body of studies and reports on harassment and intimidation of journalists around the world. These series of acts have a chilling effect on media freedom and journalists’ freedom of expression. The research literature on the topic has mostly focused on intimidation and harassment of journalists – particularly sexual harassment of women journalists – or journalists’ experiences of online harassment, and the impact on press censorship. In this chapter, we contribute to the debate by exploring the nexus between the harassment of journalists and the protection mechanisms adopted by leading news media organisations, professional journalism associations and other institutions, and national governments. We then discuss the effects on democracy in the 18 countries participating in the 2021 Media for Democracy Monitor (MDM). Our findings indicate how legal support and protection mechanisms might enhance journalists’ capacity to realise the news media’s democratic role in practice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSuccess and Failure in News Media Performance
Subtitle of host publicationComparative Analysis in The Media for Democracy Monitor 2021
EditorsJosef Trappel, Tales Tomaz
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9789188855589
ISBN (Print) 9789188855572
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

User-Defined Keywords

  • online harassment
  • safety of journalists
  • violence against journalists
  • press freedom
  • anti-harassment mechanisms


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