BIRN Investigation Presented at MFRR Summit 2023

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BIRN’s investigation into abuse and harassment against women journalists in Greek media was presented at the MFRR Summit 2023, ‘Press Freedom on the Line’.

Illstration: BIRN/Igor Vujcic

BIRN’s investigation, “Code of Silence: Fear, Stigma Surrounding Abuse of Greek Women Journalists”, about abuse and harassment against women journalists in Greek media was presented in the first day of the Media Freedom Rapid Response, MFRR, Summit 2023.

“Press Freedom on the Line” from March 29-31, 2023, was the title of this year’s MFRR Summit. The online conference hosted in-depth discussions on journalist safety, media capture, the rule of law, and SLAPPs.

Panel discussions, live interviews and keynote speeches with journalists, media freedom experts, policy-makers and other stakeholders all working to defend press freedom participated in the three-day conference.

Neus Vidal, Monitoring Officer at the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, interviewed journalist Eleni Stamatoukou on the findings of BIRN’s investigation into the abuse of women journalists, on how “a code of silence” prevents cases from coming to light and the importance of giving a voice to survivors.

“These [abusive] behaviours were passed from previous generations. People needed to be tough or cruel to survive in this [media] environment. If there is no policy in place, or no training, this behaviour will affect not only women but men and minority groups,” Stamatoukou told Vidal.

BIRN’s research “Code of Silence”, published in December 2022, disclosed that female journalists are often afraid to report incidents of abuse and harassment and ignore the procedures. At the same time, most media in Greece do not have the means to handle such cases.

BIRN covered incidents over almost 30 years, from 1993 to 2021, documented through interviews with current and former media industry workers. More than 90 per cent of respondents said that they had been victims of harassment. The youngest victim was 17 years old, the oldest 62.

BIRN in January 2022 published the report “Women in Newsrooms: Perspectives on Equity, Diversity and Resilience”, on the position of women in the press room regarding the trends, opportunities, and obstacles women journalists confront in the Balkan region. BIRN also has focus pages and reports on gender justice and press freedom.