UK: More than 100 media leaders call for better police response to online abuse of women journalists

More than 100 journalists and media leaders in the United Kingdom have joined Reporters Without Borders, Women in Journalism and Reach in signing an open letter calling for a change in the way police respond to online violence against women in the industry.


The letter, sent on International Women’s Day (8 March) to police leads and politicians on the National Committee for the Safety of Journalists, calls for a more consistent police approach to handling, recording and reporting on online crimes against women journalists. It also highlights the frequency and impact of online abuse, and warns of its damaging impact on diversity and press freedom. 


Online violence against women journalists – often sexualised or misogynistic – has risen alarmingly in recent years and can have a devastating psychological and professional impact: research shows that significant numbers of women consider leaving journalism altogether. It’s vital that police step up and work with the industry to ensure victims are supported and perpetrators brought to account. No one should have to suffer abuse because of their job.

Fiona O'Brien
UK Director, Reporters Without Borders

Among the signatories are broadcasters including ITN Chief Executive Rachel Corp, STV Chief Executive Simon Pitts; editors from a wide range of UK newspapers including Eoin Brannigan (The Belfast Telegraph), Maria Breslin (Liverpool Echo), Chris Evans (The Telegraph), Tony Gallagher (The Times), Dylan Jones (Evening Standard), Gary Jones (The Express), Victoria Newton (The Sun), Katharine Viner (The Guardian) and Caroline Waterston (The Mirror); representatives from media organisations including the Committee to Protect Journalists, English PEN, the International Center For Journalists, the National Union of Journalists,  the News Media Association and The Rory Peck Trust; and individual journalists including Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Carole Cadwalldr, Alex Crawford, Lindsey Hilsum, Christina Lamb, Sangita Myska and Robert Peston.

The UK is ranked 26th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2023 World Press Freedom Index.

See the full list of signatories and read the letter here. 

Published on