Discussion on Online VAW Against Women Journalists Covering the Elections in Kenya

Various groups in Kenya talked on Twitter Spaces on July 7, 2022 to discuss the online violence women journalists are going through as they report on elections. Less than a month before the elections, there has been a surge in online violence against female journalists.

IAWRT Kenya member Cecilia Maundu served as the host/moderator and Toepista Nabusoba served as one of the panelists.

“As journalists, we’re increasingly expected to have an online presence and engage on social media, which puts us at risk of abuse. And now, with Kenya heading toward the elections, odds are high that attacks against journalists—online and off—will escalate. Abusive trolls join forces to send hateful messages, impersonate, hack accounts, and publish sensitive personal information, also known as doxing. Their ultimate goal is to intimidate, discredit, and silence journalists and undermine press freedom,” shared Maundu on the situation that prompted the discussion.

She said that despite this, there are concrete steps each of us can take to protect ourselves and fight back.

“Journalists need to be provided with resources to help protect their digital identities,” added Maundu.

The conversation was held in conjunction with launch of the Pen America Online Harassment Field Manual in Swahili https://onlineharassmentfieldmanual.pen.org/sw/

7th July was also Kiswahili world day and the organizers found this as the ideal day to launch this website.

“As digital security trainers, we have realized that it is important to have more resources in not only English but also in Swahili which is also a national language in Kenya. Not only will it serve the Kenyan community but also countries in the East African region that speak Swahili,” said Maundu.