Death threats. Racist taunts. Vows of violence. Inside the increasingly personal attacks targeting Canadian female journalists, a picture is emerging of an ugly, divisive world we have allowed to flourish at the expense of our basic freedoms.
From the U.S. to Europe the world over, journalists are now being threatened and intimidated through the use of social media. The latest victim of harassment is freelance journalist Emily Cochrane, who penned a story about her personal experience of being harassed in New Zealand. After Cochrane wrote about the experience, she received angry messages and death threats that she says has been the worst she has ever experienced.
In an email to us, Cochrane provided the following in the hope that the international community would help support her and others.
“I’m deeply saddened by this latest wave of attacks against me and my family.
“I’ve never heard my story shared before. I’ve never heard anyone else tell it. It’s difficult to express the depth of my pain.
“I am terrified by these threats. Terrified of my reaction, terrified of the backlash. People are telling me I need to die, as if that’s a crime. I do not want to die. I cannot lose my job; I need that. It is my job to report this story. It is my responsibility to share this story.
“I am a journalist, too. We are all entitled to the freedom of speech. My story is mine. It is my responsibility to tell it. I have spoken to others who have been harassed and faced personal threats. It’s difficult to recount it all.
“My hope is that this will serve as a wake-up call for other journalists to stand up against online abuse. But you have to also take note of the reality and also the politics around this.
“The reality is that what is happening is deeply troubling, profoundly disturbing and something that the Canadian media have an obligation to speak out about.
“As someone who is a New Zealander, who has a very strong interest in media freedom, especially online freedom,