(NEW YORK)–The Coalition Against Online Violence (CAOV) today announces the launch of the #ElectSafely campaign to support journalists and newsrooms worldwide during this tumultuous 2024 election year.  Spearheading the campaign are the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF), PEN America, and Right to Be.

The initiative provides crucial resources and guidance to protect against online abuse and other intimidation tactics aimed at the press. Running from June to December 2024, the campaign reaffirms the CAOV’s commitment to safeguarding journalists facing online violence and other safety challenges via free and low cost webinars, in-person training, and resources for journalists, their employers, and allies.

With elections taking place in 64 countries, representing nearly half the world’s population, journalists face heightened risks this year, including online abuse, hate speech, and threats of violence. Online attacks endanger individual journalists while undermining democratic processes by making it more dangerous to provide critical information, conduct investigative reporting, and hold those in power to account.

“Protecting journalists is crucial to maintaining a free press and a functional democracy,” said Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies. “The CAOV’s #ElectSafely campaign will get the word out about the incredible work Coalition members are doing to ensure that journalists can continue working without fear of online violence and intimidation. In a critical global election year, this initiative is vital to preserving the integrity of news media.”

Journalists, particularly those from historically marginalized communities, are disproportionately targeted for their work and identities. Women, people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, and members of religious and ethnic minorities face intensified online harassment. This abuse threatens press freedom, jeopardizes the integrity of news media, and undermines equity and inclusion across the industry. The mental and emotional toll on journalists, along with risks to their safety and livelihoods, highlights the urgent need for initiatives like #ElectSafely.

A global study by UNESCO and the International Center for Journalists in 2020 revealed alarming statistics: 73% of women journalists experienced online violence, 25% faced threats of physical violence, and 18% encountered sexual violence. Moreover, 20% of women journalists reported offline attacks preceded by online abuse. These findings emphasize the pervasive nature of online abuse and the critical necessity of the CAOV’s mission to bring organizations together to offer robust support and solutions.

CAOV is a coalition of more than 85 global organizations dedicated to combating online violence against women journalists. Supported by Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Emerson Collective, Knight Foundation, and Luminate Group, and founded by the International Women’s Media Foundation, CAOV provides support to bolster digital security and empower the news media to protect journalists.

About PEN America

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. Learn more at pen.org.

Contacts: Malka Margolies, [email protected]; Suzanne Trimel, [email protected], 201-247-5057

About IWMF

The International Women’s Media Foundation is the only global organization built to serve the holistic needs of women and nonbinary journalists. We are an ambitious, bold and inclusive foundation that supports journalists where they are with awards, reporting opportunities, fellowships, grants, safety training and emergency aid. As one of the largest supporters of women-produced journalism, our transformative work strengthens equal opportunity and press freedom worldwide. Follow the IWMF on Twitter at @IWMF, on Facebook at @IWMFPage, and Instagram on @TheIWMF.

About Right To Be

Right to Be is a people-powered movement working to build a world free of harassment and filled with humanity. We are a team of educators, motivators, and facilitators who are listening, guiding, and cheering you on. Every day, we train hundreds of people to respond to, intervene in, and heal from harassment. We hold space for people experiencing harassment to share their stories for affirmation and support. And we prepare new leaders to create workplaces, schools, and communities around the world that are filled with humanity. For more information on how you can get involved, visit www.righttobe.org. Follow Right To Be on Twitter and Facebook at @righttobeorg.

For more information on the #ElectSafely campaign, visit CAOV’s website or email: [email protected]