On the occasion of International Women’s Day, on March 8, 2022, the Media Freedom Coalition (MFC) issued a call to combat sexual and gender-based violence, protect women journalists, and ensure the safety of women media workers, both online and offline.
Out of the 50 members participating, Lebanon was the only one that abstained from signing for the safety of women journalists.
The reason for this negative stance hasn’t been clarified, although it clearly reflects the gender-bias issues women have to cope with in Lebanon.
MFC shared that “many women journalists face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and gender-based violence because of other characteristics, including race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”
The coalition revealed that, according to a recent UNESCO study, “almost 75 percent of women journalists worldwide have experienced online gender-based violence.”
This move was called out by the Samir Kassir Eyes, Center for Media and Cultural Freedom at the Samir Kassir Foundation, and by Ann Dismorr, Ambassador of Sweden in Lebanon.
“Sad to see that Lebanon was the only country not to sign this for the safety of women journalists,” Ambassador Dismorr commented.
MFC is a cross-regional collaboration with 50 countries, including Australia, Canada, Ukraine, France, Germany, U.S., U.K., Japan, Korea, and many more across Europe, Africa, America, and Asia.
These 50 countries work together to advocate for media freedom and provide safety standards for media workers.
Lebanon has a long way to go to grant women their basic rights, including protection, as in the case of journalists, the right to work in any field, penalizing sexual predators preying on women in schools and workplaces, recognizing women as fully Lebanese when it comes to passing down their nationality to their children, and so on.