INSI joins with tech companies to combat online harassment of journalists

The International News Safety Institute (INSI) is today announcing the launch of an unprecedented project in cooperation with Facebook and Google to tackle online harassment against journalists.

Over the course of 2020, the more than 40 news organisations that make up INSI will engage with the technology companies in a series of ground-breaking, strategic meetings to address this issue and its detrimental impact on the news media industry. The project’s goal is to develop joint, practical, real world solutions to combat online abuse against journalists.

“I’m thrilled that Facebook and Google have committed to supporting and working with us on this project,” said Elena Cosentino, INSI's director. “This kind of cooperation is essential if we are to make any progress in protecting journalists from the threats and abuse that are affecting their work and their lives and driving some out of journalism altogether, particularly women.” 

This initiative is unique as it promises to provide something that doesn’t currently exist: an open communications channel, specifically dedicated to online safety, between the world’s largest news outlets and the companies that operate the platforms where much of the abuse is posted.

“We take journalists’ safety very seriously at Facebook and are proud to work with INSI to identify workable and scalable solutions for journalists and newsrooms to protect them from online harassment,” said Jesper Doub, director of Facebook news partnerships, EMEA.

"Given the importance of journalism to open societies everywhere, we want to ensure that news publishers and individual journalists are equipped with the tools they need to be successful, and safe, while doing their work,” said Matt Cooke, head of partnerships and training, Google News Lab

The initiative developed by popular demand out of a series of landmark meetings INSI organised between its members and Google, Facebook and Twitter in 2018. 

At the end of the 12-month cooperation project, funded by Facebook and Google, INSI will publish best practice guidelines for dealing with online harassment that will be shared with the wider media industry in several languages.

INSI’s members include the world’s leading news organisations at national as well as international level, including the BBC, CNN, Reuters, Swedish Radio, AP, Al Jazeera, Radio France, the New York Times. INSI’s core mission is to encourage and support strategic cooperation initiatives for the protection of news media workers and journalism itself.

Image by AFP