European Federation of Journalists

Finland: union issued a hate campaigns advice kit for journalists

The EFJ Finnish affiliate, the Union of Journalists in Finland (UJF), published an advice kit for journalists who are subject to online hate speech, also dedicated to colleagues and supervisors. This initiative came from the alarming observation that journalists are increasingly the targets of hate speech and orchestrated online abuse. The consequences on their work and mental health has to be taken seriously.

The UJF plays an important role in supporting their members victims of hate speech. “It’s sometimes been really tough, but it would have been a hundred times harder if the union hadn’t supported me.  I don’t know if I could have seen it through to the end without the union’s help,” said journalist Linda Pelkonen, who was the target of a wave of online harassment in 2015.

The advise kit was published last November as a pullout on the Finnish Union Magazine “Journalisti”, with the aim to have the poster displayed prominently in newsrooms. “We thought it was a good material, written by Johanna Vehkoo, a well known freelance journalist, herself targeted, and we thought it might be helpful to others than Finnish speakers as well. The reception has been very nice this far,” said  Juha Rekola, the UJF International Ombudsman.

So what to do if you are the target of a hate campaign? The recommendations are divided in three categories addressing journalists, but also supervisors and colleagues. Download it here (in PDF).

Credit photo: UJF.