In a two-day externship run by Pollicy with the confederacy of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television—Kenya (IAWRT Kenya) and Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK), women journalists have been urged to become the non-toxic, positive change they wish to see in the online spaces.

This training, dubbed ‘Future of Work,” concentrated on disseminating useful knowledge on the possible scenarios of the future of work for journalists as well as how digitization may affect online communities.

It has been observed that online gender-based violence has become a normalized trend, and the ripple effects of it have caused unimaginable harm to the victims. OGBV, especially against women, hampers the realization of gender equality and violates human rights. It is therefore our individual responsibility to create safe and enabling online spaces, especially for women.

Speaking during the training, Cecilia Maundu, a staunch activist against online-based violence and a digital security expert and mentor, encouraged all not to shy away from social media but to responsibly and cautiously use their platforms to promote the social good. “As we steadily move into the digital world, do not be scared of social media. Just be cautious as you interact with it,” she urged.

In most progressive countries, gendered disinformation has become a grievous issue that has largely paralyzed the seamless progression and advancement, especially of women with higher public profiles and those in positions of authority.

‘For journalists, gendered disinformation campaigns are especially effective when combined with other forms of attacks, such as online abuse and harassment, which aim at silencing their voice in public.’ Said Grace Githaiga, Internet Governance and Tech Policy Thought Leader at KICTANet. She went further to encourage women journalists to remain unruffled and keep their heads up in pursuit of their careers despite the challenges and online attacks that are likely to befall them.

Responsively, victims of gendered disinformation and other forms of OGBV have been advised to use various protection and guide mechanisms to conquer the negative and overwhelming impacts that may arise from them. Such included the use of online harassment manuals, self-validation, guidance and counseling, and attending gender-responsive training offered both online and offline.

To inform the populace about existing and emerging digital safety issues, Pollicy encouraged all to play the ‘Digital Safe tea” game hosted on their official website. Digital Safety is an interactive fiction game based on the stories of young African women that present scenarios to learn about existing and emerging digital safety issues.

As the world prepares to mark this year’s International Women’s Day, all social media users are encouraged to become the safe and non-toxic change they wish to see on the platforms. Digital safety starts at the individual level.

IAWRT Kenya is a global nonprofit professional organization of women working in electronic, Technology, and allied media. IAWRT Kenya has over 2000 members spread across media houses and other like-minded organizations. IAWRT strives to support the professional development of members through the exchange of ideas, experiences, and technical knowledge. It also strives to meet urgent global challenges faced by women in and around the media industry.

By, Raylenne Kambua

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