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PEN America launches Online Harassment Field Manual

PEN America has created an online field manual resource to address the rapid rise in the harassment and trolling of US writers and journalists.

The manual was created in response to a survey PEN America conducted on the impact of online harassment on writers, where 67% of respondents reported severe reactions to facing online harassment, including ‘fearing for their safety or the safety of their loved ones; refraining from publishing their work; and/or permanently deleting their social media accounts’.

The manual provides advice, guidance and resources on understanding and combating cyberstalking, doxing and hate speech. The charity said it was created to ‘fortify’ writers and journalists with the best available means to protect themselves and secure their freedom to write.

The report also includes advice for witnesses to online harassment, allies who wished to stand in solidarity with targeted writers, and employers or institutions who want to implement best practices in hiring and supporting these writers.

Laura Macomber, PEN America journalism and press freedom project manager, told the Guardian: ‘Those facing online harassment must make an impossible decision: engage and put themselves at risk, or disconnect and miss out on important online discourse.’ ‘Our goal is to equip writers and their allies—especially those whose livelihoods are at stake—with resources to push back against online hatred and harassment, so they can continue to do their jobs,’ said Macomber.

To read the field manual, visit the PEN website.


Category: International news