In journalism, technology has always been a transformative force. Major technological innovations, such as the production of mobile, immersive, and data stories, have restructured work processes and reshaped journalistic outputs.
While technological advancements are seamlessly integrated into the news production process, tensions arise due to various concerns about technology’s impact on ethics, job security, and information integrity.
With COVID emphasizing the significance of the internet, female journalists must understand the importance of staying informed about the ongoing internet transformation that affects their work.
Pollicy organized a two-day training for female journalists and social communicators in collaboration with KICTANet, the Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK), and the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT).
It was done at the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, East Africa Nairobi offices, from 28th February 2023 to 1st March 2023. The future of work training for women journalists and social communicators focused on increasing digital safety for women at work and combating gender misinformation online.
Gendered misinformation and Digital Security and Safety Online
The session was opened by Grace Githaiga, CEO and convenor of KICTAnet. She believes journalists should participate in social media platforms by posting their work and remaining consistent and active.
Understanding gender misinformation and digital media literacy, a minimum level of knowledge or skill required for using technology or the internet for journalists and social communicators, is critical in creating and maintaining a social media account. This is because more people want to get on social media platforms, which increases their likelihood of engaging on social media.
According to the statistics that she shared during the discussion, in Kenya, mobile, internet, and social media use was 17.86 million by the beginning of 2023, with internet penetration at 32.7% and 10.55 million social media users. By early 2023, 63.94 million mobile phone connections were active, accounting for 117.2% of the population.
Furthermore, during the group discussion on gender misconceptions, participants addressed the issue of misogyny, particularly among female journalists and social communicators. Some of the concerns raised included the challenges for women seeking to develop their careers, while facing sexual harassment from colleagues.
Those who succeed in moving up the career ladder are perceived to have taken advantage of the sex work culture at the expense of other families.
Social media harassment, particularly of popular female journalists, is also a major issue that affects aspiring female journalists who want to pursue a career in journalism.
As a result, broadcast journalist Cecilia Maundu (broadcast journalist and digital security trainer), a vocal opponent of online gender-based violence, addressed the issue by encouraging journalists to engage in two well-known cyber hygiene practices.
Online safety tips include:
- Using unique passwords for each account.
- Two-factor authentication.
- Sharing and using a password manager.
The second tip is risk management, which includes identifying and determining all risk assets of technology infrastructure, assessing those assets by implementing an approach to them and identifying security risks for critical assets, enforcing security controls for each risk, and implementing tools to minimize threats in your organizations as journalists and social communicators.
Also, she encouraged the participants to watch her podcast on “Digital security training”, called digital dada, which focuses on “Online gender-based violence and digital security.”
Irene Mwendwa, Director of Strategic Initiative and Feminist Movement Building Program at Pollicy, encouraged the participants to play the “Digital Safety” game, which is based on young African women who present scenarios to learn about existing and emerging digital safety issues, to inform the populace about existing and emerging digital safety issues.
As the world prepares to celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD2023), all social media users are encouraged to protect themselves online and to engage in non-toxic behaviours both offline and online.
During the opening of the workshop, Grace encouraged participants to engage in the ATINGI platform developed by KICTANET with the support of the GIZ; where module 5 of the Digital Enquirer Kit is on online gender-based violence (OGBV), the policy brief is on digital safety online, and others are comic strips and even podcast sessions on the online experiences of women who ran in the 2022 election to help you learn more about the digital world.
As a result, it is critical to embrace digital media literacy while practising proper cyber hygiene.