Journalists urged to secure accounts Taking steps to ensure digital privacy and digital security is of vital importance

Phillipa Mukome-Chinhoi

Herald Correspondent

Journalists have been urged to be careful when conducting their business on digital media to avoid harassment and hacking of their accounts.

The journalists were also advised not to be intimated by negative comments towards their work which they post on social media when they create awareness on critical issues that affect readers.

This came out at a recent training workshop on digital and online harassment which was organised by Women in News. At the workshop, journalists were urged to ensure online safety as they conducted their business.

Addressing participants, Women in News advisory and MREL manager Ms Sheila Chimphamba said in a world where digital spaces were growing, online safety was crucial.

It was important for everyone to make sure they protected themselves from hackers and other intimidators by using stronger passwords, enable two-factor authentication and be cautious with how they shared personal information in digital spaces as most of those who hack and harass used personal details.

“There is a greater need to stay informed about online threats and how to deal with them by using privacy settings on social media, and report harassment promptly,” said Ms Chimphamba. 

“It is also essential that participants maintain safe digital spaces, while ensuring a safer and more respectful online environment for all.”

The objective of the training was to build capacity and understanding of the forms of online harassment journalists can face and also empower participants to recognise and prevent threats and to know effective strategies for responding to harassment.

“Above all, everyone’s online security is a personal responsibility. We need to be alert and also make sure we prioritise your safety at all cost. It is important to learn more on online safety and harassment practices to protect oneself in future,” she said.

Ms Chimphamba advised media organisations to avoid reporting issues which were against cyber laws of their countries.

These include transmitting data or messages inciting violence or damage to personal image and property, sending messages to another person threatening to harm them, or to harm their family and friends.

“As professionals, transmission of pictures without that person’s consent was illegal and also sending unsolicited messages to many people under false pretences,” she said.

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