¡Basta! Sports Journalists in Spain Demand End to Abuse

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On a bad day, Maria Tikas receives four or five abusive online messages suggesting that she only got a job as a journalist because she offered sexual favors to her bosses.

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Some of the messages include graphic sexual images. Others suggest that a woman may know nothing about covering soccer. Play, a Spanish daily sports newspaper.

“You ain’t got an idea (about football), get back in the kitchen,” the Ticks read one of the messages Granthshala showed.


Ticas and other female journalists in Spain have gone public about the daily vitriol.

“Basta! Women journalists say enough!” This was the title of a double page article Play Last week, which details the experiences of 15 women covering the sport in a country where football is like an alternative religion.

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The article surfaced as a new law was going through the Spanish parliament that promises to tackle online sexual abuse for the first time.

Due to go into effect next year, the law will classify online abuse as sexual violence. Convicted offenders will also be fined or put under house arrest.

For the vaccine, and millions of other women, the law offers the hope that people will think twice before sending offensive messages.

“It’s not so bad when I report on women’s football, but it’s even worse when I write about men’s sports. The special thing is that I just got the job because I worked with the boss.” Had sex. Or they say I should scrub in the kitchen,” she told Granthshala.

Most of the abuse happens online, but Tikus says she also gets sexist comments at work. Some male sports agents — a key source for the stories — make sexually charged “objections,” she said.

However, the 24-year-old journalist says the abuse doesn’t stop him.

“No, it doesn’t make me think about quitting journalism. I block these messages. It bothers me more in general that women are still treated like this,” she said.

When Play As the article surfaced, it inspired a new dose of abuse, Ticas said.

“Some said we’re always saying that we suffer, that we complain too much, that we shouldn’t have equality because we’re not good enough.”

legal protection

from Spain sexual freedom draft law It has been called the “only yes means yes” law because of how it would change the criminal code regarding rape. Unless a person gives explicit consent to have sex, it will be considered rape. Previously, prosecutors in Spain had to prove that there was intimidation or violence.

“I hope this (law) will mean that Spain has left behind its long history of sexual violence against women,” Spain’s Equality Minister Irene Monteiro Gil told parliament when she introduced the law in June.

The law would also consider it a criminal offense “addressing another person with expressions, behavior or proposals of a sexual nature that create a purposefully abusive, hostile or intimidating situation for the victim.”

Monteiro stressed that harassment is not defined as a man praising a woman for her looks, but rather making lewd sexual remarks.

Digital domestic violence – revenge porn or sextortion, where a person threatens to release private images or material if the person does not comply with demands for sexual favors or money – will also be considered an offense punishable by fines or community service.

The government is urging social media platforms to adopt strategies to combat domestic violence and is trying to include social media influencers in this policy.

With 23-year-old sports journalist Lia Bonels NowCatalonia, a regional newspaper in northeastern Spain, says the law is welcome but not sufficient.

Like Ticus, Bonels regularly receives messages that she uses sexual favors or that she knows nothing about the game.

“On other occasions, men – athletes or agents – try to flirt with me and treat me like an object, rather than someone trying to do my job. This law can help, but women It will take a long time to change people’s attitudes about journalists.” Play, said.

Encarni Iglesias of the Stop Digital Gender Violence campaign group backs the new law, but says it may be impractical in practice.

“It’s one way, sure, but I think it would be easier for a judge or defense attorneys to dismiss these cases because how do you prove that someone tweeted? It’s easy to manipulate digital images.” is,” she told the Granthshala.

Ticus believes that education — not the new law — will prevent abuse.

“I don’t have much hope that a law changes things. Changing attitudes towards women in Spain will require education. We need to change the way children think,” she said.

Julie Posetti, global director of research at the International Center for Journalists, studied the effects of online violence on journalism.

“Our research has shown that it is not possible to solve this crisis through one measure,” she told Granthshala.

“Legal and legislative protections against online violence are an essential part of any effective response,” Posetti said. “And they need to target not only the perpetrators but also the mass facilitators and amplifiers of gender-based online violence: social media platforms.”

Posetti’s chief author was A recent study by UNESCO and International Center for Journalists which surveyed 901 journalists globally. They found that 73% of respondents had experienced violence online.

Online harassment can seriously affect journalists, Posetti said, adding that he is aware of several cases of journalists being treated for PTSD because of the harassment.

“The psychological harm faced by female journalists needs to be acknowledged as a serious consequence of online violence,” Posetti said.

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