OHS Canada Magazine

Canadian journalists face increasing harassment, bullying on the job: Unifor

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February 17, 2023
By OHS Canada

Health & Safety

Unifor Media Council launches a new media discussion paper—Breaking the News: Media Workers Under Attack—which focuses on confronting the increasing harassment of media workers. (CNW Group/Unifor)

Canadian journalists are facing increased harassment on the job, according to labour union Unifor.

“We hear stories from our media members all the time about the hate, racism, homophobia and misogyny they face on a daily basis, online and in-the-field,” said Unifor Media Council Chair Julie Kotsis.

It’s launching a new discussion paper — Breaking the News: Media Workers Under Attack — which focuses on confronting the increasing harassment of media workers.

“It’s important to not only put this harassment under a microscope, but examine what we, as a union, can do to support our members, lobby the government and news organizations and drive change to prevent and stop the abuse and harassment,” said Kotsis.

The discussion paper was released following the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression gala, where two Unifor media members received an award for their efforts in fighting against misogyny and their online abusers.


The discussion paper helps define harassment and how media workers face particular forms of harassment, finding women, workers of colour, Indigenous workers, Two-spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual+ (2SLGBTQIA+) workers and from other equity-deserving groups disproportionately affected by harassment, it said.

What’s driving harassment?

The paper also looks at what is driving harassment, the fundamental harm it has on democracy and silencing of journalists and Unifor’s multi-prong approach to confronting harassment, including supporting victims of harassment with practical, flexible and victim-focused supports, demanding accountability and promoting prevention and holding digital platforms accountable.

It examines the roles of media employers, media unions, journalism schools, and the criminal justice system as well as legislative regulatory solutions and harassment in Canada and abroad.

“This opens the discussion for government, employers and the public to gain a better understanding of the frequency and severity of the harassment that media workers are experiencing and how we move forward to eliminate the harassment and its effects,” said Randy Kitt, director of Unifor’s Media sector.

“Unifor Media Council has always supported our media members facing harassment and abuse with available resources including the anti-harassment survey we did and the Help is Here website.”

The downloadable policy paper is available online at Unifor.org and Unifor Media.

Watch the video

At Unifor’s Ontario Regional Council in December, the union debuted a video featuring media members speaking out against harassment on the job.

Unifor represents more than 10,000 media workers, including journalists in the broadcast and print news industry.


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