Online threats and violence have become entrenched in Iraq and are increasingly threatening political processes and prospects for democracy. Journalists, activists and those campaigning for change to what has become a deep-rooted corrupt political system. Individuals calling powers to account in its many forms are all facing online intimidation for their efforts. The protest movement and related political actors have been subjected to campaigns of online harassment. These consist of mis - and disinformation campaigns aimed at discrediting and undermining those who seek change. With significant resistance to this change from some sectors and actors, prospects for significant change continue to diminish in Iraq.
Democracy thrives when a plurality of voices are heard online. Yet, one particular group of voices has come under attack in the most disturbing and dangerous of ways. Female journalists and bloggers throughout the globe are being inundated with threats of murder, rape, physical violence and graphic imagery via email, com‐ menting sections and across all social media platforms.
Across the globe, media industries suffer from a significant gender pay gap and gender-based discrimination and harassment. Women are underrepresented in media professions in some contexts, a challenge particularly evident at the decision-making level. This is aggravated by inequalities - in newsrooms and society - that are increasingly mirrored in media content wherein women and men are often framed in stereotypical ways. In addition, gender-based inequalities often intersect with other forms of discrimination.This briefing note is designed to give readers a basic understanding of the role of media regulatory and self- regulatory systems in promoting gender equality and inclusion. The note is aimed at media practitioners who do not necessarily have a deep understanding of the field of gender in media development; it also aims to be of interest to and relevance for women’s rights organisations, other civil society organisations, and those who want to push for gender equality and inclusion in and through the media.