Online harassment of women in journalists in Finland has already gone too far, Johanna Vehkoo, a journalist and the author of a recent book on online misogyny called The Internet of Hate and Loathing, says in a new video interview with the International Press Institute.
The book collects the stories of several women in different professions who have encountered online violence, goes through academic research on online hate and gives tips and suggestions on how targets can protect themselves.
“In my interviews I’ve already spoken to quite a few women who now think twice before they publish something or before they tweet about something”, Vehkoo says. “They’re afraid that something might happen.
Vehkoo also analyses the identities of perpetrators. In addition to trolls – anonymous bullies who act without a particular ideology – Vehkoo says there is a second group of online users who attack journalists and others with death threats or similarly serious comments without necessarily knowing that their actions are illegal. In some cases, Vehkoo notes, these users are “coerced” by radical online discussion forms into believing that they can make statements or threats that are actually illegal under Finnish law.
Vehkoo also appears in IPI’s new documentary on the online abuse of women journalists in Europe and the U.S., “A Dark Place”, which premiered on December 10 in Vienna.
Filming and production: Javier Luque
Film editing: Austin Kirch