New report finds majority of LGBTQ+ journalists targeted by hate speech and abuse

Graham Robson May 10, 2023

A new study from the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity (LHC) has found that LGBTQ+ journalists in the UK face a hostile environment, with many – especially trans journalists – encountering online harassment and abuse.

The research, which shows online abuse targeting journalists’ sexual orientation and gender identity has become commonplace, found that many LGBTQ+ journalists saw their roles as dangerous and wanted more support from senior colleagues. It also found that reporting on trans issues often led to high levels of abuse.

Finbarr Toesland, who collected data for LHC, said: “A concerning 76% of those journalists surveyed either disagreed (62%) or strongly disagreed (14%) that media organisations in the UK are adequately protecting LGBTQ+ journalists from harassment and abuse.

“If left unchecked, hate speech and abuse against LGBTQ+ journalists has the potential to create a chilling effect where journalists are either uncomfortable or afraid to report on vital issues of importance to LGBTQ+ people.

“Many professionals who took part in the study called for managing online threats to be included in journalism training, and further training for media executives on the impacts of abuse against journalists as well as better advice on combating abuse, especially in the digital space.”

The LHC is based at Birmingham City University. The report, entitled: ‘Are media organisations adequately protecting LGBTQ journalists from harassment and abuse?’, was put together by Toesland, who worked under the academic supervision of Dr Poppy Wilde from Birmingham City University’s school of media.

To see the report, CLICK HERE