Webinar: Journalism during #MeToo – editorial insights and ethical considerations

What have we learned about media’s coverage so far? How should media – an important catalyst in the social media driven feminist movement – balance their ethical and journalistic obligations?

It has been three years since The New York Times published the accusations against Harvey Weinstein that sparked the global #MeToo movement – but its global echo is far from silent. In 2020, new waves of accusations of online/offline sexual harassment and gender-based violence surged in the media with profound resonance across countries in North Africa and most recently in Denmark.

#MeToo allegations typically begin with individuals sharing private stories and anonymous accusations of sexual harassment and abuse on social media – which constitutes a grey zone between private and public – that are later picked up by media, creating many specific media challenges in relation to ethics and regulations.

In this webinar IMS has invited an experience panel of media editors and media ethics researchers to discuss important questions such as: what have we learned about media’s coverage so far? How should media – an important catalyst in the social media driven feminist movement – balance their ethical and journalistic obligations? 

Experiences from North Africa and Scandinavia

In North Africa, the emergence of hashtags such as #EnaZeda and #Collectif490 have created movements stemming from individuals and collectives who use social media to document and share testimonies of  gender-based violence in what can be described as the Arab region’s #MeToo moment of reckoning.  In Egypt, a number of high-profile sexual harassment cases have been at the forefront of public debate during recent months, some involving media professionals.

In Denmark, a new powerful wave of debate on sexism and sexual harassment has swept over the country, first in the industry media and later across all sectors. After accusations of sexual abuse, several male politicians have since decided to step back, among others the now former Lord Mayor of Copenhagen Frank Jensen, who have accused the media of conducting a manhunt and contributing to a serious undermining of the rule of law.

In Sweden, the editorial decisions that were made back in 2017 to publish #MeToo testimonies and reveal, directly or indirectly, the identity of the alleged perpetrators have had far reaching consequences. Allegations in the media against Benny Fredriksson, CEO of the Stockholm City Theatre, eventually led to his suicide, and the story’s reporting has since been under scrutiny. During and in the aftermath of the #MeToo wave in 2017, Sweden has seen a unprecedented high number of substantiated complaints about violations of media ethics.  

Meet the panelists

Lina Atallah, Chief Editor of the Egyptian independent online media Mada Masr. Lina Atallah was recently named one of 2020s most influential people by TIME Magazine

Mette Davidsen-Nielsen, Chief Cultural Editor of Politiken, one of Denmark’s largest newspapers, and former CEO of Dagbladet Information

Torbjörn von Krogh, PhD in journalism and researcher in media ethics at Mid Sweden University. His reserach focuses mainly on media ethics, media accountability and media self-regulation. Torbjörn von Krogh worked as a journalist and an editor for 35 years and was a co-founder of the Swedish Association for Investigative Journalism

Dr. Rania Said, PostDoc Fellow University of Massachusetts Boston and PhD in comparative literature. Her research focuses on women’s life narratives of the Arab Uprisings. Dr. Rania Said became involved with the #EnaZeda movement in Tunisia in 2019

Opening remarks: Andreas Reventlow, IMS Deputy Director

IMS Moderation: Preethi Nallu, Journalist and IMS Advocacy Specialist


2 Dec 2020, 15.00 CET


Link: https://zoom.us/j/99226207619

Password: 733923

Please note that the event will be recorded.


Media professionals, researchers and those affiliated to civil society with interest in the topic of #MeToo’s convergence with ethical journalism, gender justice and social media activism are invited to get not only food for thought, but also practical guidance for future decisions and development of editorial approaches. For audiences interested in media and #MeToo coverage the webinar is an opportunity to gain insights into the decision making and ethical considerations in the newsroom.

The webinar is part of the International 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign 2020.

The webinar will be held in English.

IMS’ gender approach

Societies are not peaceful without gender equality, and public interest media cannot contribute to a vibrant and inclusive civic space if they perpetuate or reinforce gender inequalities. Therefore, IMS’ gender approach advocates for public interest content and media that address the needs and interests of all genders. In line with Article 19 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, IMS works to ensure that all genders will have the same rights to freedom of expression and access to information. IMS also recognises the intersectionality of genders and identities. IMS adopts a broad understanding of gender issues to include men and masculinities as men are also affected by harmful gender stereotypes and norms that the media can perpetuate and reinforce. IMS’ commitment to gender equality in and through the media is summarised as:

  • Developing gender-sensitive policies and practices in media houses that encourage women’s participation in media production
  • Ensuring that all women and men as well as members of marginalised groups have access to public interest content that is relevant to and representative of them
  • Promoting ethical and diverse public interest content that is gender-sensitive and transformative