IMS’ work to prevent sexual misconduct

In a time where media and workplaces are increasingly focusing on internal processes and policies to prevent harassment and sexual harassment, IMS has created an overview of existing guidelines and recommendations, including IMS’ position.

IMS strives to be a working environment free of bullying, harassment, victimisation and discrimination. We work to promote dignity and respect for all and to be a place where individual differences and the contributions of all staff are recognised and valued.

IMS has a zero-tolerance attitude against harassment and discrimination. We encourage all employees to report all violations, oblige all employees to report exploitation and abuse, take all reports seriously and have a well-established mechanism to investigate reports on exploitation, abuse and harassment.

Our ethical standards apply both within IMS and in partner organisations that we enter contractual relationships with. The aim is for our workforce to be representative of society and our beneficiaries, and for each employee to feel respected and able to develop in their professional role to their full potential.

Walking the talk

To ensure that the ethical standards are implemented in practice, we have developed – and continuously update – the following guidelines and practical measures:

Code of Ethics

IMS Code of Ethics clearly state that IMS has a zero-acceptance attitude against harassment and discrimination. Any entity or individual entering into agreement with IMS are expected to abide by IMS’ Code of Ethics, which states that:

“IMS has zero tolerance against sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is understood as unwanted nonverbal, verbal or physical conduct of sexual nature. Employees, partners, beneficiaries or others, who are subjected to sexual harassment, are encouraged to report according to the procedure in IMS anti-harassment policy. Clear policies and procedures must be implemented, to ensure professional handling of internal reports of sexual harassment. Entities partnering with IMS must immediately inform IMS of any and all internal claims or cases of sexual harassment, -exploitation or -abuse.”

The IMS Code of Ethics is available here (in English, French and Arabic), on IMS’ intranet and as part of IMS’ onboarding procedures.

Policy on Harassment, Sexual Harassment and Bullying

IMS’ policy on harassment, sexual harassment and bullying clarifies in detail how IMS defines harassment, sexual harassment and bullying as well as all the steps that an employee can expect in the process following a complaint on one of these issues. It covers both oral and written complaints, formal and informal procedures as well as disciplinary and grievance policy and procedure. In cases of sexual misconduct, IMS follows the CHS Alliance guidelines.

IMS advises partners on developing policies and processes to support a safe, inclusive and respectful workplace environment. This also covers a workplace policy on gender equality and diversity.

Policy on Gender Equality and Diversity

In agreement with IMS’ policy on gender and diversity, IMS has taken following actions:

-Incorporated the sexual harassment policy into the IMS HR policy and practice

-Provided training and information to all staff to ensure that all staff members are well informed about what constitutes harassment and discrimination as well as the report mechanisms and disciplinary measures

-Conducted trainings of all staff who are in position to receive harassment complaints or investigate cases of harassment

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Partner Questionnaire

At the onset of new partnerships, specific questions are posed in a partner questionnaire in relation to whether mechanisms exist to prevent and respond to sexual harassment exploitation and abuse, as well as on the presence or absence of guidelines and policies such as code of ethics. This is in order to identify gaps and potential areas of development.

Partner Admin Guidelines

IMS’ partner admin guidelines are available for all partners. Partners are expected to abide by the standards presented in the guidelines which state the following:

“IMS is responsible for promoting fair and ethical management and business practices. The principles that guide this promotion shall be observed and followed by all IMS employees as well as partners in all aspects of the implementation of activities. IMS will only engage in partnerships with entities that observe ethical standards during the execution of their activities. Partners should refer to IMS’ Code of Ethics, available on the IMS website.”            

and

“IMS considers gender equality an integral part of media development without which the media’s democratic role and impact cannot be fully achieved. As such, the planning, implementation and evaluation of all IMS supported programmes, partnerships and interventions are expected to demonstrate gender sensitivity. Partners are expected to strive for gender equality within their organizations, as well as in activities, and should discuss their gender capacity needs with IMS. IMS will avail technical support to partners on gender considerations as necessary.  

IMS has a zero-tolerance attitude against harassment, discrimination and exploitation. Partners are expected to develop anti-harrassment and discrimination policies, and to strive for working environments free of bullying, harassment, victimisation and discrimination, promoting dignity and respect for all. Employees are encouraged to report all violations, and management is expected to take all reports seriously and establish mechanisms to investigate reports on harassment and discrimination.”  

Commitments to Prevent and Respond to Sexual Misconduct in the Danish Civil Society Sector

IMS adheres to the standards of the commitments created within PSEA workgroup (led by the association of Danish CSOs working for development cooperation, Globalt Fokus) in which IMS participated.

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Report: Safety of Women Journalists – Breaking the Cycle of Silence and Violence

IMS works with all its partners to address all instances of sexual harassment and any other forms of misconduct if and when they arise. We also assist partners in developing work cultures that discourage any such behaviour and help develop event and organisational rules for ethical behaviour, anti-harassment policies and regulations that urge equality and respect among all individuals regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or belief, and economic or social background. These efforts also include a recent report by IMS, which assesses how women in media are being targeted and how journalism is impacted by gender specific harassment and violence.

The report discusses the challenges and existing efforts to improve the safety and protection of women journalists in nine countries with a view to informing debate and actions by media owners and editors, policy makers, press freedom organizations and journalists.


If you have any questions on IMS’ procedures or approaches, please contact info@mediasupport.org