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Online Attacks Against Journalists:
Know Your Rights

Legal guidance for journalists and newsrooms on how to deal with online harassment. 

This page provides journalists with country-specific legal guidance on how to deal with online harassment. This includes identifying punishable offences, seeking help from relevant organisations, and the steps involved in filing a complaint against perpetrators.

It covers online harassment of journalists in Australia, Brazil, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom (England and Wales) and the United States. 

Find out more about the laws in your country

Select a country from the dropdown or click on the map below to open the associated Know Your Rights resource. 

Interactive Guides:
PDF Resources:

Acknowledgements

This was commissioned by INSI and UNESCO and facilitated by the Thomson Reuters Foundation. The following law firms provided pro bono legal research: Baker McKenzieKLA – Koury Lopes AdvogadosSimmons & Simmons LLPArthur CoxPaul HastingsIntel CorporationDLA PiperDechert LLPLatham & Watkins LLPBowmans and Nishith Desai Associates.

Some crimes can be prosecuted but require the victim (or a representative of the victim) to file a criminal complaint in order to begin prosecution proceedings against the perpetrator(s). If you are a victim of such a crime (or the representative of one) you have six months from the time the perpetrator(s) are identified to file a criminal complaint and request that they be prosecuted.

Some crimes require the government, represented by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, to prosecute the alleged perpetrator(s) whether or not the victim presses charges. Crimes of this nature are subjected to what is called unconditional public prosecution. If you are a victim of a crime subjected to unconditional public prosecution and have reported the crime, no further immediate action is required on your part in order to ensure the perpetrator(s) are prosecuted.

Some crimes give both the government and the victim the option to press charges against the perpetrator(s). They do not, however, require the government to step in and prosecute as crimes subject to unconditional public prosecution do. If you are a victim of such a crime, you have six months from the date it is committed against you to request the state pursue charges against the perpetrator(s). The government, represented by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, also has six months to file charges against alleged perpetrator(s) whether or not the victim requests it. If you are a victim of a crime that is subject to conditioned public prosecution and wish to see the perpetrator(s) prosecuted, you will need to be proactive in requesting that charges be filed and/or following up with the Public Prosecutor’s Office to ensure they file charges and begin prosecution proceedings.

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