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New guide to help journalists tackle legal issues around online abuse

Beth GrossmanNew guidance has been published to help journalists tackle legal issues around abuse they face online.

The guidance, commissioned by the Media Lawyers’ Association, aims to provide practical assistance to journalists in combating online threats and abuse.

It has been released as part of commitments by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to a National Action Plan for the Safety of Journalists.

The guide includes topics such as how to keep an evidence log of abuse, reporting complaints to online platforms, and also outlines the advantages and disadvantages of the ways in which legal action might be taken.

It has been authored by Beth Grossman, pictured, barrister at Doughty Street Chambers.

She said: “Ultimately, online harassment and abuse is a threat to freedom of expression.

“It obstructs and hinders journalists, by making them fear for their safety, and directly interfering in their use of online forums for newsgathering and reporting.”

“Our aim is to provide a practical guide for journalists, and those who support them, so that they can understand the different options they have for combatting online harassment and abuse, develop a strategy for doing so, and take immediate steps in highly stressful situations.”

The full guide can be read here.