The Institute of Journalists Malaysia (IoJM) has called for all media houses to adopt standards and policies that would protect female journalists from sexual harassment in both the office and in the field.

In a statement yesterday (Jan 17), IoJM added: “Having such strong standards and policies will not only protect female journalists, but would also be useful in stopping those that harass journalists in other ways, including blackmail or bribery.”

In response to a report by Asian Correspondent detailing accounts of unsolicited sexual advances and harassment from several female journalists in Malaysia and around Southeast Asia, the institute commended the journalists for having the strength to speak out against the harassment they had faced.

IoJM called for a stop to newsroom practices such as advising the journalists to capitalise on the attention given by politicians and public figures, and urged media houses to enforce strong complaint mechanisms to ensure that action is taken in cases of sexual harassment.

“It is especially imperative that editors in Malaysian newsrooms and industry leaders refrain from bowing to politicians and allowing them to get away with uncivilised behaviour,” the institute said in the statement.

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