As well as democratizing access to information and strengthening active audiences, the internet also fosters the manipulation of news and the propagation of false and violent content. Although disinformation and hate speech are not new phenomena, they are now expanding out of control, with women, including journalists, among their targets. The aim of this study is to establish the characteristics and magnitude of this problem and determine how it affects Spanish female sports journalists while carrying out their professional activities in the world of sports, a field where male supremacy is evident. This study seeks to identify the most frequent situations where this problem occurs, the types of harassment observed, the profile of the perpetrators, and above all, the consequences for the professional and personal life of these female professionals. A mixed-methods approach is used to measure the extent of this problem and determine the experience and opinion of female sports journalists using an anonymous questionnaire. This qualitative approach is reinforced by in-depth interviews with female sports journalists who have been victims of hate speech. This dual approach enables the identification of paradigmatic models of a cognitive-behavioral nature, with findings that reveal disturbing figures. Indeed, 89.6% of the professionals participating in this study stated that they had been victims of hate speech and other forms of harassment, both through social networks as well as in their work environment, principally questioning their work capacity or mentioning their physical appearance. The profile of the perpetrators was revealed, as well as the perception that this type of aggression is a common practice that can lead to self-censorship. This situation requires that urgent measures be implemented to address this problem, such as the addition of media literacy and gender training to the educational curriculum.

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Published on 24/11/22
Accepted on 24/11/22
Submitted on 24/11/22

Volume 31, Issue 6, 2022
DOI: 10.3145/epi.2022.nov.13
Licence: Other

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