Safety course for female journalists: Knowledge makes us stronger

June 9, 2022
In the last decade, more than 70 female journalists have been killed around the world. In the Western Balkans, female journalists have been targeted because of their work and their physical appearance, marital status or parental connections.

Why the safety of female journalists?

Did you know that more than 70 journalists have been killed in the last ten years because of their work? Fortunately, there have been no such cases in the Western Balkans for three decades, but the life of Olivera Lakić, a journalist from Montenegro, was seriously threatened when she was shot in 2018. Like their male counterparts, female journalists are targeted not only because of their work, but also because of their physical appearance, marital status or parental connections. The physical and verbal threats, persecution and troll campaigns to which female journalists are subjected are particularly disturbing because they involve their families – unfortunately, their children are often targeted too.

Due to the specific nature of the job, and the continuous normalisation of violence in the Western Balkans and elsewhere, female journalists often either do not recognise the violence to which they are being subjected, or they think it is a part of the job to which they are dedicated.

What have we prepared?

Working with Natasa Kovacev Krstin, an experienced journalist and trainer, Thomson Media prepared a WhatsApp course for female journalists (and male journalists who want to learn more about how they can help their colleagues). The aim of the course is to help them recognise different types of violence in a timely manner and learn how to react to them, as well as how to strengthen their own resilience and provide support to colleagues who need it.

How was the course developed?

During the development of the course, Natasa talked to Serbian Verica Marinčić and Jovana Gligorijević, who shared their experience through video interviews. Natasa also consulted legal experts with regional experience and organisations that offer psychological support to female journalists and women in general.

How can our course help you?

The WhatsApp course for the safety of female journalists has two inseparable modules:

The safety of journalists in real life

This will help you:

  • Recognise different types of violence
  • React in a way that will help you take control
  • Report that you are in danger to the relevant institutions
  • Understand the law and its practice – which acts are punishable and how they are prosecuted
  • Find out what the state’s obligations are in terms of preventing violence against female journalists
  • Overcome possible consequences of violence and strengthen your resilience
The safety of journalists in the online environment

This will help you:

  • Learn how to recognise online harassment
  • Respond appropriately in the event of an online attack
  • Report online harassment
  • Understand the legal aspect of online violence and potential sanctions
  • Become stronger and deal with the psychological consequences of online violence

How to apply for our WhatsApp course?

This course has a simple format and is available only through the WhatsApp application.

Follow these steps to start the course and learn more about real-life and online safety using your mobile phone:

  1. Click on the link to the WhatsApp web application that will take you to the appropriate course
  1. Choose Continue to chat
  2. Choose whether you want to download the WhatsApp application or use the web version.
  3. After scanning the QR code with your phone, the system will recognise you and start the course on your phone.
  4. Follow the messages you receive on WhatsApp and answer the questions.


Upon successful completion of the second module, participants are offered an opportunity to receive a Thomson Foundation certificate of successful course completion.

Course length

You take the WhatsApp course at your own pace, at the time and place that suits you best.

The average time to go through the course is up to two hours.

The WhatsApp course on the safety of female journalists was produced with the financial support of the European Union and the Government of the United Kingdom.