Scholar Bruktawit Kassa presents paper on hate speech against female journalists in Austria

19. July 2021
Portrait of scholarship holder Bruktawit Kassa
She presented the paper at the Virtual 71st Annual International Communication Association (ICA) Conference, 27-31 May 2021.

The paper, which she co-authored with colleagues at the University of Vienna, is entitled “My haters and I: Personal and political responses to hate speech against female journalists in Austria". The paper is based on a study conducted on the legal and institutional means to counter hate speech in Austria. It juxtaposes the micro level of experiencing hate speech and corresponding forms of resistance through in-depth interviews with nine female journalists in Austria. The findings indicate that female journalists received more hate speech when they spoke about stereotypically male-dominated topics such as politics. The interviewees noted that receiving hate speech could have a severe impact on one’s personal life or work. As measures of countering those effects female journalists responded by making the hate comments public, while others withdrew themselves from public altogether. The paper concludes with suggestions of practical action deriving from both sets of information.

Bruktawit Ejigu Kassa from Ethiopia is a PhD candidate at the University of Vienna, Department of Communication. Her research aims to explore gender and the media in the African context. She is interested in studying the place of gender perspectives in media policy. Bruktawit got her Bachelor’s degree in Teaching English Language from Haramaya University, Ethiopia in 2004, and completed her Master's degree in Journalism and Communication in 2008 at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. Her thesis investigated the framing of gender violence by the Ethiopian print media. Before joining the University of Vienna, she had been teaching in the Department of Journalism and Mass communication at Haramaya University, Ethiopia. Furthermore she had also served as the head of the Department for three years.