In an effort to combat harassment in the creative fields, PEN America has published, on its website, an Online Harassment Field Manual. The resource is intended, the nonprofit said, to "equip and empower writers, journalists, and all those active online with practical tools and tactics to defend against hateful speech and trolling." It launched this morning in New York as part of the PEN World Voices Festival.
"Online harassment poses a clear threat to free expression, as evidenced by the results of our survey,” said PEN CEO Suzanne Nossel. “As an organization of and for writers, PEN America is especially disturbed by the ways in which online harassment affects their work. Journalists and writers whose web presence is a professional imperative can't be left defenseless in the face of rampant digital intimidation, provocation, and vitriol when they dare to stick their heads above the parapet.”
Among the resources included in the manual are:
- First-hand accounts of online harassment and their aftermath
- Step-by-step guides for enhancing cybersecurity and preventing doxing
- An online harassment glossary with proposed responses
- Ideas for leveraging online writing communities to combat online harassment
- Tips for combating hate speech with counterspeech
- Guidelines for allies and witnesses interested in intervening in online harassment
- Best practices for employers of writers and journalists to improve institutional support during episodes of online abuse
- Information about online harassment and the law
The manual also offers recommendations directed to employers, tech companies, and law enforcement, in addition to its content geared toward writers. The manual is available here.