“Many of the best stories covering gender-based violence are done by women journalists”
Examining the extent and scope of sexual harassment in Cameroonian newsrooms
Strategies for achieving gender equality in Iraq-Kurdistan media organizations
Digital safety of journalists in Kenya
“However, women journalist themselves face safety threats that can risk their numbers in the journalistic field. “ by Kristine Ramm, Norway
Abeer Saady, the Vice President of IAWRT says this often in her training workshops, as she did in Olso in early November. As a part of the Gender Mainstreaming Project (GMP), Saady, from Egypt, gave a workshop at the OsloMet University in early November. The GMP is the largest project conducted by IAWRT International this year and 9 further workshops are being organised by IAWRT chapters and a new handbook will be completed early next year.The project in its various phases over 8 years is directly focused on ensuring women’s views and values are integral to media programming and that women in media can have an impact. project details here.
Abeer is one of IAWRT’s sparkling jewels, and a big asset to our organisation. She travels the word giving safety training workshops of different durations, often without getting paid, always promoting IAWRTs name. Her skill as a media consultant and safety trainer is widely recognized and appreciated. She shares from her own experience as a war correspondent with 28 years of professional experience in covering conflict zones within the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
This time in Norway she addressed her advice to female journalists covering conflict zones or reporting on sensitive gender issues.
Some of her practical advice:
- Keep your social media sites clean, never lie.
- Keep private items off your public profile.
- Do not share information that can be used to harm you or your close ones
- consider having two Facebook profiles.
- Be sure that your passwords differ and not contain obvious combinations.
- Never post that you are about to enter a conflict zone.
Participants received hands-on advice about precautions when covering crowded events and demonstrations. Even though this advice can be read in the IAWRT safety handbook for female journalists, Abeer’s advice and examples become somewhat more realistic when demonstrated face-to-face, combined with examples from real life cases.
As she often does in her workshops, we were facilitated into role plays, to engage us in realising good and bad practices when interviewing victims of accidents or violence. These exercises give participants good hands-on experience about the ethical responsibility journalists must respect in our sources in vulnerable situations. As explained in the handbook these practices are also a safety measure to protect the mental health of the reporter herself.
With additional funding from UNESCO-Norway, a handbook based on earlier phases of IAWRT’s GMP surveys, research and workshops to identify best practices for gender equality in the media from India and southern Africa is now being written by Ann Mabel Sanyu and Greta Gober. in this video, Ann explains the project.
The handbook is due to be launched in January at IAWRT-Norway’s second GMP event. Other Gender Mainstream Project workshops are now being scheduled in most of IAWRT’s chapters.
End sexual harassment in Cameroonian newsrooms by Becky Bissong
Media women in Cameroon have resolved to ensure the development and implementation of gender policies as well as the respect for the code of ethics as measures to check sexual harassment in the media in Cameroon.
The decision was a consensus arrived at in Yaounde, 6th December 2018, by over 50 media women meeting during a workshop that brought together women from public and private media enterprises in Cameroon.
IAWRT International’s Gender Manistreaming Committee has described the Cameroon initiative as a very important and timely part of the GMP project.
Participants in the Yaounde workshop lauded the initiative of an ongoing survey on the forms of sexual harassment in the country’s media, which is examining its depth and scope. The survey also looks at how it affects the dignity, input and efficiency of both victims of this form of GBV and the performance of the entire media enterprise.
IAWRT Cameroon hopes to publish the outcomes of this workshop, including results of the survey, which should highlight guidelines for media management’s role in the prevention of sexual harassment in media in Cameroon, henceforth.
Iraq debate: Eliminating Gender Discrimination in Media Binay Shorsh reports from Sulaymaniyah
As part of the global 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, which began on November 25, the IAWRT Iraq-Kurdistan chapter organized a special seminar on gender equality in media organizations, which debated the status of women in the media and the problems they faced because of their gender. It also highlighted women's media capabilities for achieving their goals.
Prominent women journalists and media reporters in the Kurdistan Region attended at the Hotel Titanic in Sulaymaniyah City in early December. Lava Kurda a spokeswoman for IAWRT-Iraq said, “We have gathered today to participate in dialogue and consultation on achieving equality between women and men in media organizations and to talk about our role as women in achieving equality and renunciation of violence and discrimination, through our work and by demonstrating our competence and ability to work.”
According to the discussion, many media women do not support each other, especially when they achieve high positions. Susan Anwar, a journalist, said there needs to be a return to basics before defending media women’s rights, ‘We basically do not understand what our rights are … the majority of women fight them instead of supporting them,” she said. One of the participants, Shna, a teacher and journalist, suggested that women journalists needed to raise awareness about their rights, duties and about what violence is. “I work in Metro Center, unfortunately, women never complain about taking their rights, while only men and young people come to claim their rights.”
On the other hand, the journalist Rawshan said: “We have to separate the political and Islamic consciousness and the policies that have been exposed to the Kurdish people throughout history, Kurds have no state of their own; the orientalists who visited Kurdistan spoke admiringly about the role of Kurdish women in the community. To get out of the cycle of Islamic stereotypes and customs and traditions imposed on us, we need to work to support us being strong Kurdish woman and coming out of the framework of customs and traditions imposed on us by other people.”
Kenya: One day workshop on digital safety of journalists
This workshop built on IAWRT Kenya’s past work on online harassment of female journalists. The training was aimed at equipping media women with practical skills on digital safety as well as identifying gaps for devising future training.
There was also a focus on enhancing coverage of gender-based violence.
The chapter will work on engaging media management and policy makers to sensitize media management to the problem of online harassment that journalists face while carrying out their work. The Kenya chapter plans to use the media to problematize and publicize the issue of journalist’s safety based partly around the handbook's best practice findings.