UNESCO Discusses Gender-Responsive Reporting with Journalism Students in the Philippines

“To be truly equal, men and women must be seen and heard as equals. Let us put gender in the agenda of journalism in a fair and sensitive manner”

These were the rousing words from H.E. Excellency Rita Rasoulian, the Austrian Ambassador to the Philippines in her opening remarks to nearly 3000 journalism students from eight universities in the country who participated in a webinar on gender-responsive reporting hosted by the Austrian Embassy and the news portal The Freeman on 23 September 2020.

Atty. Kristine Yuzon-Chaves, Executive Director of the Philippine Commission on Women, who spoke at the event, noted that “being gender responsive in reporting is not an option, it is a must”. She pointed to many examples of women being underrepresented or stereotyped in the media. Atty. Yuzon-Chaves further argued that the content of the media should be more empowering to gender equality,
Dr. Ming-Kuok Lim, the Advisor for Communication and Information from the UNESCO Office in Jakarta was also one of the speakers, provided examples and suggestions for journalists to improve gender responsiveness in the reporting. He urged for a wider use of gender-inclusive language, being more mindful of our unconscious biases, and to practice solutions journalism.

The issue of safety of journalists especially on violence against women journalists was also highlighted in the presentation. UNESCO is the leading United Nations Agency on the issue safety of journalists and has recently published a policy brief “Safety of journalists covering protests : preserving freedom of the press during times of turmoil” which also highlighted the dangers face by women journalists.

The eight universities that participated in the webinar included the Cebu Normal University, University of San Carlos (Cebu), Southwestern University PHINMA, University of the Visayas, University of San Jose- Recoletos, Negros Oriental State University (NORSU) System, Silliman University, and Jose Rizal Memorial State University, Dipolog City. The webinar was also held in conjunction with the Cebu Press Freedom Week, an annual celebration in the region that highlights the importance of a free and independent media.

UNESCO produces many important and current research and handbooks on the issue of violence against women journalists such the Reporting on Violence against Women and Girls, the Big Conservation: Handbook to Address Violence against Women in through the Media, as well as the Gender Sensitive Indicators for Media which are all freely available online. Through these initiatives, UNESCO contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including SDG 5 on gender equality and SDG 16 on public access to information.

 

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