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Journalists Resolve To Step Up Reporting On Violence Against Women

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MONROVIA: The Center for Media Studies and Peacebuilding (CEMESP) in collaboration with UN Women has ended a two-day media leadership roundtable in Monrovia, with Journalists committing themselves to doing more investigative stories on violence against women and girls in Liberia.

At the end of the weekend roundtable, which brought together 30 Journalists from Montserrado and Grand Cape Mount counties, they signed a communique agreeing to form a network to constantly keep SGBV issues on the front-burner.

“Issues on violence against women and girls are grossly underreported; Reporters are not doing follow up, they instead do surface reporting. There is an urgent need to establish a special Network of Journalists reporting on issues of women and girls and relating to SGBV. Having reviewed the Domestic Violence Act in Section 1, it was noted that the issue of domestic violence should be looked at holistically and that Journalists in their reporting need to understand that domestic violence is defined in the law as both “physical” and “psychological”.

Compromising cases at family level in the communities and sometimes at the Judiciary delay (VAWG) cases,” the communique says.

Held under the theme, Enhancing Media Reporting on Violence Against Women and Girls in Liberia, the media roundtable was aimed at building the capacity of Reporters and giving them the needed skills in investigating and reporting stories related to Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).

CEMESP’s Executive Director, Malcolm W. Joseph said that the Monrovia media roundtable is the first of two sessions, with the second due to be held early next month in Ganta, Nimba County.

According to him, the project is being implemented by CEMESP with funding support from UN Women and is designed to benefit media executives, media practitioners, online bloggers, journalists, from print and broadcast in enhancing their knowledge and skills in reporting on gender based violence issues through a gender lens.

Mr. Joseph said that it is intended to address the issue of under-reporting as well as how information are packaged for public consumption that involves women and girls victimized as a result of their gender.

Under the Spotlight Initiative, CEMESP will support media practitioners and institutions in advocacy, media engagement regarding Gender Sensitive Reporting and media contribution to addressing violence against women and girls including provision of specific support to journalists and community radio stations in reporting incidents of violence against women and girls

In this context, innovative strategy and mechanism to work with the media are required for creating and shaping public opinion on the protection of women and girls from all forms of violence including creating a space where information on women and girls are aired in a manner that do not subject gender stereotyping or the affliction of abuse

The CEMESP Executive Director said that recommendations generated from this dialogue will lead to the development of media policy formulation through a communique to mainstream media content on gender empowering themes in news and programs.

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