FORMER Commissioner of Information in Rivers state Ibim Semenitari has said Gender-Based Violence (GBV) can be tackled during early education.
Semenitari spoke during a panel discussion at the launch of the Gender-Based Violence Reporting Handbook by the Centre for Journalism, Innovation and Development (CJID) in Abuja on Tuesday.
She noted that although journalists have a role in the fight against GBV, it should extend beyond newsrooms and form a part of children’s education.
“It starts at the level of educating our children right from the kindergarten. The media does not exist by itself. These things can only change by collective effort,” she said.
She also urged advertising companies and the entertainment industries to join the fight against GBV by desisting from sexualising women in adverts and music videos.
Also present at the panel discussion were Executive Director Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism Monturayo Alaka, Deputy Editor, Weekend Daily Trust Amina Alhassan and Founding member, Feminist Coalition Jola Ayeye.
Others are Program Manager GRID Initiative Noel Balogun and Deputy-Director, Journalism Programme CJID Busola Ajibola, who served as the moderator.
In her contribution to the discussion, Alaka said media practitioners need to be more educated on GBV reporting.
She identified culture and religion as major challenges faced in reporting GBV in the country.
Alhassan, who also called for training of journalists noted that gender-based reporting was not restricted to sexuality offenses or violence against females alone.
“Women are generally those who are most affected. But when we restrict ourselves to just women, or just sexuality offenses, that’s where we get it wrong.
“Gender-based violence entails mental, physical or even verbal challenges,” she said.
Alhassan also noted that journalists should protect the privacy of victims of sexual violence, and focus on exposing perpetrators and keeping them out of leadership positions.
Similarly, Balogun called for media training on reporting issues of violence against Women With Disabilities.
He said the entertainment industry also contribute to violence against People with Disabilities by portraying disabilities in movies as punishment for evil deeds.
According to the Acting Executive Director CJID Tobi Oluwatola, the handbook aims at curbing negative stereotypes in GBV reporting.
“The role of the CJID is to support the media in playing its role as a gatekeeper, agenda setter and watchdog for democracy, and it is in this spirit that we have produced this gender-based reporting handbook,” he said.