A GROUP of professional journalists and activists have identified social conditioning and power dynamics among other factors constraining journalists from telling objective gender stories.
The two- day intensive media training tagged “Gender Reporting for Media Professional” engaged professional media practitioners and activists from across Nigeria on the different ways of reporting gender-sensitive issues across the different social sectors including politics, business, and human development.
“It is the job of media professionals to curtail infringements, misrepresentation and biases in the reportage of gender-sensitive issues fueled by citizen bloggers who masquerade as professionals in the field of journalism,” said one of the facilitators, Lolade Nwanze.
Nwanze noted that it was time for the Nigerian media space to consciously make efforts geared towards changing the status quo.
Examining the reportage of rape and judicial trials of sexual assault by the media over the years, she noted lapses in the reporting processes.
“Let’s call a spade a spade if there has been a violation of rights, the media should be able to call it the way it is,” she said.
Dorothy Njamenze, the founder of Dorothy Njamenze Foundation, a Non-Government Organisation focusing on promoting women and girls’ rights, said for the media to break through restricting shackles of social conditioning and power dynamics, journalists have to report past conventional and personal biases.
“Let’s desist from stereotyping victims that would only portray them as more vulnerable and ask crucial questions,” said Dorothy. “Put on your gender googles and flip the charts we have come to the point where we need to report precise details and descriptions–especially in the reportage of sexual assaults if there must be the hope of getting justice for victims.”
Participants at the event told The ICIR that the media workshop on gender reporting was long overdue.
“This is an impactful and necessary media training that I must say has helped me identify my own biases in reporting. Unknowingly, journalists have helped give voice to perpetrators of acts that should be frowned upon in the society and unwittingly deny the victims justice,” said QueenEsther Iroanusi, PREMIUM TIMES journalist.
She noted that gender reporting is not restricted only to instances of sexual violations, but extends to negligence in any aspect that concerns both genders.
Chioma Ezenwafor, On-Air Personality with NigeriaInfo, Portharcourt said the use of certain conventional words in the process of reporting gender and assault cases affect the media efforts in its call for justice.
She said the takeaways from the workshop have shifted the dynamics of gender reporting in a positive direction for the participating journalists. She encouraged her colleagues to report gender-sensitive stories.