UNICEF, others task media on ethical reporting of gender-based violence
With incidence of gender-based violence (GBV) increasing by the day, the United Nations Spotlight Initiative Nigeria, in collaboration with the European Union (EU), the Child Right Information Bureau of the Ministry of Information and Culture and the implementation partner, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), recently organised a four-day media dialogue for journalists in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on ‘Ethical reporting, media advocacy and solutions journalism to eliminate Violence Against Women and Girls in Nigeria’.
The training was meant to increase participants’ knowledge on ethical reporting of gender-based violence, engage participants on gender inequality discourse and their role in impacting/changing negative social norms and strengthen the Spotlight Initiative (SI) network of media practitioners promoting an end to violence against women and girls.
Speaking at the event, Chief Child Protector, UNICEF, Ibrahim Sesay, urged the media to uphold high ethical standard in the reporting gender-based violence (GBV).
Sesay stressed the need to protect the image of the survivors by looking at strategic ways of telling stories of those who survived and looking at their issues critically.
He noted that the privacy of survivors of GBV must be protected, adding that the media should not expose images of survivors that could embarrass or re-victimise them. “The privacy of those who survived gender-based violence must be protected at all times, we should show empathy and not victimise them. We are partnering with the media to galvanise efforts to ensure we have strategic partnership that would help to mitigate and respond to risks against sexual and GBV on women in Nigeria.”
UNICEF Communications Specialist, Dr. Geoffrey Njoku, said that the menace of GBV could be drastically reduced through consistent advocacy and ethical reporting.
On her part, UNICEF’s Child Protection Officer, Mrs. Tochi Odele, observed that the non-ratification of the Child Right Acts by 13 of the country’s 36 states is aggravating the problem of violence against women and girls.
She noted that trusted individuals, who, sometimes, are family members, perpetrate most of the violence against women and girls.
Also speaking, one of the facilitators, Lolade Nwanze, who described journalism ethics as principles of good standard, noted that regardless of how it is framed, the bedrock remains truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality and fairness.
According to her, these principles come to play strongly in gender and minor reporting and may involve withholding of certain details like minor’s name, victim’s name, any information not materially related and whose release could harm the victim or her reputation.
She stressed the need for journalists to have better understanding of the power of words and images, understanding ways of communication and language that impact gender reporting in order to avoid stereotypes and common mistakes when reporting about gender in all audio-visual and written communication, whether in articles, media, field visits, reports and emails.
Another resource person from the Africa Media Development Foundation, Iliya Kure who spoke on advocacy journalism, observed that advocacy journalism plays a great role in giving voice to underprivileged people, adding that advocacy journalism is the use of facts and available evidence, to write reports in favour of actions that will end GBV.
He urged the journalists to dedicate time to writing stories that ask policymakers to create, or strengthen structures that will address gender Based Violence or stories that will lead to introduction of policies and laws on GBV (where they don’t exist).
According to him, journalists should write stories that will ensure provision of adequate funds to implement such policies and laws.
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