End sexual harassment in newsroom now

End sexual harassment in newsroom now

Date: February 5, 2012
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Female journalists working in the media in Southern Africa want to put an end to sexual harassment in newsrooms, as they want media owners to formulate policies that provide a mechanism to address such forms of gender based violence.

Article 22.1 of the SADC Gender Protocol calls on States by 2015, to enact legislative provisions, adopt and implement policies, strategies and programmes which define and prohibit sexual harassment in all spheres, and provide deterrent sanctions for perpetrators of sexual harassment.

Article 22.2 further states that there shall equal representation of women and men in adjudicating bodies hearing sexual harassment cases.

They also want to put an end to all forms of harassment by news sources. The unanimous feeling among female scribes from Southern African countries who met in Johannesburg in a workshop hosted by the Gender and Media Southern Africa (GEMSA), was that all media houses should come up with clear-cut policies to deal with harassers, harassment and to conduct civic education programmes to raise awareness on this.

Women journalists and GEMSA country coordinators from Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Tanzania, Mozambique, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland and South Africa met in December 2011 at Mapungubwe Hotel to discuss challenges faced by female media practitioners, the top most being sexual harassment.

GEMSA director Jennifer Mufune said it was imperative that female journalists be safe and secure when in the newsrooms and when out doing stories in the field. She observed that many female journalists in Southern Africa were suffering in silence because they do not know how to report the ordeals of harassment they face.

Source: The Observer, Swaziland

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