Editor’s note

Editor’s note

Date: October 6, 2011
  • SHARE:

Welcome to Issue 21 of the Diversity Exchange!

We have just come back from the Pan African Conference on Access to Information and Highway Africa Conference that took place from 17 to 19 September 2011 in Cape Town. All those who attended the conferences can attest to the robust discussions as well as ‘serious’ networking among participants. It is also important to mention the range of outcomes at personal level (gaining of knowledge) and at regional level (the adoption of the African Platform on Access to Information).

Advocate Pansy Tlakula, the AU Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information delivered a thought provoking speech, underlining the importance of the declaration in promoting true democracy. The achievements that have come as a result of the Windhoek Declaration on press freedom are welcome despite the negative tendencies that still exist. Those achievements are the same that led to the crafting and final adoption of the African Platform on Access to Information.

While the adoption of the declaration is a score for Africa, South Africa is battling the passing of a “Secrecy Bill” that could prohibit journalists, academics and citizens from accessing vital information. Information is power in that it enables citizens to make informed decisions in a democracy. The Right2Know Campaign has been leading protests to denounce the passing of the bill.

Our eyes are now on Conference of the Parties (COP) 17 to be held from 28 November to 9 December 2011. Highway Africa Conference set the stage, leading discussions on how the media should be communicating the story of climate change to a continent that is facing other pertinent challenges.

COP 17 will coincide with the Sixteen Days of Activism on Violence against Women. As part of the Gender Links Media Centres of Excellence process, selected media houses will be part of on-the-job training aimed at building the capacity of journalists to report on gender based violence. The journalists will apply the learning during the Campaign.

The sixth Internet Governance Forum  has just ended in Kenya and the Association of Progressive Communications has made its mark at the international conference. It has led in discussions around the gendered impact of internet governance, has also been pushing for gender representation in sessions as well as prompting presenters to wear a gender lens and present a gendered analysis of issues pertaining to internet governance. We congratulate them for this progressive initiative!

In the spirit of affirming the role that ICTs play in giving women a voice, we share the news of Fungai Machirori who recently won the runner up World Youth Award for her blog Fungai Neni. The blog focuses on gender issues in Zimbabwe through the eyes of a young woman. The blog is both daring and honest in a conservative society that is struggling to open up to the realities of life. In just over 18 months, Fungai Neni has attracted almost 100 subscribers and 45 000 visits. Part of the prize will be her participation at an ICTs meeting in Australia later this year.

As the media in India evolves, women are focussing on harnessing technology to ensure their own professional growth and build an equal partnership with their male colleagues, writes Manipadma Jena. “We are not here because we have a pretty face or have slept our way to the top. We are here because the media profession deserves us,” says Patricia Mukhim, editor of Shillong Times. In this issue we look at how women in India are harnessing the power of ICTs to change gender relations in the media profession.

Following a gender and media literacy course, the Polytechnic of Malawi successfully mainstreamed gender in four modules this past semester. These are: Media Criticism; Media Regulation, Policy and Law; Media and Society; and Communication Studies. Margaretha Geertsema, a gender and media academic based in the USA will be visiting Gender Links to carry out research and draw on the expertise of the organisation to develop a gender and media course that she wants to start teaching at Butler University.

Our upcoming seminar will be titled Gender, peace and security: The case of Resolution 1325 in Southern Africa. In 2000, The United Nations passed Resolution 1325 that seeks to address challenges that women and girls face in armed conflict. The resolution emphasises armed conflict effectively “ruling-out” Southern African countries except Democratic Republic of Congo. But several countries in the region n face political unrest (e.g. Madagascar, Zimbabwe). This impacts in an equally negative way on women and girls.

The GMDC has put out a call for applications for the January to June 2012 internship. Students from Southern Africa universities who need to do experiential learning as part of their studies are encouraged to apply.

The GMDC knowledge hub is offering fresh information that can be used by trainers and researchers for topics related to gender, media and diversity. Each issue highlights three new items from each of our databases: newspaper clippings, case studies, research and publications. Our “Mirror on the media” section provides an analysis of the representation of Chief Justice Mongoeng in the South African media.

Finally, the GMDC will soon be signing an MOU with FEMNET, an NGO based in Nairobi, Kenya.


Comment on Editor’s note

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *