Gender and Media Diversity Journal Issue 10

Date: August 12, 2011
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Gender, media freedom and access to information

The Gender and Media Diversity Centre (GMDC) seeks proposals for contributions to its tenth journal that will enhance the development and sharing of knowledge, best practices and debate around media diversity, as well as promote probing, analytical and contextual journalism. The Gender and Media Diversity Journal (GMDJ) is the biennial journal of the GMDC, a physical and virtual resource centre based in Southern Africa, managed by Gender Links with linkages in Africa and across the globe.

The journal is an intellectual but not academic journal. It provides up-to-date and cutting edge information on media diversity in Southern Africa and the space for the dissemination of research findings and projects; case studies; campaigns; policy developments; and opinion and debate on media practice in the region. Each journal covers latest developments but also focuses on a different thematic area identified in consultation with the GMDC advisory group.

The tenth edition of the GMDJ will focus on the topic of “Gender, media freedom and access to information.” The theme is mainly informed by the 2011 Windhoek +20 celebrations of the Windhoek Declaration on Promoting Independent and Pluralistic Media that was adopted in 1991 to improve media freedom in Africa. The May 2011 celebrations acknowledged the significance of the declaration in improving media freedom in Africa. Media activists are now turning their attention to another freedom of expression issue, access to information.

The two freedom of expression issues, media freedom and access to information, are rooted in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). It guarantees to every citizen “the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” A very narrow understanding of the meaning of this right has led to different interpretations of the duties imposed on governments and much concentration on the negative obligations of governments in fulfilling this right.

Issue ten will explore various aspects of media freedom and access to information. These include:
– How gender can be integrated into freedom of expression discourse
– The laws that are in place to enhance media freedom and access to information
– What research has been done to measure the gender disparities in media content as well as access to information
– What interventions have been made to ensure that the media is accessible to both women and men
– How gender can be mainstreamed in media and journalism training’s media law module and media freedom concepts
– Can ICTs enhance access to information and provide an alternative platform for women to be heard .
It will also raise some complex questions around gender, climate change and media. As with all editions of the GMDJ, contributors are encouraged to explore the gender and diversity dimensions of media freedom and access to information.

Contributions are sought in the following broad categories, but are not limited to:

  • What’s New – briefs on new research, initiatives in training and education, policy initiatives, and IT developments relevant to gender, media and diversity, and activism. (500 words each)
  • Media watch – review of media programmes from a gender and diversity perspective, reports on recent monitoring projects by gender and media networks (750 words each)
  • Talk back – opinion (750 words) and letters (250 words).
  • Submissions relating to the theme for this issue (see below).

In focus Topic
Overview and in-depth articles are between 3000-3500 words including references.

Media laws

Regional and National laws

  • The Draft Model Law for AU Member States on Access to Information (ATI) in Africa has been released for public comment. How gender aware is this draft law? The Draft Model Law also provides uniform benchmarks for evaluating effective implementation of the ATI laws. What systems should be put in place to ensure that women have access to information to enable them to make informed choices?
  • Gender analyses of the Draft Declaration on Access to Information.
  • Who enjoys media freedom? What is media freedom really about? What are the gender gaps in the Windhoek Declaration?
  • What laws are in place in SADC countries around ATI? How do the laws affect women’s access to information? Analysis can include South Africa’s Media Tribunal, Zimbabwe’s Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).

Media content

  • What are the implications of research findings of the Gender and Media Progress Study (GMPS, 2010) on media freedom in the SADC region?
  • How can community media enhance media freedom for both women and men? How can it facilitate women’s access to information?
  • Is there specific programming that caters for women’s needs on radio or television in your country? What issues are discussed? How can the content be improved to ensure that it gives women voices and impart information that can assist women to make informed decisions?

Media policy and practice

  • How can the Media Centres of Excellence for Gender Mainstreaming help to promote diversity and pluralism in SADC?
  • What is the role of the media regulatory and self-regulatory bodies in advancing gender equality in and through the media?
  • Is there a women’s journalist association in your country? How does it work and how effective is it?

Media training

  • What gender entry points are there in media laws or courses for a journalism or media qualification?
  • How can gender be mainstreamed in the following media concepts: freedom of expression; media freedom; access to information; public interest?

ICTs and new media

  • The advent of ICTs is an opportunity to ensure that marginalised groups in society are included in information flows as both users and givers of information. At African Union level, does the ICT policy have gender provisions for women and men?
  • Does your national ICT legislation integrate the differential impact of ICTs on women and men?
  • Social media networks have been thriving and are viewed as alternative media. How can new media be used to advance women’s rights?
  • How can women protect themselves from violence perpetuated through new media platforms?

Gender and other forms of “freedom of expression”

  • Pornography
  • Women in hip hop music videos
  • Advertising

Gender and climate change

  • What are the gender dimensions of climate change? How has the media been telling the climate story to women and men? Is the media doing justice to the issue and in particular to women in rural areas?
  • What should the media do to improve women’s access to information on climate change, its effects and ways of curbing the negative impact of climate change

Case Studies

  • Sonke Gender Justice takes on Malema in the Equality Court.
  • News of the World scandal and its implications on media freedom and who has access to information.

Please contact GMDC Manager Saeanna Chingamuka for more guidelines

Who can contribute?
We are looking for a broad range of contributors – activists, media analysts, academics, journalists, editors, etc.

Administrative and payment arrangements
The GMDC Manager will advise contributors of length and payment to be made for articles used when commissioning content. Only commissioned articles that are used will be paid an honorarium. All submission proposals must contain the following:

Specify the key area you would like to write on:
– Provide a 200-300 word overview/abstract
– Provide full contact details: your name, institution/organisation, telephone (including mobile number), email and the country in which you reside/country of origin
– Send to: Saeanna Chingamuka (Tel: 00 27 011 622 2877 or 082 229 2337)

Submission of abstract: 27 July
Deadline for submission of commissioned articles: 16 August
Deadline for revisions: 22 August

Requirements of all articles
Editorial guidelines are attached and MUST be followed in the writing of the articles. You will also be required to submit a photograph of yourself and visual material to accompany your article.

We look forward to receiving a diverse range of topics for consideration.

Saeanna Chingamuka
Gender and Media Diversity Centre Manager

Click on the document below for further information and editorial guidelines.



Download : Call for contributions and editorial guidelines

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