Free Media Institutional profile

Free Media Institutional profile

Date: June 27, 2013
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Gender beat is in place due to Gender Link’s push and efforts – Free Media

Ansbert Ngurumo, Managing Director of Free Media, is one person who is grateful for the linkage his media house has with Gender Links (GL). He credits Gender Links for the gender beat that is now in place. He is also effusive in his praise of GL for the sensitization training on gender mainstreaming that has impacted the outlook of staff and the outlets’ editorial content. He noted that since they do not have in-house gender training, they have made adequate use of GL’s workshops and seminars.

Ngurumo acknowledged that even though Free Media belongs to the elite group of Media Centres of Excellence (COE) in Tanzania, there are areas that they have not made the kind of progress they would have liked to make. The media house has remained in the same position in its indices of gender balance in the composition of the board and management staff, as well as in taking into account international regional and national commitments to gender equality. They have slipped in the index of paternity leave, as this is no longer in place.

But there are also bright spots. There are more females on staff. The media house has set targets for achieving gender balance at all levels by 2015. Interview panels correctly reflect gender balance, with Ngurumo indicating that there are two males and two females. The media house also offers maternity leave that conforms with or is better than national law, and a sexual harassment policy is in place.

Ngurumo was happy to note that women’s voices are featured in the media outlet, female reporters are encouraged to work in non-traditional beats, and there is a gender focal person – Privatus Karugendo.

Karugendo was not as upbeat as his boss on gender mainstreaming in the media house. He is of the view that staffing at Free Media is still skewed in favour of males, and there is “only one female [member] in the editorial board”. He also felt that sexual harassment was a problem, even though no cases had been reported officially. Karungendo did acknowledge, however, that reporters were free to cover non-traditional beats: “Females can cover hard news, at the percentage of 80 to 20, and many males cover gender news.”

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