?No Safe Place? launched, Tribune

Date: January 1, 1970
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A book called ?No safe place; incest and defilement in Botswana? was launched by members of Women and Law in Southern Africa on the 25 March 2004.

This article may be used to:
  • Illustrate the limitations of news coverage that is based on an event rather than an issue.

Trainer’s notes

The article covers the launch of a book on gender violence in . It provides a chronology of the items on the programme of the launch with heavy emphasis on what the speakers at the event said. No interviews were conducted but snippets of speeches are quoted.
This kind of events based news coverage leads to coverage that:
  • Lacks depth and ignores context.
  • Does not address the issue at hand, in this case gender violence.
  • Relies on speeches as opposed to analysis and interviews.
  • Places greater emphasis on the launch than on the issue itself.  
It is interesting to note that reference is made to the “emotionally moving presentations made” but the content of these are not in evidence in the story. The comment presented on the link between HIV/AIDS and gender violence is not unpacked nor is the data disaggregated by gender.
All the images in the story and the first line shift the emphasis of the story from addressing gender violence to an account of ‘a glittering ceremony at Gaborone International Convention Centre …”. The images have a public relations/society page quality.
Data on the levels of gender violence, why such a publication is important and experiences of those affected are conspicuously absent from the story.
Training exercises
Exercise one: In a group, discuss the following:
  1. What legislation and services does the government have in place to assist people experiencing gender violence? Explain.
  2. In your experience how do the media cover gender violence?
  3. How can we change/improve this coverage?
Exercise two: Read the case study and answer the following questions:
  1. Develop a story structure/angle that includes the book launch but that places the issue of gender violence at the centre of the story.
  2. What are the missing voices that you would include in the story?
  3. What information is missing from the story?
  4. What kinds of images would you use to complement your story?

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