UNESCO "Safety of Women Journalists"


Byline by:  Barb Dolan Administrative Vice President CEP ONTARIO REGION

This side event sponsored by UNESCO and the Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma, the panel include the Director General of UNESCO, the Ambassadors of Costa Rica and Austria, CBS correspondent, and representatives from the Dart Centre, the International News Safety Institute and Women under Seige at the Women's Media Centre.

The panel discussed the specific risks faced by women journalists, with focus on the safety of women journalists and media coverage of violence and trauma. The protection of women journalists against targeted attacks is an emerging issue and begs for attention.

There is a strong need to end stereotypes in the media. Safety of journalists from a human rights perspective has become a rising issue. There has been a thirty-three per cent increase in violence against women journalists since 2011. Imprisonment of journalists is at a record high, women journalists are harassed by perpetrators of domestic violence, women journalists are often marginalized with certain assignments, violence also impacts the sources of the journalists. The question to ask is, "why are women under seige?". Why are they targeted for intentional violence, mob violence and detention violence?

Too often incidents of violence are not reported by women journalists because they fear being considered too vulnerable, too weak to do investigative work in the field and the repercussions of reporting incidents.

In the last ten years 1333 incidents of violence against women journalists and media workers has been reported, that is two and a half incidents per week. Sadly these statistics are on those reported, what about the incidents never reported?

In September of 2012, UNESCO held it's first ever Inter-Agency Meeting on the Safety of Journalists and the issue of Impunity, following the deliberations a comprehensive UN Action Plan to improve the safety of journalists was released. The Action Plan includes the establishment of a coordinated UN interest agency mechanism to handle issues connected to the safety of journalists and impunity, and their incorporation in national strategies, it also calls for close cooperation between Member States, media associations and NGOs. Further promoting gender equality in the news media, relating to the extent of women journalists involved, involvement in news gathering, news dissemination and news management.


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