Panel participants at forum organized by EMWA
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, March 10, 2009 (Ezega.com) -- Ethiopian Media Women Association (EMWA) organized a panel discussion on March 7, 2009, at Ghion Hotel. The participants included male media members and guests from Tanzania and Kenya. The issue was journalists’ attitude towards women and coverage of violence against women. EMWA wants to change the prevailing attitude and coverage on women issues in the country.
The panel discussion was organized in connection with the International Women's Day (March 8), and the motto was: “Male journalists: speak up for women issues and against violence on women”.
Panelists shared their experiences on how they handle tasks related to Women issues. While some said they cover women issues as part of their duties, others said they cover these issues only when they are told to cover as part of their assignments. But many of them agreed that women issues are currently covered only by women reporters. This shows gender discrimination starts from the way reporters are assigned to cover women issues.
Participant further agreed that issues concerning women have not been heard or covered appropriately. The panel discussion stressed the role and responsibility male journalists have on covering and reporting women issues. Participants emphasized that women’s problems are not limited to domestic violence, but also include inadequate recognition of women’s contribution to society, women empowerment issues, access to education, equal opportunity, and, in general, the attitude of society towards women.
EMWA Executive Directress, Abebech Wolde, acknowledged the contribution of some male journalists towards women issues in the past when there were very few women in the media. She also reminded fellow male journalists that they do have a responsibility to cover women issues adequately and handle these matters gender-sensitively.
EMWA plans to continue reaching to journalists to change the way news are gathered, interpreted, and reported. It will also launch programs to change the image of women in the media.
EMWA is a nonpartisan and nonprofit professional association. It was established in 1996 and, following a series of informal forums, took its current form in November 1997. Currently, it has 200 members. The association is working on various issues, including raising the skill of professional media practitioners, advocating Women’s and Children’s rights, improving women’s participation and access to the media, and improving women’s image in the media.
Finally, EMWA requested the cooperation and participation of male journalists on women’s issues as responsible and concerned professionals of our society.
This article was written by Eden Habtamu reporting for Ezega.com from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She can be reached by email at News@Ezega.com. The article can be reprinted in full or in part elsewhere but only by giving full credit to Ezega.com. If reprinted on a website, we ask that you place this active link: Ezega Ethiopian News, pointing to http://www.Ezega.com.