A Gender Lense~ Inviting journalists to be gender sensitive in their reporting!
' Media watches the government and what's happening in our society, but who is watching the media?,' questions a senior journalist and woman activist Ms Shakuntala in a conference held in Bangalore for journalists from the southern region of the country,both from print as well as electronic media. Shakuntala talks uninhibited about how media portrays the woman as a sex object and lowers her dignity.
The theme of the conference was media's role in highlighting gender related issues of health, discrimination, violence , economy and so on, with an agenda to help stop it! Journalists from all walks of life participated in this event and put forth their experiences, their suggestions and their commitment to participate in this movement. But also discussed alongside the main topic something remarkable came up as we went along the event- it was pointed out by someone how media has also played a negative role by its insensitive reporting of gender related issues or instances involving women. The damage that has been done by such improper reporting has been profound like seen in the recent instance of the Guwahati case of a minor girl molested by a mob in full view of a reporter's camera. Media has served to do more damage to the girl who was molested by the mob by over riding her privacy, raising question on her integrity by questioning what she was doing in a pub at 9 pm at night! Some even elaborated on her western clothes which shouldn't be worn by girls to protect their modesty. Such reports and such insensitive journalism has contributed to more discrimination and victimization than good. It's almost like the journalist is attributing the girl's choice of clothes and choice to be out at 9 pm at night to be the justified cause of what happened to her! The minor girl studying in class 11 and still in school has two things to deal with all her life- the trauma of molestation and public humiliation, and an equivalent trauma of living with publicity which has served to brand her for a lifetime!
Gita Aravamudan author of three books & the first woman journalist in an English daily, the Indian Express, in Karnataka says, "If women journalists were in the sight of the incident, they would have certainly walked off or tried to help the victim. Before being a journalist we are human beings!” Gita suggests the solution by adding, "More and more women journalists need to be in media- both print and electronic and more and more male journalists need to be sensitized on gender."
Journalists vouched to be a part of better way of reporting through a gender lense at the end of the conference.
When will you take your oath?
Voice for Human Rights http://voiceforhumanrights.org/who-we-are-2/