AUSTRALIA SUPPORTS WORKSHOPS ON GENDER-SENSITIVE MEDIA REPORTING

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The Australian High Commission and the Center for Excellence in Journalism (CEJ) organised online training workshops for media professionals on gender-sensitive reporting on violence against women. This is the second year running that the Australian High Commission has supported these training workshops with CEJ. This is closely tied to the international campaign 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women.

The workshops aim to provide training to journalists on reporting on violence against women and raise awareness of violence against women by encouraging gender-sensitive reporting.

Speaking at the first workshop today, Australia’s High Commissioner to Pakistan Dr Geoffrey Shaw highlighted that promoting gender equality and the rights of women and girls is central to Australia’s development, economic and bilateral cooperation with Pakistan.

“Gender-based violence is a shared challenge. There has been an alarming increase in violence against women since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The media has an important role in ending violence against women. Through reporting, the media can help to challenge traditional social and cultural norms and attitudes that condone violence against women,” he added.

Acting Head of the Center for Excellence in Journalism at IBA Karachi, Ayesha Azhar said, “Gender-based violence is one of the most prevalent, systemic and underreported human rights violations in the world. We, at the Centre for Excellence in Journalism at IBA Karachi, believe the media has a key responsibility to ensure women’s voices are heard by raising awareness and stimulating dialogue and action in this regard.”

The trainer and former BBC journalist Umber Khairi said: “As journalists we need to be sensitive to issues of gender-based violence so we are equipped to report on such cases in an ethical and professional manner. When dealing with incidents of violence against women, journalists need guidelines and checklists, but we also need an understanding of how these are rooted in gender inequality. Gender equality is crucial to development and progress and as journalists we need to treat violence against women as both a human and a development issue.”

Top Pakistani journalists and activists Mubashir Zaidi, Amber Shamsi, Tanzeela Mazhar, Saba Imtiaz and Farieha Aziz joined the trainer Umber Khairi in the workshops to share experiences about the transformative role media can play in preventing violence against women and girls.

Journalists reporting on women rights, including news editors from across Pakistan’s mainstream media attended the workshop.