The challenges women face in the Media across the Africa Continent appear to be the same, either in the coverage of women or treatment of women journalists in the media industry. This has made stakeholders across Africa to call for equitable and positive representation of women in the media space. Speaking at a Regional Colloquium
The challenges women face in the Media across the Africa Continent appear to be the same, either in the coverage of women or treatment of women journalists in the media industry.
This has made stakeholders across Africa to call for equitable and positive representation of women in the media space.
Speaking at a Regional Colloquium on, ‘Working Together to Build and Regulate a Gender Inclusive Media Environment’ which held in Saly, Senegal, media practitioners, women’s rights group and regulatory agencies identified the common challenges women face in the media.
Diagr Djinoarey, a representative from Women and Human Rights Organization in Mali, lamented that the media’s reportage of women has been very poor and inadequate.
She explained how her organization trained journalists on the need to ensure proper and robust coverage of women on radio, television and even online platforms.
“Oftentimes, the media are not reporting about women because they do not know they are expected to do such consciously but added that, once their capacity is built, the necessary things would be done,” she said.
Djinoarey added that, though coverage of women in the media in Mali has improved, more needed to be done.
On her part, Louise Andree, a Senegalese researcher, stated that the reportage of women in the media are quite sensational and usually to attract the audience through the headlines which are often times about abuse and violence against women.
Andree said, “it is good to raise attention on violence but there need to be resources to help women to prevent violence, so, the aim should not be to publish contents that would attract readers or listeners but, rather provide necessary information to build and help women, most especially against violence.”
Similarly, Ange Gambou disclosed that the case is applicable in Burkina Faso as the only angle the media report women from is only in case of violence and there are rarely positive stories about women and their achievements.
“The media has to do more, what we do in covering women in Burkina Faso is poor, when we talk about women in the media it is about violence, there is need for a paradigm shift so we can to tell positive stories about women, not just in Burkina but in the continent as a whole,” Gambou said.
Speaking about the media coverage of women in Cameroon, Lazar Itoe explained that, “media reports on women are enough but we are not sure that they are accurate and positive contents.”
She explained that the quest for media coverage of women should not just be about the quantity but quality, adding that, “Journalists have to be trained in non-sexist communication and ensure that quality contents and reports about women are being disseminated across all platforms.”
Also, Kabir Sani, Chairman, African Communication Regulation Network, ACRAN from Niger, explained that the organisation understands the gap in women’s reportage in the media and they are tackling it through ensuring that more women emerge as leaders in media outlets.
According to him, once women attain higher position in the media, they would be able to facilitate how positive and adequate contents about women would be published.
The 3-days conference gave participants – representatives from Ministries of Communication, National Regulatory bodies, media houses, women rights organizations, and Civil Society Organizations – the opportunity to discuss how contents can be regulated to achieve a gender inclusive media environment across West Africa.