The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today marked the International Women's Day by calling on media organisations to help overcome dangerous stereotypes that contribute to discrimination, by rethinking the way they portray women in the media.
This call follows a series of initiatives undertaken by the IFJ in recent years to campaign for a fair and balanced gender portrayal in the news, recognising the role and responsibility of journalists and the media.
The IFJ says that the development of guidelines and gender ethical reporting checklists is a starting point to address stereotypes, silence, repression, intimidation (violence) and discrimination. It is now time to take further actions.
"We recognise that shining a light in places where some do not want their actions to be seen, can be a very dangerous business. However, taking our own responsibilities for ethical gender reporting means to break through dangerous stereotypes, and walls of silence hiding discrimination, violence, and sometimes death," says Mindy Ran, chair of the IFJ gender council. "As well as fair and balanced reporting, our responsibility is also about minimising potential harm to those we interview, recognising that the glare of the media can bring its own danger, and that those seldom heard voices at the edge are as important as those shouting in the middle."
In a special newsletter to mark International Women's Day, the IFJ Gender Council is calling on journalists' unions and media to reflect on the choices they make in the production of news and to reflect on the negative impact this may have on the public's perception of women and on women's lives.
"Not presenting women's lives as essential, valuable and worthy of respect, but as simply victims or second class citizens, tells whole new generations that it is ok to do so, when clearly - it is not," warns Ran.
As part of its activities leading up to International Women's Day, the IFJ is also conducting a series of safety trainings for women in Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Yemen, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco." The IFJ is committed to ensuring that women journalists who report from the front line and other challenging situations learn life-saving skills with a special emphasis on gender mainstreaming," added Beth Costa, IFJ General Secretary.
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 16
The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countries