Twenty-Seven journalists, mainly females, have issued a declaration in Monrovia, calling on media managers and the Press Union of Liberia to implement the media gender policy, as well as sign onto the collective bargaining agreement or CBA as part of efforts aimed at improving the Liberian media landscape.
The journalists issued the declaration at the close of a three-day intensive Gender Sensitive Reporting training in Monrovia convened by the PUL on behalf of the West African Journalists Association or WAJA and Norwegian Journalists Union as part of a broader Women Reporting Women Project in West Africa.
The Media Gender Policy- lunched at the PUL Congress in March this year, seeks to place the media in a position to allow pluralistic opportunity that would reflect diversity, experience freedom of the press and most importantly, ensure gender balance and gender sensitivity at all levels. It takes measures to promote equal representation of women in the ownership of, and decision-making structures of the media.
On the other hand, the CBA which has been around since 2010, seeks to improve the salaries and working conditions of journalists and enhance productivity at media institutions.
The workshop’s participants also urged media managers to ensure that female journalists are encouraged to form part of editorial and managerial teams, and that the Press Union of Liberia ensures that the Collective Bargaining Agreement is adopted and implemented.
Among others, the declaration- read by Truth FM’s Alexandra Bainda-Amnon, also called on the PUL to take pro-active steps towards ensuring that these specialized policies are properly applied.
The workshop is a regional initiative, aimed at improving the quality of gender sensitive reporting that seeks to encourage and enhance in-depth analysis and debates on issues concerning women.
WAJA President Peter Quaqua described the training as an opportunity for participants to broaden their minds and understanding of gender issues in the discharge of their duties. He said WAJA will continue to work to empower journalists to ensure that they are professional in their sacred services to humanity, despite the challenges associated with journalism in the region.
PUL President K. Abdullai Kamara challenged participants to apply their new skills and knowledge in writing stories the cut across gender and exploring developmental issues. Kamara applauded WAJA for the partnership and noted that such training is captured in the strategic direction of the PUL—intended to make the Union more relevant to its members and the general public.
The training also offered skills and knowledge to those who report women issues, but are not necessarily equipped with the right tools to give a fresh, insightful perspective into subjects such as domestic violence, rape, inheritance, divorce, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, lack of access to education and health and reproductive rights, women and the economy.
The WAJA training program is based on the reality of a very few women journalists—and even fewer men—who can give a fresh, insightful perspective into issues that concern women.
Two senior female Liberian journalists- Torwon Sulonteh-Brown and Mae Azango, who had earlier been trained, facilitated the three-day workshop, along with Hamadou Tidiane Sy of E-jicom.
During the training, participants learned basic concepts of the gender and media situation in Liberia; reviewed the Media Gender Policy; concepts in Mainstreaming girls/women in the media; as well as a contextual review of the Access to Information. They also took advantage of the training to undertake a field trip into neighboring slum communities, where they came face to face with the realities of poverty and underdevelopment in Liberia.-Editing by George Barpeen