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Speakers at a workshop urged media to play its due role

ISLAMABAD (December 04 2007): Speakers at a workshop urged media to play its due role more responsibly and objectively to safeguard women’s rights. The Women’s Rights Training Workshop was organised by Action Aid Pakistan to sensitise young journalists and students of mass communication about women’s rights issues.

It developed a 25-point code of conduct to ensure realistic and gender-sensitive news coverage of crimes against women, says a press release. The code of conduct supports exclusive coverage of women’s rights issues in social context instead of treating them as regular crime news; addressing violations of women’s rights from a non-stereotypical perspective and avoiding typically used jargons; allocation of prominent space to news stories involving crimes against women; enhancing men’s understanding and sensitisation about women’s rights issues through powerful stories; relaxing censorship and controls over media content for factual reporting of women’s issues.

The code also condemns judging and tarnishing victimised women by using insensitive language, judgmental undertones and sensational captions. Participants agreed that journalists must focus on objective and proactive reporting of women’s rights issues without any preconceived gender biases and stereotypical jargons.

Besides, it urged that while reporting crimes against women in the media, journalists should focus on the perpetrators of the crime instead of victimising the victim through hard words and subjective connotations. Training facilitator Shafqat Munir said that media must work hand in hand with the civil society and women’s rights activists to challenge the prevalent power structure in the society that imply women’s subjugation and exclusion.

Source: Business Recorder

Date:12/4/2007

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