By Patrick Obia
To reduce cases of gender based violence (GBV), journalists have a critical role to play in their style of reportage said civic space actors at a training workshop for journalists in Calabar, the Cross River State capital earlier this week.
The training was organised by the Coalition for the Promotion of Gender Justice.
The project coordinator of the coalition, Mrs. Mfreke Asigbe, said in order to reduce gender based violence to the barest minimum, there is need for critical stakeholders like the press to be involved.
“The media is one of the key stakeholders in ending gender based violence, they are very strong, focal point and closing the gap. Without the media, it is not going to be possible and anything that has to do with gender based violence is always on the media, we cannot work without the media because they are key partners for the project and to ensure we prevent and respond to GBV issues,” she said.
She expressed optimism that the training will help the media to begin to report issues of gender based violence from a different and critical view.
“At the end of this training, we expect to see a transparent reporting in terms of information about gender based violence passed and reported in simple terms for people that are not learned to read and understand; we also hope to see swift and follow up reports on gender based violence by the media.
“I can bet on 50 percent, if the media does their work very well by 2030, gender based violence can be reduced. However, it can be exceeded.” she said.
In her discussion, Head of Programs, Girls Power Initiative, Mrs. Ndodeye Bassey, called on journalists to be societal builders and not a dynamite especially on issues of gender based violence.
She stressed the need for journalists to be sensitive in their choice of words, and help provide gender based violence referral service centres as gender protective actors.
On his part, legal practitioner and rights activist, James Ibor Esq. who led the session on gender and the law perspective, said gender equality is equal opportunity, fairness and equity for all irrespective of the sex.
Ibor said some laws and extant traditions need to be evaluated for equity and justice.
“Equality means equality and equity. The only time we would achieve gender equality and equity is when we begin to have women who can make choices whether to marry or not, whether to change their name when they marry and agree their children should share their surname just like what happened in England with Queen Elizabeth. Until that happens we are going to be paying lip services to issues of equality,” Ibor said.
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