13 June | 2024

Lahore, Pakistan

GNMI sensitizing journalists, digital content creators to foster greater sensitivity

Najia Ashar suggests responsible journalism while reporting on gender-based violence incidents; Gharidah Farooqui emphasizes need to avoid graphic imagery; Dr Farzana Bari raises concerns over conviction rate for violence against women

Global Neighborhood for Media Innovation (GNMI), in collaboration with the US State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), is proactively sensitizing journalists and digital content creators to foster greater sensitivity, ensuring accessible support system and understanding criminal justice processes and procedures for a responsible reporting on gender-based violence.

GNMI, a registered non-profit organization, has been organizing a series of workshops – Spotlight on GBV reporting. These workshops are aimed at ensuring responsible reporting of gender-based violence (GBV) and empowering journalists and digital content creators to support survivors.

The innovative platform aims to bridge the gap between media, civil society, and diverse communities through media literacy, capacity-building, and advocacy. The Gender Justice (Gen-J) Program by GNMI strives to raise awareness among journalists and digital content producers in Punjab regarding gender-based violence.

Najia Ashar emphasizes prevalence of gender-based violence and crucial role that media plays in reporting such cases

The program also endeavors to raise public awareness of the prevalence of gender-based violence and the available response mechanisms in the province. The program inauguration – held at the Margala Hotel in Islamabad – focused on enhancing skills and capacities of local media professionals in Punjab to generate more precise and empathetic coverage of gender-based violence.

GNMI President Najia Ashar presented welcome remarks to guests and participants and emphasized prevalence of gender-based violence and the crucial role that media plays in reporting such cases. She stressed the importance of responsible and sensitive journalism in shedding light on gender-based violence incidents, raising awareness, and giving a voice to survivors.

She elucidated the need for media professionals to actively engage in reporting on gender-based violence, contributing to the collective efforts in combating this pervasive issue and promoting social change. Senior journalist Gharidah Farooqui highlighted eminence of responsible reporting and the protection of survivors in cases of gender-based violence.

Gharidah Farooqui highlights eminence of responsible reporting, and protection of survivors in cases of gender violence

Reflecting on the progress made over the past five years, she noted the transformation in how crimes against women and gender-based violence were now considered heinous offenses, thanks to the collective wisdom of media practitioners globally. Drawing parallels to a code of conduct established in 2010 for reporting updates on the war on terror, she emphasized the need to avoid graphic imagery.

Gharidah Farooqui also stressed the significance of protecting the identities of gender-based violence survivors and avoiding insensitive questions, while expressing concern over society’s regressive approach towards gender-based violence issues. Additionally, she highlighted underreported cases of persecution faced by transgender individuals, calling for greater awareness and sensitivity towards their struggles.

Ministry of Law and Justice Director General Khurram Shahzad lamented the societal norms that halted women empowerment and emphasized the significance of gender sensitive policies in addressing gender-based violence. He highlighted the need for comprehensive policies that protect human rights and violence against women, while acknowledging milestones achieved such as legislation and support services for survivors.

Khurram Shahzad emphasizes significance of gender sensitive policies in addressing gender-based violence

He recognized existing gaps in policymaking and law enforcement, and he underlined the ministry’s commitment to combat gender-based violence through policy, advocacy, and a transformative shift towards a society that rejects violence and promotes equality.

Expert Dr Farzana Bari shed light on the significant contribution of Pakistani women in the informal agricultural sector. She revealed that latest labor force survey counted 25% of women belong to the working class as a formal economy. However, women labor force participation in informal economy was three times larger than the formal economy.

She also raised concerns over the conviction rate for violence against women (VAW), emphasizing that it stands at less than two percent. Her insights underscored the need for comprehensive reforms to address gender inequality, uplift marginalized communities, and ensure justice for survivors of gender-based violence.

GNMI sensitizing journalists, digital content creators to foster greater sensitivity

The program inauguration was followed by a full-day workshop on ethical and holistic gender-based violence reporting and journalism manifestation of gender-based laws with journalists and digital content creators. In the feedback session, participants asked series of questions and emphasized the urgency of building the capacity of fellows to combat the prevalence of domestic violence and the alarming rise in gender-based cases.