• Mon. May 13th, 2024

For A Free & Vibrant Media

GPU Train Media Managers & Editors on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Newsrooms

May 13, 2024
A two-day training for 30 media managers and editors on preventing sexual harassment opened in Banjul, The Gambia on May 13, 2024.
A two-day training for 30 media managers and editors on preventing sexual harassment opened in Banjul, The Gambia on May 13, 2024.

By Modou S. Joof

A two-day training for 30 media managers and editors on preventing sexual harassment opened today in Banjul.

Organised by the Gambia Press Union (GPU) as part of activities under the EU-funded Consolidation of Democratic Dispensation in The Gambia (CODE) implemented by International IDEA, the training is expected to significantly contribute to a workplace environment in the media that is free from sexual harassment of any form.

The CODE project aims to contribute to the consolidation of a participatory, inclusive, and human rights-based democratic transition in The Gambia.

In August, 2020, with the aim of protecting female media workers, the GPU commissioned and published a Report on Sexual Harassment in the media which shows that sexual harassment is prevalent within the media industry, but cases are usually unreported due to cultural and professional stigmas associated with such vices.

GPU President, Muhammed S. Bah, speaks at the opening ceremony on Monday
GPU President, Muhammed S. Bah, speaks at the opening ceremony on Monday

“In response to the Report, the GPU developed a pioneering Sexual Harassment Policy for the Media in The Gambia, which was published in September 2020,” GPU President, Muhammed S. Bah, said. “This policy serves as a vital framework for media organizations to combat sexual harassment and foster a culture of respect and dignity in the workplace.”

Female journalists are more vulnerable to undesired or unsolicited sexual advances from male colleagues and male superiors/supervisors – which largely affects their personal safety and the security needed to create a conducive working environment in media houses.

They are also vulnerable to harassment both online and offline – in their workplaces or in the field and on social media. Since editors and media managers have a direct responsibility to protect female staff and to promote a healthy working environment, it is important that they are trained and introduced to methods of preventing sexual harassment.

Jainaba Faye, Head of Country Office, International IDEA, speaks at the opening ceremony on Monday

Jainaba Faye, Head of Country Office, International IDEA, said media manager and editors have a profound responsibility to inform, educate, empower and provide a safe space for their colleagues.

“You must also recognize the significant responsibility you bear in preventing sexual harassment as it does not only undermine the integrity of your profession but also perpetuates a toxic culture that damages individuals, organisations and society as a whole,” Faye said.

“You must create workplaces that fosters a culture of respect and inclusivity, challenging harmful stereotypes, confronting power imbalances, and promoting diversity at all levels of the media industry.”

The training is expected to give media editors and managers the requisite knowledge and skills to develop internal mechanisms to tackle sexual harassment in workplaces inspired by the findings of the GPU’s Research Report on Sexually Harassment, and the Sexual Harassment Policy which they would adopt and adapt to their own newsrooms to combat sexual harassment.

A hundred and nine (109) respondents were drawn from 24 media organizations and freelancing journalists, with the findings of the Report indicating that 22% of the respondents have heard rumors of sexual harassment in media houses; 40% of these have heard it more than twice; 23.9% are aware of someone being sexually harassed and 13.7% have had personal experience of sexual harassment.

The Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation, Raphaël Brigandi, speaks at the opening ceremony on Monday
The Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation, Raphaël Brigandi, speaks at the opening ceremony on Monday

The Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation, Raphaël Brigandi, said that the European Union, in its commitment to supporting gender equality and human rights, recognises the critical role of the media in shaping public opinion and fostering a democratic society.

“It is imperative that those at the forefront of this sector work in conditions that respect their dignity and integrity,” Brigandi said, and that the EU proudly supports the “Consolidation of Democratic Dispensation in The Gambia” CODE project, under which this training is conducted.

“The prevalence of sexual harassment in the media not only undermines the core values of our democratic societies but also impedes professional growth and personal well-being,” he said. “It is distressing to acknowledge, as highlighted in the GPU’s research, that such harassment remains largely unreported due to cultural and professional stigmas.”

The training, which is being held from 13-14 May, 2024, is being conducted by the following experts:

  • Satang Nabaneh, Director of Programmes, Human Rights Center & Research Professor of Law, University of Dayton School of Law, Ohio, USA;
  • Fatou Jagne Senghore, Founder, Center for Women’s Right and Leadership;
  • Josephine Mwangi, Programme Manager for International IDEA in Nairobi, Kenya; and
  • Sifisosami Dube, Programme Officer for International IDEA in Maputo, Mozambique.
x  Powerful Protection for WordPress, from Shield Security
This Site Is Protected By
Shield Security