• Thursday, June 20, 2024
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Groups’ capacity building for journalists targets more reportage on gender-based issues

Groups’ capacity building for journalists targets more reportage on gender-based issues

In order to build the capacities of journalists in reporting gender-based issues, West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) Nigeria in partnerships with the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) and Global Affairs Canada with support from Global Affairs Canada, Peace and Stabilisation Operations Programme, recently held a two-day training workshop for journalists and media practitioners on understanding the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Resolutions. The training was held in Abuja.

The workshop which is an activity under the project ‘Localisation of Women, Peace and Security Resolutions in Nigeria’ aimed to raise awareness of media practitioners on the WPS Resolutions and enhance their capacities to integrate gender responsive analysis in their work.

The training which had in attendance journalists from across the country also aimed to raise awareness on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) resolution implementation in Nigeria.

Speaking virtually at the event which came under the theme, ‘Media and the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) resolution in Nigeria,’ Founder and Chief Executive Officer of GNWP, Mavic Cabrera-Balleza regretted that media practitioners’ coverage on conflict and wars in the past two decades had only portrayed women as victims.

“Portraying women as victims only in media coverage on conflicts and wars is not ideal because there are women who have exceptional courage and have resisted violence and conflicts. There are also women who have joined wars and contributed in peace building at all levels,” she said.

National Network Coordinator of WANEP, Bridget Osakwe, who also spoke, said the event aimed to raise the national and local journalists and media practitioners’ awareness on WPS and their role in implementing them.

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Osakwe explained that the workshop also hoped to increase the national and local journalists and media practitioners’ capacities to integrate gender responsive analysis in their work as well as to identify key opportunities and strategies for the strengthening of the role of the media in the implementation of WPS resolution, gender responsive and conflict sensitive COVID-19 recovery.

According to her, WANEP’s specific attention for WPS is based on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, which does not just see women as victims of war or armed conflicts, but encourages women participation in peace processes.

Given a brief background of WANEP, Osakwe described the organisation as a regional civil society peacebuilding membership establishment operating in all the member countries of ECOWAS, with headquarters in Accra, Ghana.

The focus of WANEP’s work, she said include; collaborative, integrated, inclusive conflict prevention, management, resolution, transformation and peacebuilding.

While their thematic focuses include; conflict prevention; monitoring issues of conflict and violence for early warning and response; active non-violence and peace education; democracy and good governance.

Others are research and documentation of WPS.

Recognising the fact that media is a great influencer, the fourth estate of the realm and the bridge between policy makers and citizenry, she said: “Hence, if media practitioners are knowledgeable about the UNSC Resolution 1325, I am certain that 95 percent of our population will also be aware of this resolution, so that gender-based violence issues not only be minimised, but issues of women’s contribution to peace processes would be popularised towards sustainable peace in Nigeria.”

A media consultant, Senator Iroegbu, who spoke on ‘Nigeria media landscape and architecture,’ quoted Simon Kolawole and Emeka Umejei and said: “The Nigerian media landscape is a changing climate. Once dominated by print, radio and television, it is experiencing a disruption by digital platforms. The chief limitations of journalistic excellence are the poor remuneration and the overlapping of journalism and politics often to the detriment of objectivity.”

According to him, the Nigerian media architecture was anchored on tripod of print, radio and television, adding that this traditional foundation has been shattered with the arrival of internet-enabled new media.

In his words: “Although it was in 1996 that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) licensed 38 internet service providers to sell internet services in Nigeria, it wasn’t until the year 2000 that an internet using population began to emerge.

Between 2002 and 2004, it rose to 1.5 percent. By 2007, it had risen to 7 percent and today we are talking about over 80 percent internet penetration.

“By that time also, the internet was already redefining the practice of journalism and ushered in thousands of citizens and non-professional journalists. Take for instance, Sahara reporters, one of the oldest online news providers, had been founded.

“News becomes available in virtual format and on the go — accessible via mobile phones, tablets, and laptop and desktop computers. A 24-hour news cycle was springing, and social media became a major tool for sourcing, presenting, and disseminating news.”

On the place of women in Nigerian media, Iroegbu affirmed that male domination of the Nigerian media, especially at the management level, means that Nigerian women still plays peripheral roles.

“There is no doubt that we have had veteran reporters, newscasters, anchors, and directors such as Eugenia Abu and Remi Oyo, Chris Anyanwu and few others.

“Nigerian media have also seen the rise of the first female Editor in a major daily, and president of Nigerian Guild of Editors, Funke Egbemode as well as Ijeoma Nwaogwugwu. There is also increased ratio of women in the journalism profession.

“The news and editorial content have shown that matters affecting women often take the back seat. It has not been projected enough,” he added.

However, he gave recommendations to encourage more women into journalism profession, such as inspiring and push more women into management and editorial boards; build and create women-focused contents and programmes; organise and involve more advocacy projects on women empowerment.

With significant presence in the new and social media, he said, women have a low hanging fruit that should be maximised to advance their interests and issues.

On her part, WANEP Head of programmes, Patience Ikpeh Obaulo, while speaking on the ‘Role of Journalists in Implementing Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Resolution,’ said the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and eleven other resolutions teamed up to form WPS resolution. She said the resolution was important because women have long been left behind when it comes to decision making on issues concerning peace and security. Ikpeh Obaulo urged journalists to amplify the voices of women.

“Journalists can help contribute to implementing WPS resolution by changing the stereotypes that have bedeviled the women folks for a long time; raising awareness on National Action Plan (NAP); providing role models; ensuring diverse perspective in their reports, ‘not only the men, let women also speak’; and holding the government accountable in the implementation of NAP.

“Only 3 percent of stories challenge stereotype globally. 25 percent of journalists report about women despite the fact that one in three experts in Covid-19 are women.

“Resolution in New York and the implication is that the resolution must be implemented. The only way to implement it, is to develop an action plan. In 2013, Nigeria developed the first action plan. In August 2013, the first NAP was launched. Because of Nigeria’s reality, five pillars to guide the implementation were adumbrated. The pillars include: prevention, participation, prosecution, promotion, and protection,” Obaulo said.

There was group work on contemporary newspaper reporting: content analysis exercise; creating news stories and social media messages on topics related to WPS and COVID-19 recovery; and developing a media and communication strategy towards the effective implementation of NAP 1325 and COVID-19 recovery.