Panafrican News Agency

Project launched in Mali to promote freedom, safety of women journalists

Bamako, Mali (PANA) - The Press Centre, in collaboration with the UNESCO office here, Friday launched the "Promoting the safety of women journalists in Mali" project for the promotion of freedom and safety of women journalists, reliable sources told PANA Saturday.

The six-month project, funded by the PostCode Foundation of Sweden for a total amount of USD 332,631 (about 183 million F CFA), involves Mali, Senegal and Sri Lanka. 

Its objective is to promote an environment conducive to women journalists to enable them to carry out their work safely.

Several activities are planned, including the conduct of a baseline study on the safety of women journalists, the organization of a training workshop on their rights and protection techniques related to their profession, and the organization of another training workshop for media managers on the implementation of gender-responsive policies within editorial offices.

Among the planned activities are also the editing, printing and distribution of nearly 500 copies of the guide on the safety of women journalists developed by UNESCO and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) during the celebration of World Press Freedom Day.

Speaking at the launching ceremony, the spokesperson for the UNESCO representative in Mali, Ali Kola Daou, said threats to freedom of expression around the world, especially attacks faced by women journalists were increasing day by day.

These, he noted, included harassment, stigmatization, cyber-sexism, sexist hate speech, physical attacks and rape.

In 2017, 48 per cent of nearly 400 women journalists from 50 countries who responded to an online survey by the Investigative Journalism Fund (IJF) indicated that they had experienced various forms of gender-based violence in the course of their work, he added.

Daou said harassment against women journalists often took the form of personal attacks that tended to focus not on the content of the journalist's report but on the character of the woman.

In Mali, sexual harassment is the most widespread form of violence against women journalists, according to a preliminary study conducted among a few media outlets based in Bamako and in the regions, Daou said.

He revealed that, in the field, during reporting (missions and other activities), many journalists testified to having been attacked or made advances through words, looks, indecent remarks or veiled proposals.

He said UNESCO had to curb this phenomenon and include, in its priorities, the promotion of the safety of women journalists and the fight against impunity for those who attack them.

This, he said, was necessary to support press freedom on all media platforms.

Speaking on behalf of the High Authority for Communication (Hac), the media regulatory authority in Mali, Ms Diallo Hati Maïga, wished that "the implementation of activities planned under this project will help improve the conditions of exercise of the profession by women".


- 0 -    PANA     GT/BEH/MTA/RA   27Sept2020