The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) has today commemorated 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence and launched its national campaign under the theme “Stop Gender-Based Violence against Women in Journalism”.
Held in Mogadishu with the support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the event brought together women journalists, media managers and union activists to take massive steps in the eradication of GBV in Somalia. The campaign aims to highlight violence and discrimination within the media, while encouraging candid discussion and the promotion of sustained campaign that calls for the prevention and elimination of violence against women.
Somali women in journalism face various types of gender-based discrimination fuelled by entrenched and traditional gender roles. They often face violence, harassment and discrimination while reporting and/or gathering information. This is exacerbated when reporting on socially sensitive subjects such as human rights, political accountability and gender equality. Curtailing the freedom and ability of women to carry out their journalistic duties impacts on the quantity and quality of information the public ultimately has access to.
Gender-based violence is also meted out within the confines of media houses. Media environments are guilty of condoning a culture of sexism and routinely failing to enact and implement policies that would see gender mainstreamed as part of everyday practice. Women journalists face obstacles in regards to promotion and generally being taken seriously as a woman in the sector.
“Female journalists are regularly confronted with the scourge of gender-based violence, a disease that has to be eradicated by all means. We are launching this campaign with an intended goal of creating a comfortable space for women in journalism by improving their working environment as this campaign will fight for the safety of women journalists to be recognised in all spheres of lives,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.
This campaign will highlight the underlying cause of gender-based violence which is patriarchy accompanied by misogyny and all the concomitant causes such as poverty pay for women journalists and challenging economic conditions in which they work, anti-women beliefs and practices as well as lack of accountability of perpetrators of violence against women.
NUSOJ has called on the Federal Government of Somalia to drive a serious campaign through all its Ministries and governmental institutions to prevent, address and heal victims of violence against women including female journalists, by urgently heeding the call by Somali trade unions to urgently ratify ILO Convention 190 and its Recommendation 206 on Elimination of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work and to speedily conclude the legislative processes of the Sexual Offences Bill (SOB).
The campaign will also bring into sharp focus, the unacceptably high levels of violence and discrimination within the media, while encouraging concrete action to bring urgent and meaningful change.
The Campaign for 16 Days of Activism on Violence Against Women started in 1991 and is an annual international campaign that kicks off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, the International Human Rights Day. It is used as an organizing strategy by individuals and organizations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women.