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The News

Published Date: Apr 26, 2011

Media persons urged to challenge traditional mindset

While reporting on the incidents of ‘vi¬olence against women’, speakers at a seminar have urged media persons to also challenge the traditional mindset that encourages and protects this kind of behavior.
They were speaking at a seminar ti¬tled ‘Role of Media in Addressing Vio¬lence Against Women’, organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Insti¬tute (SDPI). The seminar was aimed at discussing reflections of a research study conducted by the SDPI on posi¬tive masculinities. The study focuses on ways adopted by the communities to solve cases of violence against women.
Highlighting some basic findings ()f the research, Mome Saleem from SDPI said that in total 40 case studies analyzed by the SDPI research team, around
10 involved media directly or indirectly which depicts the strong reliance of communities on media to address such cases.
She said that in many cases, the fol¬low-up of stories by media persons in¬fluenced ‘jirgas’ to its stance. She shared inspiring case studies in "thich media played key role in bringing’ reality before the community and made the authorities and law enforcing agencies
to notice and solve the case. .
On this occasion, journalists from Sindh and Balochistan shared their tes¬timonies about the challenges they face in reporting violence cases while living in a tribal setup, They said that violence victims are usually afraid of sharing their stories with media as it could re¬sult in trouble for the whole family.
They said that the decision to come out of violent relationship is usually not in the hands of the victims. "It is the ‘jirga’ and the family elders that decide the fate of a women suffering-violence," said the journalists. They shared hor¬rific tales of women who had to endure severe violence within their households but had to stay with their husbands. They said that sometimes they receive life threats for covering the violence stories.
Journalist and trainer Bushra Iqbal talked about the limitations of a jour¬nalist in covering violence issues. She said that due to family pressure, some¬times victims just take back their sto¬ries blaming media for unduly highlight¬ing their issue. "We have to act like investigating officer while discussing story with the victim," she pointed out. She demanded that management should support reporters working in dangerous situations so that they can dig out good stories in a professional wary both media and civil society lacks the proper strategy to address violence against women. In his opinion, only re¬porting an incident cannot solve the problem unless the mindset behind such acts is challenged through re¬search based reporting.
Sumera Iqbal from Uks Research In¬stitute emphasised on the positive role media has played to highlight violence against women cases. "Media has played important role in shaping per¬ceptions around women and their role in society," she said while adding that II trend of going juicy while reporting on violence incidents has changed in past decade.
Quoting Amnesty International’s findings, Sara Duke from SDPI said that every women experience physical vio¬lence once in her lifetime. She said that social media could also play very impor¬tant role in addressing violence issues.
Journalist Imdad Hussain said that social media can also play very important role in addressing violence’s issues.