05.11.2009 -

Training for women journalists ended in Janakpur

UNESCO and the Nepal Press Institute, in a joint collaboration with Sancharika Samua, Media and Democracy Group, OHCHR, UNFPA/WOREC, INHURED International and Article 19, concluded today in Janakpur the second and last phase (25 October - 5 November) of a four-month training course exclusively dedicated to women journalists.

The training focused on personal security, human rights fundamentals, basic journalism skills, conflict and gender sensitive reporting. Selected journalists came from very diverse cultural backgrounds and from several districts within the Terai region: Dhanusha, Saptari, Siraha, Mahottari, Rauthat, Bara, Parsha and Sarlahi.

 

Female journalists working in some areas of the Terai region often face danger because of their profession. During the training, two-thirds of the journalists admitted to have been at some point victims of threats or harassment. The attacks ranged from intimidation to physical violence. During the training course it was recalled how last January one of these attacks resulted in a murder in Janakpur.

 

An increasing number of women journalists say there is growing pressure from their families to get out of the profession because of such danger. However a high number of incidents involving female journalists receiving threats because of stories they have written or interviews they have done often goes unreported. Despite this, there is evidence that the number of attacks is increasing and that violence is occurring in more areas of Nepal.

 

Concerned about the current situation of women media professionals in the Terai region, and hoping that such training would help female journalists to protect themselves and reduce the amount of violence towards them, UNESCO's Office in Kathmandu and the Nepal Press Institute put together a very innovative training programme. Divided into two phases, one basic and one advanced, the programme is made up of theoretical and practical modules.

 

The second phase of the course addressed more advanced themes. The course on conflict sensitive journalism (CSJ) was conducted by John Keating, CSJ expert, an experienced journalist and member of Media and Democracy Group (Canada). The gender sensitive journalism course was conducted by Babita Basnet and Nirmala Sharma from Sancharika Samua, the most renowned women journalist association in the country. Finally, UNFPA and WOREC concluded the five-day module on gender based violence.

 

From tomorrow all trainees will be involved in the second three-week exercise on feature stories and programme production, which will allow them to carry out assignments on the basis of their newly acquired skills, supervised by locally appointed editors. An additional element of motivation has been provided by the programme: the newly formed group of women journalists will be offered internships and/or work opportunities within different media houses in the country at the end of the four-month course.




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