"Globally, newsrooms are often majority staffed by women, so violence against women reporters has deeper implications for the rights of any citizen to stay informed," says Titi Gabi, chair of the Pacific Freedom Forum.
"Silence from many media outlets and violence victims on abuses they face, often from their partners, represents a deep shame and silence which all journalists must unite to condemn. PFF calls on journalists to continue to uphold ethics and integrity in reporting gender-based violence as a leading story in Pacific nations – and to be more vigilant, vocal and supportive of colleagues facing similar problems.."
Marking 16 days of activism against violence against women, Pacific impetus to the global campaign from November 25th to December 11th every year tends to come from civil society, gender advocacy and human rights networks.
Internal PFF alerts and those shared among a fledgling regional grouping for Pacific women journalists, called Pacific WAVE, reveals many incidents, particularly amongst women journalists in Melanesia, suffering from harassment, emotional and physical partner abuse.
“This is creating an ethical and cultural challenge for monitoring media freedom," says Gabi, from Port Moresby.
“Strategic and evidence-based actions to fight gender inequality in the media is difficult if the ones who are supposed to be shining the light on issues that need airing are also swallowed up in the silence on violence against women.”
The regional media freedom monitoring network which launched in 2008 has found a growing trend of reluctance from women journalists to report threats, harassment, abuse and violence, especially those suffering in their own homes.
The PFF concerns are confirmed by the WAVE Media Network which in its founding sessions and on going networking, reveals compelling but private stories of women journalists forced out of their workplaces after personal experiences linked to their professional calling.