Thursday, 7 March 2013

Media and March 8 -- ethical coverage urged for VAW issues

PFF, Rarotonga, COOK ISLANDS--Pacific newsrooms covering the annual March 8 International Women's Day events in their countries are being urged to commit to better standards in reporting Violence against women and children 
Regional media monitoring group the Pacific Freedom Forum says it is clear from coverage at newsroom level that the focus on violence in Pacific communities is often of news value only when covered as a Police investigation or Court report.
"Many of us are aware of the ethics guides and special clauses covering victims and children, but if we are really honest, we can all do better", says PFF co chair Titi Gabi of Papua New Guinea.
"We commend those who make the effort to follow up on reported stories and include context and information helping people to better understand violence and its impact on human life; and to know deceased victims by name rather than just a set of vague details -- but these are exceptions."
PFF calls on news editors who are not already doing so to implement and widely share five best-practice approaches below:
1. revisit and make public their ethics guidelines and public complaints procedures, especially around sensitivity of reporting victims of and deaths related to violence
2. internally review and question how to improve court reporting around VAW beyond passing on details of what is shared in court rooms after sentencing and at verdict, and be vigilant over instances where court officials, lawyers and police use personal bias in interpretation and application of the rule of law
3. increase efforts to broaden quoted sources in reporting in the one story, by quoting a wider range of talking heads
4. seek out local advocates on VAW in their communities to comment on court verdicts and support systems for affected families.
5. quote from and reference available studies and data around VAW in their communities and ask why the data is not available if it doesn't exist.

Says PFF co-chair Monica Miller of American Samoa: "Reporting basically grows a public conversation. We are in a time when newsrooms need to better understand and play their part in the public conversations around issues like sorcery killings and the rape of infants. IWD provides that time of pause and reflection for us all to think about one core issue -- how we can be better at what we do".--ENDS

CONTACT: PFF Chair Titi Gabi | Freelance Journalist | Papua New Guinea Mail: PO Box 7776, Boroko, NCD, Papua New Guinea | Mob: (675) 7314 3929 | Email: PFF co-Chair Monica Miller | KHJ Radio | American Samoa Mob 684 258-4197 | Office 684 633-7793 | Email: The Pacific Freedom Forum are a regional and global online network of Pacific media colleagues, with the specific intent of raising awareness and advocacy of the right of Pacific people to enjoy freedom of expression and be served by a free and independent media. We believe in the critical and basic link between these freedoms, and the vision of democratic and participatory governance pledged by our leaders in their endorsement of the Pacific Plan and other commitments to good governance. In support of the above, our key focus is monitoring threats to media freedom and bringing issues of concern to the attention of the wider regional and international community.

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