“Not only have gender stereotypes remained firmly embedded in news media output but the new technological revolution has also brought about new types of gender-based violence, including online discrimination, cyberbullying, cyberstalking, blackmail and hate speech. It is important for the UN and UNESCO to set up legal and policy frameworks that can effectively tackle violence against women journalists as well as violence against women in media and digital contents.” Saniye Gülser Corat, Director of the Gender Equality Division, UNESCO
Evidence shows there has been a severe increase of violence against women journalists, both offline and online. This is happening in a number of countries, but mostly in conflict and post-conflict countries where the human rights of women journalists have become more precarious. On the other hand, despite the clear importance of policies to improve gender equality in media and telecommunication companies, numerous recommendations made by numerous initiatives including the Global Alliance on Media and Gender (GAMAG) have been disregarded. Finally, although ending violence against women and girls in media content is fundamental to the Beijing Platform for Action (1995) Objective J.1, instead of decreasing, sexism and misogyny in media have risen dramatically.
The new digital environment has enhanced existing problems as well as presented new challenges that need to be addressed – such as sex trafficking in social networks, easily accessible violent pornography, online intimidation and silencing of women, and more. An urgent response from member states is needed, in coordination with UN agencies, universities, NGOs, regulatory bodies, unions, practitioners and media and ICT sectors.
To bring into CSW the debates around these issues, and recognize a set of guidelines that could serve as a catalyst for coordinated international action, the Mexican Government in partnership with the GAMAG organized a multistakeholder debate on March 14th. The event put special focus on the three central issues of the Women and Media agenda – violence against women journalists, gender mainstreaming in media and ICT policy and violence against women in media and digital contents.
This side event brought together different stakeholders from national governments, the UN system, civil society, academia, women’s and youth organizations and the media sector. The debate was moderated by Carolyn Byerly, Howard University, and high-level participants including Lorena Cruz, National Institute of Women President, Aimée Vega Montiel, Global Alliance on Media and Gender (GAMAG) Chair, Saniye Gülser Corat, UNESCO Director of the Division for Gender Equality, Oisika Chakrabarti, UN Women, Liri Kopaçi-Di Michele, Council of Europe Head of the Equality Division, Maria Edström, University of Gothenburg and Rosa Monteiro, Vice Minister of Citizenship and Equality of Portugal presented as panelists.