UNESCO PARTNERS WITH AMWIK TO SENSITIZE MALE JOURNALISTS AS CHAMPIONS AGAINST SEXUAL HARRASSMENT IN KENYAN MEDIA
In its second series of interventions under UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) supported project entitled “Enhancing the Capacity of Community Media Houses to Promote the Safety of Journalists in The Workplace”, the Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK) is organizing a virtual men-engage café targeting 100 male journalists drawn from the mainstream, community, and alternative media on 30th June , 2022.
The activity is organized to build and strengthen a network of male champions to advocate for safer working spaces by speaking against sexual harassment in the media. Participants will be drawn from 10 counties; Nairobi, Kiambu, Mombasa, Homabay, Busia, Migori, Uasin Gishu, Kisumu, Kajiado and Meru.
The male participants will be taken through sessions on; understanding sexual harassment and how to address it, creating safe spaces for survivors, gender-balanced reporting, policies on sexual harassment, reporting and support mechanisms. They will also cover topics on how to boost the safety and support of women journalists against online and offline threats and abuse.
The men’s café will offer possible strategies for identifying and building the capacity of men ambassadors to ultimately create a harassment-free environment that challenges unfair gender norms and power inequalities from a perspective that protects their female counterparts in the workplace.
In efforts to address sexual harassment in the media as mandated by the Kenya Media Sector Working Group – founded through UNESCOs support -, AMWIK has taken up the challenge to employ various strategies in partnership with different groups in the industry including launching four men-to-men engagement county charters in four regions namely; Nairobi, Nyanza, Western and Mombasa.
According to research by the WAN-IFRA-Women in News, Kenyan media lead in sexual harassment in Africa at 56%. Lack of anti-sexual harassment policies that protect employees in their workplace was cited as one of the factors that has contributed to the rising number of female journalists who feel unsafe and leave their jobs prematurely. It also estimates that women in media are 3-to-4 times more likely to experience sexual harassment than men.
To win the war against sexual harassment in the media, AMWIK recognizes that both men and women can be perpetrators or victims and thus, all must be engaged to also champion a safer working environment in the media.
About the UNESCO IIPDC Project
This project is supported by UNESCOs Information Programme for Development of Communication (IPDC), the only multilateral forum in the UN system designed to mobilize the international community to not only discuss and promote media development but also seek an accord to secure a healthy environment for the growth of free and pluralistic media in developing countries.