In line with UN Women’s 16 Days of Activism that runs every year from 25th November to 10th December, Global Neighborhood for Media Innovation engaged in a campaign to create safe spaces for women in journalism. The campaign was centered around 16 women journalists – with 4 additional journalists for extra measure – who were invited to share their thoughts on gender-based violence (GBV), prejudice, discrimination, harassment, and violence in the newsroom and in the media industry.
In collaboration with UN Women Pakistan, GNMI’s social media campaign consisted of women journalists’ experiences, thoughts, and recommendations to counter GBV through social media posts shared every day between the 16-days-of-activism timeline. These posters held quotes by leading women journalists in Pakistan including Asifa Idrees, Asma Shirazi, Bushra Iqbal, Bushra Qamar, Diya Rehman, Kiran Qasim, Rabia Bugti, Sehrish Khokhar, Sidra Dar, Xari Jalil, and Zofeen Ibrahim shared on all GNMI social media platforms.
As part of the collaboration, UN Women Pakistan posted posters with quotes of women journalists including Afia Salam, Amber Raheem Shamsi, Annie Shirazi, Ayesha Khalid, Gharida Farooqi, Lubna Jerar Naqvi, Nadia Naqi, Sheema Siddiqui, and Urwa Ahmed shared on all UN Women Pakistan social media platforms.
The campaign culminated into a program titled Ending GBV Against Women and Girls: Perils & Aspirations of Women Journalists held at the University of Karachi on 7th December wherein a panel of leading journalists in the media industry came together to highlight the issues that female journalists face in their professional circles, the challenges threatening their professional success, how to combat any gender-based issues both in personal and professional setups and how male counterparts can play a role in diminishing GBV.
Led by GNMI’s Founder and President, Najia Ashar, the panel included leading names in the media industry including Afia Salam, Aleena Farooq Shaikh, Nadia Naqi, Nasira Zuberi, Nusrat Haris, and Uzma Al-Karim.
The experts covered women’s role and representation in the traditional and digital news media industry to counter GBV, the underrepresentation of women in media in correlation to GBV, media’s role in making an equal and just society, GBV reporting in current affairs, and its impact on society, how media can change its sensational style coverage of GBV into responsible coverage, and policy and governance reforms in media organizations to end GBV.
Some special guests were also invited to the program including GNMI’s secretary-general, Lubna Jerar Naqvi, and the University of Karachi’s Dean Faculty of Pharmacy, Dr. Fayaz Vid. The event was also joined virtually by UN Women Pakistan’s Deputy Country Representative, Jacqui Ketunuti, and Portfolio Manager EVAW, Governance, and Human Rights, Saman Ahsan.
Through the campaign, GNMI generated discourse among the journalist community and media industry regarding the pressing problem of GBV in media specifically and society in general. Additionally, masses on digital media were engaged through the campaign and educated about the struggles of women in media.
With programs as such, GNMI hopes to give rise to a more inclusive journalistic community that continues to strive to create safe spaces for women in media to address GBV issues.