Nov 7 2020: Half the Story is Never Enough: Challenges Facing Women Journalists Worldwide

This week’s highlights 

  • Half the Story is Never Enough: JHR partners with CCUNESCO and World Press Freedom Canada to Spotlight Challenges Facing Women Journalists Worldwide
  • Gender-based violence: A scourge to be eradicated in Mali
  • Watch Thursday’s Indigenous Media Talks Webinar: Press Freedom & Land Defence
  • We’re hiring! A Financial Coordinator, Project Coordinator and Project Manager in Tunis, Tunisia


Half the Story is Never Enough: Challenges Facing Women Journalists

Photo Credit: CCUNESCO

This November 17 from 9:30am to 10:30 am EST, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESCO), World Press Freedom Canada and Journalists for Human Rights are proud to bring you a unique conversation between women journalists from across the globe.

The three organizations have invited three leading women journalists, Nisreen Anabli of Syria, Sandra Bashengezi of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Karyn Pugliese of the Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation in Ontario to discuss challenges they face as journalists and ways the international community can work with them to help mitigate those challenges. These incredible journalists will be in conversation with JHR’s executive director Rachel Pulfer.

 “The safety of women journalists is a central concern for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO. While both men and women journalists face threats to their safety, women are disproportionately targeted. These threats can range from discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace, to online violence, to sexual violence,” said Canadian Commission for UNESCO Secretary General Sébastien Goupil. “These threats have a silencing effect that diminishes freedom of speech and perpetuates inequalities. A free and representative press, including the voices of women journalists, is essential for both the future of democracy and for achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

 “World Press Freedom Canada works to highlight the importance of an robust and independent media, both at home and internationally. But press freedom is a hollow concept unless women – and indeed all marginalized people – fully participate in and have access to media in order to make their voices heard,” WPFC President Shawn McCarthy said. “We know from experience as well as from industry studies that women journalists face more online harassment and personal threats than their male colleagues. We all need to work hard to protect them.”

“Journalists for Human Rights works to ensure human rights awareness worldwide. We do this work by training journalists on covering human rights stories ethically and objectively,” says Rachel Pulfer, executive director of Journalists for Human Rights. “When we don’t prioritize women and girls’ stories, voices and rights, we are not hearing from half of humanity. JHR is very proud to work with CCUNESCO and World Press Freedom Canada on a panel that helps brings balance to that equation by giving these courageous and inspiring women the platform they deserve.”

This event will be co-produced by the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and World Press Freedom Canada, both based in Ottawa, and Journalists for Human Rights, based in Toronto. It enables these women to present insights and findings from a series of papers written and co-published by CCUNESCO and Journalists for Human Rights on the theme of challenges for women journalists. More information to follow on registration in the coming days. 


Gender-based violence: A scourge to be eradicated in Mali 


In Mali, nearly 49% of women have been victims of physical and sexual violence at least once in their lifetime, according to UN Women. While gender-based violence constitutes a crime, no Malian law explicitly prohibits it. Since 2017, civil society organizations have mounted a strong campaign for the adoption of a draft law against gender-based violence that was introduced to parliament and that has yet to be approved due to opposition from traditionalist groups. The lack of legal mechanisms to protect women and girls render them more vulnerable to gender-based violence.


On Friday, October 30, 2020, JHR held a round table that brought together media professionals, civil society actors involved in the promotion of human rights, and state representatives to discuss the issue of domestic violence. The event was co-chaired by Ms. Dembele Orokya, the national director of the Promotion of Women, and Mr. Abdoul M. Thiam, the coordinator of CEDEP. The objective of the discussions was to take stock of existing legal and cultural mechanisms that protect women against gender-based violence, and to collect recommendations on best preventive and protective approaches.


Gender-based violence is firmly rooted in Malian culture and few mechanisms exist to prevent it. According to Ms. Dembele Orokya “Violence constitutes a serious violation of fundamental human rights; although Mali has ratified several international, regional and sub-regional texts, few of these texts have found an effective translation in the national legal arsenal. This is due in large part to socio-cultural constraints, which sometimes encourage violence”.


During the roundtable, several recommendations were proposed to remedy the problem of gender-based violence such as organizing advocacy campaigns to pressure Malian authorities to adopt and apply the draft law on GBV, strengthening the collection and dissemination of data on GBV issues, and the creation of a consultation framework between various stakeholders to federate intervention actions to raise awareness among the population. 


JHR is committed to supporting the various stakeholders to promote respect for the rights of women and girls in Mali.Since June 2019, JHR has been working in Mali on the implementation of the Project “Strengthening Media to Promote an Inclusive Democracy in Mali” in close partnership with the Maison de la Presse du Mali, the Union des Radios et Télévisions Libres du Mali (URTEL) and the Higher School of Journalism and Communication Sciences of Bamako with funding from the United Nations Fund for Democracy UNDEF / UNDEF.


La violence basée sur le genre : Un fléau à éradiquer au Mali


Au Mali, près de 49% de femmes ont été victimes au moins une fois dans leur vie de violence physique et sexuelle selon L’ONU femmes. Ce phénomène constitue un délit, mais aucune loi malienne n’interdit explicitement la violence basée sur le genre. Depuis 2017, un avant-projet de loi contre les violences basées sur le genre est bloqué par des groupes traditionalistes. L’absence de mécanismes visant à protéger les femmes et filles contre la violence basée sur le genre les rends plus vulnérables.


Le vendredi, 30 octobre 2020, JHR a tenu une table ronde entre professionnels des médias, les acteurs de la société civile intervenant dans le domaine de la promotion des droits humains, et le partenaire étatique sur les violences conjugales. Cette table ronde a réuni près d’une vingtaine (20) de personnes dont huit (08) participantes sous la présidence du coordinateur du CEDEP Monsieur Abdoul M. Thiam, et de la directrice nationale de la Promotion de la Femme, Mme Dembele Orokya. L’objectif de la rencontre était de faire un état de lieu sur les les dispositifs de protection des femmes contre les violences conjugales existant au Mali et de recueillir des recommandations sur les moyens de prévention et de protection des femmes face à ce fléau.


La violence basée sur le genre est solidement enracinée dans la culture malienne et peu de mécanisme existe pour le prévenir.  Selon, Mme Dembele Orokya « Les violences constituent une violation grave des droits fondamentaux de la personne humaine, bien que le Mali ait souscrit à plusieurs textes internationaux, régionaux et sous-régionaux, peu de ces textes ont trouvé une traduction effective, dans l’arsenal juridique national. Cette fébrilité est due en grande partie aux pesanteurs socio-culturelles, qui encouragent quelques fois les violences ». 


Au cours de l’événement, les intervenants ont offert plusieurs recommandations pour remédier au problème de violence basée sur le genre telles l’organisation des plaidoyers à l’endroit des autorités maliennes pour l’adoption et l’application de la loi sur les VBG au Mali ; le renforcement de la collecte et diffusion des données sur les questions de VBG et la création d’un cadre de concertation entre les différentes parties prenantes pour fédérer les actions d’intervention pour sensibiliser les populations. JHR s’est engagé à appuyer les différentes parties prenantes pour promouvoir le respect des droits des femmes et filles au Mali.


Depuis juin 2019, JHR intervient au Mali à travers la mise en œuvre du Projet « Renforcement des médias pour promouvoir la démocratie inclusive au Mali » en partenariat étroit avec la Maison de la Presse du Mali, de l’Union des Radios et Télévisions Libres du Mali (URTEL) et l’Ecole Supérieure de Journalisme et des Sciences de la Communication de Bamako grâce au financement du Fonds des Nations Unies pour la Démocratie FNUD/UNDEF


Watch: Indigenous Media Talks – Press Freedom & Land Defence     


We are pleased to share with you the second Indigenous Media Talks webinar – Press Freedom & Land Defence. This webinar was the second in a series of Indigenous Media Talks supported by RBC Future Launch™. 


The webinar was moderated by Brandi Morin, award-winning French/Cree/Iroquois journalist, in discussion with independent Oneida journalist Karl Dockstader, award-winning journalist and media rights advocate Karyn Pugliese, and media law expert Peter Jacobsen.


View the full webinar here.


JHR is hiring in Tunis, Tunisia   

JHR is hiring a Financial Coordinator, Project Coordinator and Project Manager based in Tunis, Tunisia. These are full time positions on 12 month contracts. Please apply by November 12 and see the full descriptions here. See below for the job descriptions and links:

JHR is looking for a Financial Coordinator to manage the financial aspects of its programming in Tunisia. The Financial Coordinator will work under the supervision of the Project Manager and in collaboration with JHR’s head office Financial Manager and associates. See the full details of this position here.

JHR is looking for a Project Coordinator to carry out the implementation of JHR’s newest project in Tunisia. The Project Coordinator will work under the supervision of the Project Manager and in collaboration with the Journalism Team Leader on implementing JHR’s programing. The Project Coordinator is responsible for the logistical, facilitation and communication aspects of the project, in addition to supporting the administrative aspects of the project to ensure the delivery of the project results in accordance with the project documents. See the full details of this position here

JHR is looking for a Project Manager to supervise the implementation of JHR’s programs in Tunisia. The Project Manager will supervise a team of specialist and media trainers in addition to managing contractual and consultants on implementing JHR’s programming in Tunisia. The Project Manager is responsible. The project manager is responsible for the overall implementation of the project in the targeted country and legally represents the organization in the country before the local authorities. See the full details of this position here


 Land Acknowledgement

We wish to acknowledge the land on which the Journalists for Human Rights’ head office operates and recognize the longstanding relationships Indigenous nations have with these territories. For thousands of years it has been the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit River. Tkaronto (Toronto) is in the Dish with One Spoon Territory and is home to Indigenous peoples from many nations across Turtle Island who continue to care for this land today. 
To read more on JHR’s land acknowledgement, click here. 


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