Geneva, 6 November 2014
The Global Alliance on Media and Gender (GAMAG) has called on UN member states to include strong provisions on gender, media and ICTs in the post- 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“We cannot talk about equality, good governance, freedom of expression and sustainability when women are effectively silenced in and through the media, and where new technologies are used to undermine the human rights of women and women journalists,” noted the International Steering Committee (ISC) of GAMAG, a network of 500 media and media development, unions and civil society organisations across the globe.
The GAMAG-ISC, which held its first meeting in Geneva from 4-5 November 2014 under the auspices of UNESCO and ISESCO, said the right to communicate; access to information, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) is integral to sustainable development. Currently, GAMAG said, “this issue is glaringly missing from the seventeen SDG’s and the 169 targets that will replace the Millennium Development Goals next year.”
Research conducted by the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) shows that women constitute a mere 24% of news sources. A global study by the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) shows that women constitute 36% of reporters and a quarter of media decision-makers. A range of studies shows a growing gender gap in access to, and ownership of ICTs. New media is also fueling new forms of violence against women and girls ranging from stalking and trolling to human trafficking.
Threats and violence against media workers in general are well-documented, especially with regard to deadly attacks, by organisations like the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF). But there is no group collecting data on security threats to women journalists globally. Attacks against female media workers are only reported anecdotally, if at all, by international media support organisations.
Provisions that GAMAG wants included in the SDG’s include:
Launched after a watershed UNESCO and partners-led conference on gender and the media in Bangkok in December 2013, GAMAG seeks to harness new opportunities, and address new challenges, for gender equality and women's empowerment in and through media in an information society context which has radically transformed media architectures.
The GAMAG-ISC is concerned that progress towards media that support gender equality and women’s rights objectives remains painfully slow. GAMAG will amplify and give visibility to existing key regional and global initiatives on gender and media to hasten the pace of change. Further, GAMAG will take action to ensure that women’s communication rights gain prominence in on-going Beijing+20 review events, the post-2015 debates and the World Summit for the Information Society (WSIS)+10.
Priority actions identified by GAMAG include:
The ISC agreed on working mechanisms, including regional and theme sub-committees on Youth; Research; Capacity Building and Training; Advocacy, Communications, Campaigning and Outreach; Media, ICT Policies, Content and Practice.
For further information please contact:
Colleen Lowe Morna, Chair of GAMAG-ISC, Gender Links
Sonia Gill, Secretary General of GAMAG-ISC, Caribbean Broadcasting Union
Alton Grizzle, Media Development and Society, UNESCO