Reported by Marina Djukic, London, UK, 15th February 2006
The ‘Who Makes the News? Report Launch and the Media Roundtable were held on 15th February 2006, at the Foreign Press Association in London. The round table and the launch of the global report were the first steps of the Three Weeks of Global Action on Gender and the Media. From 16th February 2006. Hundreds of media activists, human rights groups, grassroots communication organizations, academics and students of communication, media professionals, journalists associations, alternative media networks and church groups worldwide will come together to take part in this campaign.
During the Three Week of Action, these groups will organize their own events to highlight what is wrong with current representations of women and men in the media and will seek to explore ways in which these concerns can be addressed. Ending on 8th March, the International Women’s Day, this period of action hopes to link up with UNESCO’s ‘Women Make the News’ initiative that calls on all media that produce news to hand over editorial responsibility to women to make the news on that day.
The event on 15th February 2006 included a press conference and a debate amongst media personnel on the gender and media
issues that GMMP 2005 highlights. The press conference began at 9.30 am and was opened by Press Coordinator Sheila George who introduced the speakers: Anna Turley WACC Women's Programme Coordinator, Margaret Gallagher, GMMP report author, Loveness Jambaya GMMP monitor from Zimbabwe and Muhamed Jahangir GMMP monitor from Bangladesh. In her speech, Ms Turley briefly introduced the GMMP project. The aim of the three weeks of action is to move from complaining to the media to fostering a debate with the media. See more pictures.
The author of the GMMP report, Margaret Gallagher, explained the uniqueness of the monitoring project in analyzing "Who makes the news?," and also in what capacity and quality. Women make 52% of world’s population yet GMMP 2005 shows that only 25% women are involved in making the news or being interviewed. This percentage has increased from 1995 when it was only 17%.
Ms Gallagher said that there was not a single news topic where women dominated. Also, 86% of spokespersons or experts interviewed are men. The report highlights that there is a greater tendency for men to cover ‘hard topics’ such as economy,
politics, policies whilst women predominate reporting on ‘soft stories’ such as social and legal areas, poverty, weather, and housing.
Loveness Jambaya, monitor from Zimbabwe reported about the situation in her country, where the monitoring included one national television station, two radios and three print media.
The situation in Bangladesh was reported by Mr Muhamed Jahngir, who said that monitors in his country were mostly students, who covered five national newspapers, one commercial newspaper, one radio and three televisions. They all concluded that media gender equality problem affects all countries in a similar way. The statements provoked several questions from the press.
Mike Wooldridge (BBC World Affairs Unit): Does the perception that women work in a consensual manner and men in a more
conflictive manner come through in the GMMP?
Margaret Gallagher: It is not possible to answer in the context of this research as the report does not cover this area.
Mike Wooldridge: Have you taken into consideration that the nature of news is about bad news a priori?
Margaret Gallagher: There is a belief that ‘news’ is about bad news, but there is no reason why women may not interview in disasters for example (earthquakes, wars or frontlines). Deadlines are the same everywhere and the pressure that comes with it are the same. Voices of equality should exist in this area as well.
Adel Darvish (free lance journalist): Are there significant territorial differences in GMMP?
Margaret Gallagher: Regional differences are very small. The situation is very similar in every country. The highest percentage of women in media is 26% in North America and the lowest is 19% in Africa and Asia.
Milica Pesic (Media Diversity Institute): Is there a large difference in gender equality between public media and private broadcasters?
Loveness Jambaya: The situation in all media in South Africa is similar and there is not much difference in coverage.
Roland Huguenin-Benjamin (ICRC): It seems that African women are presented without resources to react. Also, women in Africa are very inventive in finding solutions and ways of surviving.
Margaret Gallagher: Surprisingly, good stories are equally presented. Men and women have the same journalistic information but what we need to look for is another, different angle, other resources. Far too often neither women nor men think of other possibilities in how to interview, in what location, in what way.
Amy Pratt (Womankind Worldwide): We (women and men) need to make value judgments of what is important in the news.
The press conference ended at 10.15 am, and was followed with a short break. Right after, Ms Jenny Richards from TVE briefly presented the work of TVE and announced the projection of short film directed by Natasha Henry ‘From Rhetoric To Reality: Where are the Women?’
Interview with Margaret Gallagher, the author of the Global ReportBack To Top