By Hassan Zaggi
In an effort to ensure that harmful practices and violations around Gender Based Violence (GBV) are identified and reported accurately, the United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA), has trained journalists in Abuja.
The journalists were drawn from the print, radio, television and online platforms from both local and international media houses.
While declaring the training open, the Deputy UNFPA Representative in Nigeria, Erika Goldson, explained that the training focused on how COVID-19 has increased the GBV and harmful practices in the society; identifying and reporting GBV and harmful practices violations and prioritising survivors’ rights to dignity, privacy, confidentiality, safety, security and protection from harm or retribution when reporting.
Other focussed areas of the training, he said, included the potential positive impact of reporting on GBV for survivors and others within the affected population; the role of the media in lobbying for ensuring access to services and understand UNFPA’s key role in GBV globally and in Nigeria and indirectly, the long-term support for UNFPA’s transformative goal of ending GBV and other harmful practices in Nigeria.
Speaking on the rationale for the training, the Deputy Country Representative, noted that “the media is a very important partner for UNFPA, it is through this medium we get to make visible our work and share the stories of our beneficiaries.
“Training for the media helps to facilitate responsive reporting and ensure that the high-level awareness events are reported widely for impact through traditional and social media.
“Media reporting on sexual and other forms of gender-based violence facilitates greater advocacy with stakeholders such as decision makers and communities to ensure protection of survivors and those that are at risk of GBV.
“This is made possible when the media consider basic ethical and safety principles for reporting GBV. Failing to adhere to these principles further puts women and girls, their families and care providers at risk.
“This makes it expedient for journalists to be trained on the urgent need to prioritize these ethical and safety considerations that preserve the safety, confidentiality and dignity of GBV survivors, their families, their communities, and those who are trying to help them, when they compile the media reports.”
He reiterated UNFPA’s commitment to partners that every penny spent on programme activities will have visibility from the media to inform donors and the general public and that UNFPA will continue to advocate for strong partnership and commitment with the media, especially, with the COVID pandemic.