2-day seminar on women in media demands gender justice/equity

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Panaji, Jul 19 (UNI) A two-day regional seminar on women in media today made a fervent appeal for fighting for gender justice and equity involving all stakeholders, besides striving for a comprehensive media policy to this effect.

The seminar was organised by the Media Information and Communication Centre of India (MICCI), New Delhi, and Freidrish Ebert Stiftung-India in collaboration with the International Centre, Goa.

Delivering the keynote address in the inaugural session, Chairperson of Goa State Commission for Women Pramod Salgaocar urged the media to sensitise itself for focussing more on gender-based issues, including rapidly declining sex ratio in the country against politics, crime and entertainment.

Expressing concern over lack of women in various sectors, including media at the decision-making level, Dr Salgaocar called for evolving a gender-based media policy to generate more public interest in the society on women issues.

She also decried the tendency of reinforcing women as sex symbols through publication of special supplements in newspapers and other bulletins in the electronic media, further promoting gender imbalance.

''Media has to change to bring about change in the society and vice versa and this could be done by involving the NGOs and media commissions,'' she added.

In his inaugural address, Srinivas Dempo, trustee, ICG and CMF, Dempo Group of companies, called for adequate representation of women at the decision-making level in the media organisations as role models in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Their presence was required in coverage of sensitive conflict areas besides other tough beats like the business, politics and press photography as against the softer forms of coverage, he said.

At the same time, the media houses should create a conducive atmosphere for women so that the latter accepted more challenging jobs in the media, he added.

Nandini Sahai, Director of MICCI, had earlier presented a status report on women journalists in media.

Rajeshwar Dyak, advisor, FES-India, enumerated efforts of the organisation to highlight various issues of the media through such seminars across the country as part of efforts at sensitising the mediapersons and the stakeholders.

The participants, who included practising journalists from different media organisations from the western region, discussed major problems of women journalists in media and need for evolving a well-defined gender policy in two different sessions.

They also discussed various aspects of women issues getting a raw deal in media coverage with even journalism students participating.

The seminar will conclude tomorrow after holding a discussion on the ''superiority myth'' prevailing between men and women journalists and adopting resolutions through an open forum on the gender issues pervading the media and society.

UNI BM SSS SBC CS1918

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