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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

GPU laments sexual harassment, discrimination of women in media

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By Omar Bah

In his solidarity message on International Women’s Day, the president of the Gambia Press Union Muhammed MS Bah expressed grave concern over the continuous prevalence of sexual harassment and discrimination of women journalists in the media. This, Mr Bah said, remains a major challenge in the fight towards attaining gender equality in the Gambian media landscape.

He said the adoption of the GPU policy on sexual harassment by media houses will set in motion the implementation of mechanisms to prevent sexual harassment in newsrooms and media entities.

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“Issues of sexual harassment and discrimination are factors that undoubtedly militate against efforts to attain gender equality in media houses, and needs to be tackled,” Bah said.

He said the GPU cherishes the fact that “several Gambian women journalists have acquired diplomas and advanced diplomas in journalism through MAJaC and the University of The Gambia”.

“Despite this feat, which shows that there is not a lack of knowledge and skills among women journalists, editorial boards and decision-making positions in newsrooms are mainly dominated by men,” he said.

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While wishing all women media workers a happy Women’s Day, the GPU president urged all media houses to renew their commitment to ensuring gender equality, improve working conditions for journalists by signing up to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which will also promote professionalism and maximise output in terms of quality stories and programming for media houses.

He called on all media organisations to comply with local and international labour standards by ensuring media workers are hired based on written employment contracts, are adequately paid, and all benefits due to them, including health, further education/training, social security are met; appointing more women to editorial boards and decision-making positions in newsrooms and other key management positions in media houses and adopt the GPU sexual harassment policy as a guide to ensure a safe and conducive work environment for women journalists and all female media workers; improving knowledge and awareness of sexual harassment and discrimination at workplaces, and including it in in-house trainings.

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