Despite Gender being about the way society contrasts relationship between men and women, activists based on research say that media tend to give more coverage to men and neglect reporting about issues that affect women.
Dr Emily comfort Maractho, the Deputy Chairperson of Uganda Media Women’s Association (UMWA), says apart from the effective reporting about women’s day, media tends to ignore other issues concerning women throughout the year.
While conducting a media training about reporting on Gender Based Violence (GBV) and Violence against girls and women at the UMWA headquarters in kisaasi, Dr. Maractho said there is still low dissemination or coverage of information in relation to issues concerning the female Gender and that the little coverage is only by briefs that don’t give detailed information.
“We conducted research on gender based coverage which we believed that if we understood how the selected media houses are doing, it would give us a picture of media reporting on the concerns of the female gender. Shockingly, we found out that coverage on the female gender is still very low and even the low coverage is simply briefs,” she said.
In ensuring the prevailing challenges are addressed so as to increase balanced Gender based reporting, Maractho says they (UMWA) are committed to holding continuous trainings to journalists which they believe will guide journalists on fair, ethical, productive and balanced reporting on Gender sensitive issues such as violence against women.
Dr Maractho, who also doubles as the head of department of journalism and Mass communication at the Mukono based Uganda Christian university said that there is need for higher institutions of learning to revise the course units taught under journalism and mass communication and include more course units that directly relate to Gender based reporting.
“I would appeal that every institution training journalists equips them with knowledge on gender and media because they generally train on gender and society which is far different if you go deep into media and gender,” she said.
“It’s not that every institution teaches it for example, in UCU we have only introduced it last year,” she added.
She however urged journalists to take it upon their individual concerns to improve on their gender sensitive reporting skills.
“It’s in our own efforts as journalists to affectively boost gender based coverage which as well involves making followups of Gender Based Violence so as to ensure the common man’s goal is effectively amplified,” she said.
Brenda Chipo, an editor with Top radio said that as part of the efforts to improve on Gender based reporting, journalists have to opt for trainings in psychology as it is key in dealing with human behavior.
“Psychology skills will help them report gender sensitive issues effectively, tactfully get information from victims as well as council them,” she said.
Meanwhile, UMWA intends to train journalists in districts of Kasese, Kampala, Gulu and Kitgum so as to fill the knowledge gap within the media personalities as far as Gender based reporting is concerned.