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How The Media Reports Gender Based Violence News

It is well acknowledged that the media plays a significant role in influencing how people perceive news. How the media expresses and reports news on gender-based violence may either go a long way toward raising awareness or undo all of the work that has been and is being done. Hence, the way the media reports news on Gender Based Violence (GBV) matters a lot.

It is highly erroneous to underestimate the importance of media simply because we do not see or feel its effects immediately or directly. Several studies and theories on media and consumerism show that media can play a considerable influence in the perpetuation of harmful stereotypes, the establishment of discriminatory gender norms, and the normalizing of violence. This is why news stories, particularly those involving gender-based violence, must be carefully covered.

News on GBV, particularly from our local web sources, is obvious enough that many professionals lack the necessary abilities and competence to report such news. What exactly do media outlets anticipate from their audiences if their coverage is mostly focused on the motivation or what prompted the abuse? We've seen far too many instances of "a woman was slain after her husband discovered she was cheating" reportage, which minimizes the crime while ignoring the perpetrator.

Media outlets must understand that GBV news must be handled with a care that is not generally afforded to other types of news. We cannot report and discuss GBV news as if it were the weather.

Media outlets bear a significant portion of the duty for ensuring proper handling and reporting of GBV news. To prevent the mistakes that we see in our publications, they must take the initiative to train their staff.

When media outlets publish news that perpetuates gender-based violence, they must face the repercussions; we cannot let them off the hook simply because they apologize because we have learnt that, most times they are not even sorry. Remember when the Times Newspaper featured a cartoon (Kanjipiti) with a rape joke not once, but twice?

When reporting GBV news, media outlets must make it standard practice to include a call to action. In doing so, individuals not only raise awareness of the situation but also contribute to offering help. For instance, they may include hotlines, shelters, crisis centers, and other nearby services that other victims and those who are affected can use.

To get assistance on GBV issues, you can visit the Victim Support Unit at any nearest police station, or call a toll- freeline 0884 50 20 20.

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