Sierra Leone Association of Women in Journalism (SLAWIJ) .png

By Mary Kabay

The Rainbo Initiative in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Association of Women in Journalism (SLAWIJ) held a one-day training for media practitioners held at the Ebenezer Hall in Freetown, on the theme: “The Role of the Media in Reporting Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV)”.

It is an acceptable fact that despite various efforts made by the media to raise awareness on Sexual and Gender Based Violence in the country, there are scores of sexual abuses and violence perpetrated cases that go unreported.  In some cases, critical information of survivors is exposed by the media, thereby worsening stigma and discrimination against survivors in their communities.

Against such a gloomy and abysmal backdrop, the Rainbow Initiative in partnership with SLAWIJ engaged 35 print and electronic media journalists on the ethical principles of reporting SGBV for one day.

Daniel Kantor, Executive Director of the Rainbo Initiative disclosed how the training is aimed at targeting female and male journalists that have been reporting SGBV cases. He continued that it has been noted that when reporting such cases journalists do not pay attention to the confidentiality of the victims, thereby maintaining that they deemed it important to organize the training to ensure that they report professionally and also with the objective of reminding them about their roles and responsibilities as well as ensuring that everyone contributes in the fight against SGBV.

He expressed the view that the 35 beneficiaries of the training will replicate what they have learnt so far in order to guide them amplify and raise the awareness on Sexual and Gender Based Violence without undermining any confidential rules and ensuring the protection of the survivors.

He also revealed that the Rainbow Initiative and the Sierra Leone Association of Women in Journalism have established a mechanism to monitor journalists who go through the training.

Kantor, in making a comparative analysis between the 2020 and 2021 data stated how there was a slight decrease in terms of reporting cases at the Rainbo Center, but said the data was still high as last year there were over 3,292,000 reported cases were as the 2020 data reported 3,548,000 cases out of which 75% of the data featured children within the age brackets of 5-12. He stated that such clearly shows that the report related to adults is very poor due to stigmatization stressing how society’s perception is contributing greatly towards that.

He called for concerted effort in combating SGBV underscoring how the community, media, and CSOs contributions are vital in the fight.

Courtesy the Calabash 2 February 2022

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