DRC reporter TV reporter

Calls to protect women journalists gaining momentum

Women journalists worldwide seem to have become soft targets of security forces, hitmen and other gangsters keen to protect their masters’ political, military and business interests.

Attacks on women in media are believed to be on the rise, and the situation is said to be worse particularly in conflict-stricken countries.

A DRC female TV reporter, Francine Bitshi, was beaten by a mob and left for dead last year during a university protest in the capital Kinshasa.

Detention of women journalists on ‘fake’ charges are rife in Ethiopia, while women in media in Afghanistan and Pakistan are reportedly facing enormous challenges.

A Guinea-Bissau female journalist, Milocas Pereira, who disappeared in Luanda (Angola) in 2012, is still missing. She was investigating an alleged arms trafficking involving the governments of Angola and Guinea Bissau.

This week, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum, in conjunction with the FOJO Media Institute, have issued a Declaration calling on media worldwide to support stronger protections for women journalists.

“Journalists are on the front line when it comes to protecting freedoms in society – and women journalists are often the most vulnerable and exposed.

“They are targeted, not only because they report on the abuse of power, but because they are women,” a text called the 2 December Declaration, which coincides with the 250th anniversary celebrations of Sweden’s “Freedom of the Press Act”, said.

Photo: Francine Bitshi, a DRC TV reporter lies unconscious in a hospital bed after she was beaten on duty by a mob in Kinshasa.

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