Media professionals called upon to promote gender sensitive elections coverage

Date: Friday, October 25, 2019

Ms Hind Jalal, UN Women Deputy Rep delivering her opening remarks during the workshop.
Ms Hind Jalal, UN Women Deputy Rep delivering her opening remarks during the workshop. Photo credit: Nlend Emanuel/UN Women

In the run-up of the 2020 legislative and municipal elections in Cameroon, over 40 media professionals have been called upon to promote peaceful and gender sensitive elections coverage. The call was made by Elections Cameroon (ELECAM) and the Ministry of Women Empowerment and the Family (MINPROFF) during a capacity building workshop of media professionals organized Friday, 25 October 2019 in Yaoundé. The workshop organized with the support of UN Women aimed at edifying media professionals on the electoral code and other legislation promoting gender mainstreaming in electoral processes and encourage journalists to adopt inclusive and gender sensitive reporting of elections in Cameroon.

M. Eric Essousse, Director of ELECAM & Ms Hind Jalal, UN Women Deputy Rep (centre) posing for a group photo with media professionals.
M. Eric Essousse, Director of ELECAM & Ms Hind Jalal, UN Women Deputy Rep (centre) posing for a group photo with media professionals. Photo credit: Nlend Emanuel/UN Women

In her opening remarks, Hind Jalal, Deputy Representative of UN Women Cameroon use the opportunity to reaffirm UN Women’s commitment to support initiatives to improve and strengthen the capacity media professionals for balanced and gender-sensitive reporting. Mme Hind called on the media to promote gender equality by ensuring inclusive and positive coverage of women at all stages of the electoral process. We expect at the end of this session that foundations will be laid to strengthen the role of women in the democratic process, that sexist stereotypes cease to be conveyed and that the image of women in the media is respectful. Women should be given the same right as men to participate in public debate and to express their views and ideas on different media platforms” she advised.

During his welcome address, Eric Essousse, Director of ELECAM, called for open discussions to elaborate strategies for effective gender sensitive reporting and strengthen collaboration between electoral bodies and the media. “My wish is that at the end of the rendez-vous, we should all be equipped to face the forthcoming elections with serenity through a genuine, unbiased impartial and responsible reporting. By playing your role, not only will you encourage more women to involve in politics be at the base but contribute in a renewed confidence in our electoral process” M Essousse added.

A cross section of media professionals at the workshop. Photo credit: Nlend Emanuel/UN Women
A cross section of media professionals at the workshop. Photo credit: Nlend Emanuel/UN Women

Following the deliberations during the workshop some key recommendations were made. The journalists were called upon to create media programs and accord more speaking time women leaders, create permanent programs that interest women on political issues and create one-off programs to showcase success stories of rural women with leadership in elected office. Media platforms should encourage political parties to train women and put them up to represent them in different media programs. Finally, the National Communication Council was called upon to set out a normative framework that requires newsrooms to give women fair access.