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Webinar: Disaster reporting should focus more on women

  • Published at 10:08 am October 12th, 2020
web-cyclone bulbul
Fallen trees block road after cyclone Bulbul in Mongla, Bagerhat on Sunday, November 10, 2019 Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

'The security risk of women does not get focused in media reports during disasters'

Speakers at a webinar have urged policy makers and journalists to put light on the vulnerability and the role of women during disasters.

Leaders from various sectors made the urge while addressing a webinar – "Where are the women? Media coverage of disasters" – organized by UN Women on Monday.

Senjuti Masud, program manager at BBC Media Action, gave a presentation where she discussed her experience while providing training to 75 journalists on disaster reporting. 

“The security risk of women does not get focused in media reports during disasters,” she said. 

"Lack of specific instruction from respective media houses, difficulties in reaching women, shortage of time to file a report and male-dominant mindset are the main barriers in focusing women in news reports during disasters," she said in her presentation.

National Press Club General Secretary Farida Yesmin said: "Those who lead the media outlets need more training and change of mindset to bring women as the focus of reporting.”

"Women get focus only when she is victimized. Butthey can change society, they can lead; these issues remain out of focus," she added.

Angur Nahar Monty, coordinator of Women Journalists Network, emphasised on the participation of females in journalism.

"We have few female journalists compared to the number of male journalists in the country. Firstly, females are less interested in becoming a journalist. On the other hand, there are barriers for a female to be a journalist from her family and the society," she added.

Monty, also the president of DCAB, said: "The important task now is to build the capacity of female journalists to raise the voice of women in media reporting, especially during disasters. At the same time, support from male journalists is important," she added.

UN Women Country Representative Shoko Ishikawa said: "Bangladesh is going through the impact of the three major disasters; Covid-19, Cyclone Amphan and flood. To build resilience against these disasters, women participation and leadership is important.”

"Media reporting can influence government policy and donor funding to create a women-friendly environment" she said.

Dilruba Haider, a program specialist on disaster risk reduction, climate change and humanitarian actions at UN Women, moderated the session.

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