UNICEF Trains 30 Journalists From Seven Counties On Sexual Gender-Based Violence Reporting

By J. H. Webster Clayeh

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The Department of the Mass Communication of the University of Liberia in partnership with UNICEF has begun a two-day media training for 30 journalists from six counties on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, Harmful Practices and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.

The training is being conducted at the Executive Lounge, University of Liberia Fendall Campus. The theme of the two-day media training is Media Empowerment: Key to Ending SGBV, HP, and SEA.

Montserrado, Bong, Grand Cape Mount, River Cess, Margibi, Grand Bassa and Bomi are the seven counties that brought out 30 participants. The funding for the workshop came from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).

Speaking at the start of the workshop, Cletus Sieh, who spoke on behalf of University of Liberia president alarmed on the rise of sexual gender-based violence in the county.

“Babies in diapers and all are getting raped. I do not know whether it was a rape. I believe it is a SGBV,” Sieh, who is the head of administration in UL president’s office, said.

Sieh, as former Information Minister, praised the media for their work they do especially in the fight of the coronavirus.

“These activities should not just stop at a workshop but financial empowerment to go into the tranches to get the needed information to the public,” he said.

Also speaking, UNICEF Child Protection Officer, Madam Ina Christensen said media awareness and sensitization about SGBV is important in reducing the menace in the country.

She stressed that journalists need to be more proactive in reporting more sexual gender-based, harmful practices, and sexual exploitation and abuse.

Madam Christensen urged journalists to prioritize survivors’ safety and survivors’ interest in reporting every form of gender abuse. The UNICEF officer maintained that the media should serve as a conduit in highlighting issues affecting women, girls and children.

“You as media workers play an important role in the fight against SGVB, we have gathered you here for the two days to go beyond just reporting rape cases and SGBV, but to dig out more,” she said.

Adding up, the president of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) Charles Coffey called on journalists taking part in the training to utilize the knowledge to eradicate gender abuses in the country.

“I trust the abilities of selected media institutions to bring to book perpetrators of rape cases and SGBV issues to ensure that policymakers adhere to taking punitive measures against perpetrators,” PUL president said.

Mr. Coffey added that journalists reporting rape cases and SGBV issues must report with fairness. He cautioned journalists to avoid using slanderous and libelous assertions in their reportage.

“In reporting rape cases, be accurate, balanced, credible and objective,” he said.

Source: Front Page Africa

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