MISA Communiqué: Celebrating women and female journalists

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, the Media Institute of Southern Africa salutes and appreciates the efforts all women, especially the journalists, media professionals and media scholars who continue to make immense contributions to the growth and development of journalism and media in the region.

We also applaud the courage exhibited by many female journalists who, in their earnest pursuit to expose injustices within the societies they work in, have been harassed, unlawfully arrested and tortured but continue to seek the truth and present it to the public for the betterment of those very same societies.

MISA also acknowledges the regional efforts that are being made to increase the representation of women in senior management positions across southern African newsrooms. We insist, however, that more can – and should – be done towards this goal. The same goes for the reportage on issues that directly affect women, for example, gender-based violence and HIV/AIDS. We would like to see more accurate reporting of important matters such as these, reporting that is relieved of the curse and weight of stereotype.

We also encourage media houses within the region to continuously offer support and requisite protection to female journalists who pursue news stories that may potentially put them in harm’s way. In the same breath, we also call upon SADC governments to draw from the rich body of both home-grown and international instruments and best practices on women and gender and streamline these locally with the sole aim of promoting gender equality and human rights protection.

Finally, MISA remains committed to contributing to and improving the body of research that exists on gender and media in southern Africa, making it more relevant to contemporary needs and forward-looking at the same time. We also reaffirm our commitment to the spearheading and coordination of practical support interventions towards female journalists who fall victim to media freedom and freedom of expression violations.

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