Media stakeholders have called for more training workshops targeting female journalists to enhance their safety and security while on duty.
The call was made after MISA Zimbabwe held a safety and security training workshop in Harare on 22 July 2023, which deliberately targeted young female journalists. Thirty female journalists drawn from 25 media houses participated in the training workshop.
This comes when the country is preparing for elections, which generally heightens the vulnerability of female journalists as they have to contend with on and offline violence and cyber-bullying amid reports of sexual harassment in and outside the newsroom.
In the past, female journalists have been victims of attacks at political rallies, during public order maintenance situations, and through online cyber-bullying. This has resulted in young female journalists fearing to work in newsrooms.
The training conducted by MISA Zimbabwe was aimed at making the journalism profession more gender-friendly, especially during high stakes operating environments such as elections.
- Political parties should create safe spaces at their events and rallies to ensure that journalists are not attacked or harassed by their supporters. This includes toning down on rhetoric against the media.
- Political parties should educate their supporters to desist from online attacks against journalists, especially female members of the profession.
- There is a need to heighten awareness among young female journalists across newsrooms on what constitutes sexual harassment.
- News sources should desist from sexual advances to female journalists in exchange for news.
- Continuous engagement with young female journalists, offering pep talks, even tertiary institutions, where the abuse often starts.
- More journalism safety and security trainings for female journalists.