Online Event Held on “Gender-Based Violence in the Media: State of Play, Guidelines, Monitoring”

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On 11 November 2021, an online event, dedicated to “Gender- Based Violence in the Media: State of Play, Directions, Monitoring” was held jointly by the Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services (AAAVMS), the MARGINI Coalition and the Healthy Options Project Skopje (HOPS), with the support of the Programme Office of the Council of Europe in Skopje (as part of the JUFREX 2 Project). Given the fact that, during 2021, a number of documents were prepared and published by various stakeholders regarding gender-based violence (GBV) and media reporting, the Agency initiated, envisioned and carried out this special online event as an opportunity for all interested stakeholders – media workers, employees of the AAAVMS, representatives of the Council for Media Ethics (CEMM), state institutions, as well as a number of civil society organizations – to become acquainted with the issue of reporting on gender-based violence from several aspects.

The first segment of the event was dedicated to the way media reported by presenting the results of the research titled “Sexual Minorities, Gender and the Media: An Analysis of the Media Coverage of Topics Related to the LGBTI Community and Gender-Based Violence,” conducted by the MARGINI Coalition, with the support from Heinrich Bell Foundation. First, Ms. Irena Cvetkovic, Executive Director of MARGINI, presented the findings of the analysis of the media coverage of LGBTI community-related topics, while Ms. Elena Gagovska, author and researcher, focused on key findings of the case study of media reporting in the “Public Room” case. In this, she provided a comparative analysis of the reporting on this case of gender-based violence in 2020 and 2021, respectively, indicating that there had been a shift in the positive direction in the way of reporting, which was, among other things, due to the various stakeholders’ efforts at raising media workers’ awareness.

The next aspect considered were the guidelines on how the media should report. For that purpose, Ms. Marina Tuneva, Executive Director of CEMM, and Ms. Ana Avramoska Nushkova, Legal Advisor at the National Network against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, presented the “Handbook on Gender-Sensitive Reporting in the Media,” prepared as part of the project titled “A Different Discourse for a Better Reality, Media in the Fight against Gender-based Violence- Fortifying Media Literacy about GBV,” implemented by HOPS – Healthy Options Skopje, in partnership with the MARGINI Coalition, the National Network against Violence against Women and Family Violence within the frameworks of the Regional Programme of the European Union, UN Women Skopje and UN Women, “Preventing Violence against Women and Girls: Implementing Norms – Changing Attitudes.” Ms. Elena Petrovska, HOPS project coordinator, dwelled on the media and gender-based violence, i.e. the needs and directions for professional reporting.

The third aspect referred to the monitoring of media reporting on GBV. In this segment, Ms. Emilija Petreska-Kamenjarova of the AAAVMS presented the “Guide of the Agency for Audio and Audiovisual Media Services for Monitoring the Implementation of Reporting Standards in Cases of Gender-based Violence in the Media”. This document, prepared by the Council of Europe expert Katherine Sarikakis under the JUFREX2 project, contains a cross-section of the current situation regarding GBV in the country; a review of the most important related international documents and domestic legislation; an explanation of the importance of both regulation and self-regulation for GBV-related reporting; a series of questions which should be used in the monitoring when analyzing a certain coverage/programme suspected of not abiding by the reporting standards required for GBV cases; clear guidelines on how the monitoring should be conducted, which should be known to the media as well, given the fact that the it had been published and made available on the regulator’s website, and good practices to follow when reporting. This Guide was adopted by the Agency Council on 9 November 2021.



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