‘Sexual Violence and Harassment an Epidemic in The Country’, Says Madi Jobarteh
Madi Jobarteh, a human rights activist said sexual harassment has been a fundamental human rights issue in homes, workplaces, in the streets and the society at large.
Madi made these remarks during the validation of the Sexual Harassment Policy for the Media in The Gambia on Friday at TANGO conference Hall in Kanifing.
Jorbarteh said women face sexual harassment incredibly across the board every day and it cannot be a norm in the society. He said what they want is a newsroom where both men and women work in a comfortable and safe environment; be respected and not subjected to any form of harassment, and implementation of the policy is a key in the fight to end such act.
“Every Journalists has a role and a duty to implement this by one refraining from sexual harassment”, Madi said.
Jobarteh went on to say that one way of implementing the sexual harassment policy is if a male journalist usually harasses a female journalist should refrain from such act. Likewise, if a female journalist is aware of any case of sexual harassment she should report it immediately. He added that editors, proprietors and managers should implement disciplinary measures on any case of harassment committed by his or her staff immediately.
“This is how we can remove sexual harassment in our midst because; it is disrespectful, it’s violence and it is very unbecoming of men and women who claim to be journalists”, Jobarteh stressed.
Maimuna Sidibeh, Principle Program Officer at UNESCO said statistics shows that 1 in every two journalist have suffered sexual harassment, psychological abuse and other human rights abuses. She said the increasing number of harassment on women Journalists around the world is a call for concern but with this draft policy if accepted will serve as a warning that the days of sex for work and promotion in the media organizations is coming to an end.
“There have been stories that there are demands for sex from young employees most especially those coming new into the profession before they can be given assignments or even have their stories published”. Maimuna revealed.
She further stated that workplace discrimination have caused many competent women journalists their deserving rights to move up to the ladder or even to cover very important bids for the political, economic departments of the media houses. Most of these bids she added are given to their male counterparts some of whom are not as competent as their female colleagues in the same department.
“We are aware that most young women are unwilling to up print Journalism as a career and newspapers have few women as compared to the previous years”. Sidibeh stated.
Sidibeh however said despite its continuity, many female journalists still do not report such occurrences; many organizations still do not have reporting systems and some newsrooms still thinks that the newsroom is preserved for men.
She is very optimistic that all media houses in the Gambia will adopt the Sexual Harassment Policy and abide by it.
By Adam Drammeh.