In the words of UN Secretary General António Guterres, “Promoting a free press is standing up for our right to truth ” IAWRT President Violet Gonda said, Journalists around the world still face serious challenges and are victims of death,detention, torture, murder, disappearances, extrajudicial killings and online attacks, sexual harassment among others.
The International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) once again joins
the rest of the world to commemorate the World Press Freedom Day and calling for the
safety of journalists especially female journalists around the World.
IAWRT President added, We condemn the recent killing of ten journalists a few days ago in a series of attacks in Afghanistan and among them was a female journalist.
A number of women journalists have died in the line of duty in various countries. IAWRT
would like to pay tribute to:
Daphne Caruana Galizia (killed in a car bomb attack on 16 October 2017 for exposing
corruption in Malta;
Gauri Lankesh (shot dead in India on 25 September 2017) for criticizing the woman’s
place in the caste system;
Miroslava Breach (killed on 23 March 2017), an anti-corruption and human rights
reporter for the Norte de Ciudad Juárez and La Jornada newspapers in Mexico;
Kim Wall, a Swedish journalist who was sexually assaulted and killed while working on
a submarine story in August 2017.
We also condemn the threats to journalists in the Philippines. The most recent ones being
threats to: Rosemarie Alcaraz of Radio Natin Guimba received threats after recording on
camera the shooting of farmers by local landlord’s men; Kath M. Cortez, was physically
harassed for covering a protest action in Marawi.
In Iran, the Reporters Without Borders have revealed that many feminist journalists have
been subjected to judicial harassment and imprisonment in connection with their writing.
They include: Mansoureh Shojaee, who now lives in exile, and Narges Mohammadi, who is
Moreover, efforts to discredit the role of media have become stronger. The powers-that-be
wield disinformation and lies via social media to undermine the truth. Women journalists
have become targets of these attacks, often with a sexual dimension.
The recent cyber-attacks against Indian journalist Rana Ayyub is a case in point. According
to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Ayyub received pornographic videos of her face
morphed onto “bodies of naked women” in her Facebook inbox and via Twitter on April 23.
After that, trolls barraged her with sexist comments. The same treatment was received by
Filipino women journalists Jamela Alindogan, Gretchen Malalad, Inday Espina-Varona,
among others, for writing about killings in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s so-called ‘anti-drug operations’.
The consequence of the attacks on media women globally undermines the work of women journalists and is a media freedom issue.
IAWRT is committed to ensure safety of journalists around the World. We launched a Safety Handbook for Journalists in 2017 at out Biennial Conference in the Philippines, with advice and recommendations on security and safety, which is specially addressed to women journalists working in war and conflict. IAWRT has also given safety training to hundreds of journalists around the world.
We commend the support from various partners including UNESCO and FOKUS that have enabled us to reach out to vulnerable journalists. We have held a number of workshops around safety in our IAWRT Chapters and commit to continue with the struggle.
IAWRT appreciates the work of the local chapters in countries that are at risk such as; Afghanistan where Najiba Ayubi and Iraq where Awaz Salim have established chapters respectively (to be officially installed this year).
PRESIDENT of IAWRT Violet Gonda stated on World Press Freedom Day 2018, IAWRT celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom; pays tribute to our colleagues who were killed doing their jobs and joins partners all over the world including; UNESCO, RSF, IWMF, CPJ and EJN who continue to defend the media from attacks on their independence.