RELUCTANCE to recognize and accept women’s competence in the media industry has been cited as one of the factors undermining efforts to enhance the capacity of women journalists, hence preventing them from rising to the higher ranks of the profession.
This was stated recently by Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, Interim Project Director – East Africa, (FNF) Ms Veni Swai in a oneweek workshop for women journalists held in Nairobi, Kenya.
Ms Swai said women journalists have also been described as highly capable but not given top positions in the media to be able to participate in decision-making and help other new female journalists.
Ms Swai said FNF has seen the importance of training women journalists to increase their ability to participate and acquire higher positions in the media and support others. She said FNF aims to lift women and society as a whole from oppression, raising selfawareness.
She said the foundation focuses on empowering journalists to develop their talents through training. Ms Swai said FNF has been around for a long time but they started a program to engage and empower women journalists in 2020.
“This is the second workshop to be held after the first one which was held online in June last year due Covid-19 pandemic. Though it was done online it was good and I believe this year the workshop will add value,” said Ms Swai.
The training facilitator, Ms Njeri Kabeberi said it was important for women journalists to change their work practices by setting goals and seeking greater opportunities within the media.
“I would like to urge women journalists to step up their efforts in looking for opportunities within the profession, including setting their own goals beside the objectives of their company that are required to be achieved collectively,” she said.
She urged writers to get rid of the practices of writing shallow stories and instead focus on reporting on issues that directly touch human lives, including conducting investigative stories to uncover hidden information for community development.
She called upon journalists to follow the ethics of journalism in order to differentiate themselves from those who with no professional training.
“Nowadays everyone is a journalist. Some take pictures in events that do not deserve coverage before posting them on social media platforms, so, we expect professional journalists to differentiate themselves from who have not gone to school,” said Njeri.
For her part, chairperson of Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA) Joyce Shebe, said the training was different as it reminded women journalists to fight for recognition of their work and be ready to grab opportunities.