International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women 25 November 2009--Members of the Pacific WAVE Network of women in media, information and communications have called on media colleagues to step up analysis on national commitments to end violence against Pacific women and girls. They are also being encouraged to look at supporting safer workplaces for women in the media."The three words of the theme of the 2009 campaign are an important reason why freedom of expression and a free media are so necessary.’
"Commit, Act, Demand' is a call on journalists to examine our own industry, but also to demand accountability on progress to end VAW from our leaders at all levels"says WAVE coordinator Ulamila Wragg.
"The Pacific has committed many times over to ending the tragedy of family violence taking its toll on our region. The figures are unacceptable. As many as 87 out of every 100 women in the Marshall Islands has suffered physical violence at the hands of her beloved. In Papua New Guinea, sexual violence against women and girls and the torture and killing of women suspected of sorcery reveals an alarming cultural impunity and disregard for the human rights of half of the population,” says Wragg.
"Imagine our political, church and community leaders being in the private sector business, with the commitment to end VAW being one of the indicators of performance.
"..based on the UNIFEM Pacific postcard which provides the regional update, all our Pacific leaders would have to go home, and their positions re-advertised.”
"A strong, free and informed media which follows through on commitments to end VAW after leaders have reaped the publicity from signing them is a key part of the solution."
"In turning the spotlight on demanding action to commitments made, journalism itself needs to be a safer industry for Pacific women to work in," says post-graduate student and WAVE founding member Lisa
"Behind the newspaper headlines, radio voices, and TV screens,newsgathering often means being at public events, working evenings, or travel to remote areas and outside the country. Depending on how entrenched the gender roles are at home and at work, the incidences shared by WAVE members of physical, sexual and emotional violence experienced by women and witnessed by their colleagues shows that the media has to live up to its own commitments too." ENDS
*UNIFEM Pacific report, PACWIN 24/11/09
Ulamila WRAGG, Coordinator
Pacific WAVE Media Network
(682) 55 999
More on the Pacific Women in the Media Action Plan, Section J and broader Pacific regional commitments to gender equality