The International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) has called for vigorous support for free and independent media as well as defense of press freedom as it continues to see a decline around the world.
The appeal was made on Wednesday by IAWRT president Violet Gonda ahead of the World Press Freedom Day scheduled to take place on Friday May 3, 2019.
“Without free media, no democracy, and without powerful and truthful journalism no real role of the free media in our work to counter disinformation,” she said.
Ms Gonda revealed that despite the steady rise in attacks against journalists and media outlets internationally, they underscore the importance of press freedom by committing to the highest standards of the profession, to the truth and to the public that they need to keep informed.
“The lives of vilified or incarcerated journalists depend on our ability to continue our work, to not be cowered, and for the rest of the people to act and join us in defending press freedom and freedom of speech in every corner of the world. These attacks, especially against female journalists, cannot continue with impunity and we should move to hold governments who silence news media accountable. We remind governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom.
“In response to censorship, threats, harassments and intimidation, our response and defense are to continue to write, report and investigate for the public interest.”
Ms Gonda also revealed that that attacks against female journalists is career threatening since most them after being harassed, they consider leaving the profession.
“A study released on September 2018 by the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) and Troll-Busters.com revealed that nearly two-thirds of female journalist respondents have been harassed, nearly one-third of female respondents consider leaving the profession due to harassment and those early in their careers are twice as likely to consider alternate employment. In addition, more than one-third female journalists avoid certain stories as a result of the harassment they experience, threatening the ability of media to deliver unbiased and truly free reporting. The survey had 597 female respondents,” she disclosed.
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