Expert has continued to harp on the need to address violence against women (VAW) in Nigeria, especially in the mass media.
Executive Director, Media and Gender Enlightenment Initiative(MEGEIN), Dr. Alexander Chima Onyebuchi in a workshop during review of the Reportibg Guidelines for Mainstreaming Violence Against Women (VAW), Practical codes and policy frame stated that stereotype is among the worst challenges facing women.
Dr. Alexander regretted that media also played significant roles in subjugation and suppression of women in the country and called for review of Media reportage on issues involving women.
Be went further go enumerate some of the reporting guidelines for VAW as in thus:
“For an accurate account of VAW cases, reporter should report incidence of VAW from the point of crime scene arrest and prosecution.
“The reportage of prosecution/trial on VAW cases without adding the voices of the victims, eye witness accounts and
perpetrators will not do justice to the stories The report of trials will only present the views of councils which may
not show the seriousness of the
“Story headlines should reflect the actual content of the story. Every issue raised in headline should be treated in
the body of the story”
“Language that degrade women should not be used in reporting cases related to VAW. This will ensure that the readers pay more attention to the act rather than the words
used to describe the women/girl-child”.
“Words/Language that play down on the gravity of the offense should be avoided in reporting cases of VAW”.
“Parties to the report should form part of the attribution to
the VAW stories”.
“Men should not be reported in VAW stories in such a way that it tries to shade or justify their action”.
“In reporting VAW cases of grieve in the family, the voices of women should not only be heard rather both parents
should be heard”.
“Reports should avoid sensationalizing headlines of VAW stories”
“Words that show the impact and implication of VAW stories should be used to indicate the seriousness of the story”.
“Reports of VAW which have prominent figures as perpetrators to a crime should not be reported with the intention to protect their image or identity”.
“When police officers are alleged to have committed crime in relation to VAW, news stories on these events should not
be written as if officers cannot committee such crimes”.
“Stories on VAW should be written from the woman rights perspectives, especially as it affects the rights of women
as contained in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)”.
“When VAW reports are taken from the point of court trial or proceedings, reporters should endeavour to refer to the crime scene/crime and confessions obtained”.
He further added some of the practice codes for both the reporters, editors and media house which include:
“Balance and Fairness: Victims and perpetrators should form the essence of the story. In essence, a report will be balance and fair when the victim is also able to give an account as much as the perpetrator did. This will show both sides of the story Also, reporters should be careful when interviewing the victims in cases where they are still alive”
“Image/Photographs: This helps to bring out the weightof the crime on VAW, especially where it is certain that the said victim committed the crime even when awaiting court trial. This should be more so in cases where the police have ascertained that the crime was committed by the individual through confession. Also, images of victims should be used discretely, especially in VAW Cases in order to avoid stigmatisation”.
“Accuracy: Story titles (headines) and the body content should actually reflect what transpired in cases of VAW. There is no alternative to an accurate account”.
“Attribution/Sources: To enrich stories on VAW,
specially where the crime is grievous, accounts from
different sources such as; authoritics, eye witnesses and
parties to the issues should be used to enrich the story and
1ncrease it prominence and believability”.