2 Bhattacharya

India member selected 

Mausumi Bhattacharyya, a  West Bengal media academic and board-member of IAWRT India, has been selected in the US government, Study of the U.S. Institute (SUSI) for Scholars, within the Journalism and Media Program.


The academic program for mid-career non-American scholars is comprised of a six week program focusing on media operation, teaching, and technological change. 

Dr, Bhattacharyya is currently an Associate Professor in the Centre for Journalism & Mass Communication at Visva-Bharati University, one of  India’s major government funded autonomous universities, which is located in Santiniketan, West Bengal. 

She says “The program will revolve around four main themes –  media, ethics, and society, legal frameworks for media freedoms, roles and responsibilities of journalism in a democracy and changing media business models in an era of technological change.  Ohio University will host the program from June 30 – August 12, 2016.”

“As a participant, I will get the opportunity to observe local, national, and international news organizations across Cleveland, Ohio; San Francisco, California; Atlanta, Georgia; and Washington, D.C. I will be able to discuss topics with working journalists and participate in exercises and projects. I will also be able to attend the prestigious Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) annual conference too as part of the fellowship.”

Dr. Bhattacharyya, is also a recipient of a 2015 IAWRT/FOKUS scholarship for her post doctoral research work  Mobile Phone: a new tool to empower rural women with special emphasis on Bolpur-SantiniketanThe study seeks to explore changes in the livelihoods of  women living in an underprivileged area, through the usage of mobile phones

It will also seek to explore a broader perspective for communication studies related to communication through mobile phone across India, as well as some of South-East Asia.


rose award 2

“The award is dedicated to us all in IAWRT for the hard work and team spirit” 

Media specialist and veteran journalist Rose Haji Mwalimu has received the Media Council of Tanzania’s top accolade, Lifetime Achievement in Journalism Award.

Currently a media trainer/mentor and community media consultant with UNESCO, she is a  founding member of the Tanzania Association of Media Women, Gender and Media Network Southern Africa (GEMSA&GEMSAT), Culture Development East Africa (CDEA) as well a foundation member of IAWRT Tanzania, and its current chapter head, to name but a few of her activites.

The Excellence in Journalism Award Tanzania accolade cited Rose Haji Mwalimu’s contribution to media and humanity in a career which has included working as a translator and editor in the Swahili section of Inter Press Service, and various forms of media production to achieve social change. Those projects have included family welfare by radio in the prevention of HIV/AIDS, voter education by radio in the lead up to Tanzania’s first multiparty elections and rural community radio which has increased access to information.

She also spent almost a decade as National Director of the Media Institute of Southern Africa, where she coordinated media campaigns on freedom of expression and information, media monitoring, broadcasting diversity and ICTs. That work resulted in Information and Broadcasting Policy, Coalition of Right to Information 2007 and the Media Services Bills 2008, which is awaiting enactment.

Tanzania’s press is relatively free, compared to some neighbouring countries, which was partially reflected in the increasing number of nominations for the 2015 industry awards, particularly from electronic media. The Media council of Tanzania said half of the years nominees came from rural areas, and the number of female nominees had increased from 18, in the 2014 awards, to 28 in this round.

Gender inequality, violence against women and empowerment has been a particular focus of Ms Haji Mwalimu’s work with NGO’s and in IAWRT. “The award is dedicated to us all in IAWRT for the hard work, team spirit and good collaboration. I thank you all for making this possible” she said.

However, there was a cloud over the industry award night in Dar es Salaam. The guest of honour, the Chairperson of the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance, Mr Tom Nyanduga outlined continuing threats to Tanzania’s media.

In the lead up to the Tanzanian elections of October 2015, Ms Haji Mwalimu told the IAWRT Biennial that journalists were being attacked and abducted in Tanzania. “Police use force against demonstrators. They beat and arrest journalists.” she said in New Delhi.

Mr Nyanduga confirmed the Commission was hearing similar reports of infringements of the right to access information and freedom of expression. While he said the Tanzanian government was exemplary in promoting media as a tool of development, he criticised its decision to ban live coverage of Parliamentary proceedings and replace it with selected excerpts, distributed to media.

“The ongoing debate on restricting live coverage of Parliament activities can be described as denying people’s right to information. People would like to see their representatives through the function of this important organ” he said.

Since President John Magufuli’s government has taken power, there have been more measures to limit media freedom and no moves to undo draconian powers in media law which allow the government to shut down media outlets.

For Rose Haji Mwalimu, it was straight back to work, she was off to Finland, participating in the UNESCO International World Press Freedom Day and an evaluation seminar of Vikes Communications and Development Foundation projects in Tanzania. She says her baby project is ongoing internet training – which she started while in MISA.

Rose describes herself as a respectful, humble and skilled teacher to those who are less gifted than herself, especially youth and women.

IAWRT President Gunilla Ivarsson adds “Rose has the ability to combine long experience and profound knowledge with warmth and humour, this makes her a lovely person to work with. She is so worthy of this award.”

by Nonee Walsh, May 2016.

csw opening

The 60th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) held in March, had particular a significance in 2016.A set of agreed conclusions called for enhancing the basis for rapid progress, including stronger laws, policies and institutions, better data and scaled-up financing. UN Women says it sets high standards for driving implementation of the agenda for gender equality, empowerment of women and girls and the full realization of their human rights and freedoms. 

(pic: CSW opening Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

The following is adapted from a summary by UN Women’s Civil Society Section.

The annual session of CSW is always one of the largest and most engaging intergovernmental meetings of the United Nations and a premier global forum for policy dialogue and consensus building on gender equality. This year a record number took part, with over 120 government ministers and deputy or vice ministers, 1,825 senior officials and parliamentarians, and more than 4,000 civil society representatives gave voice to a range of issues in 197 meetings  on site and some 450 offsite – and numerous other activities.

       Summary Determinations of CSW:

  1. ‘Emphasizes thet no country has fully achieved gender equality and empowerment of women and girls;
  2. Reaffirms that the realisation of the right to education contributes to promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women and girls; notes lack of progress in girls’ access to secondary schooling;
  3. Underlines the importance of legislative and other reforms to realize the equal rights of women and men;
  4. Recognises importance of providing women equal opportunities for full and productive employment and equal pay for equal work or work of equal value;
  5. Requires full integration of women into the formal economy, including through effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels; and
  6. Recognises the importance of fully engaging men and boys as agents and beneficiaries of change in the achievement of gender equality

      The CSW urged state actions to:

  1. ‘Strengthen normative, legal and policy frameworks to empower women;
  2. Fully engage men and boys, including community leaders, as strategic partners and allies in achieving gender equality;
  3. Foster enabling environments for financing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls;
  4. Support and institutionalize a gender-responsive approach to public financial management;
  5. Strengthen women’s leadership and their full and equal participation in decision-making in all areas of sustainable development, including through temporary special measures, and benchmarks, including by providing education and training, and by removing all barriers that hinder the participation of women
  6. Recognise shared work and parental responsibilities to promote women’s increased participation in public life, and take appropriate measures to achieve this, including measures to reconcile family, private and professional life;
  7. Strengthen gender-responsive data collection, follow-up and review processes; 

The Agreed Conclusions were a result of a hard won consensus which ultimately conveyed the strong commitment of Member states to prioritize and propel effective implementation of the gender equality compact in the 2030 Agenda, in conjunction with the Beijing Platform for Action.

The CSW stressed the critical urgency of integrating gender perspectives in cohesive government strategies across all government policies and programs. 

Most importantly, it defined a roadmap for data, follow-up and review of the first ever universal and comprehensive sustainable development agenda, which would leave no woman and girl behind. 

There was a specific commitment about women and girls who face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, marginalization and vulnerability.

The Agreed Conclusions are of profound importance as they affirm and vow to enact multiple commitments on gender equality and the empowerment of women forged across 2015 in a number of major International declarations, resolution and agreements.[1] pic: UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka high-fives UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri as the CSW Chair Antonio de Aguilar Patriota of Brazil announces the adoption of the agreement. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

Concrete actions to accelerate and achieve gender equality by 2030 were identified, invoking the responsibility of governments, while outlining areas for greater collaboration with Civil Society Organisations. This could include women’s groups along with faith-based, employer, or trade union groupings, socially responsible segments of the private sector and the media.

The CSW also signalled an unprecedented strategic pact to engage, partner, support and resource those sectors in an open and transparent way. Twice within that pact, reference to feminists and to women’s human rights defenders were secured. UN Women’s Civil Society says this constituted a big win which must be used to expand the democratic space for holding governments accountable.

CSW also establishes ground breaking parameters for engaging men and boys as agents and beneficiaries of change. It also commits to transform laws and policies, and equally vows to change social norms that breed and perpetuate discrimination and violence.

For a full analysis report of the 60th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) by Lakshmi Puri, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, see attachment below.

IAWRT held a parallel  event to the CSW, Exploring strategies to eliminate gender inequality in the media.

[1] from the Political Declaration on the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BDPfA), the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the 15th anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and UNSC Resolution 2242, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change along with the UN Women and Government of China co-organized Global Leaders’ Meeting of 27 September 2015

WINGS award 1987

WINGS 30TH Birthday may Herald Change 

WINGS: Women’s International News Gathering Service, a weekly radio program by and about women around the world, has now been in distribution for 30 years.  The pilot, funded by the NPR [US National Public Radio] Satellite Program Development Fund, was released on satellite May 13, 1986. 

Initially, the team of women producers and audio engineers worked out of Western Public Radio in San Francisco, where Frieda Werden (a former IAWRT president) was Operations Manager. The series was inspired by the three United Nations World Conferences on Women that took place from 1975-85, at which women from many countries met, compared notes, and forged a common agenda.  The project began with reaching out to producers who had attended a radio meeting at the 3rd World Conference on Women in Nairobi in 1985.(Pic above: WING’s first award, an NFCB Golden Reel, received in 1986).

“We wanted to do what we could to continue women’s awareness of each other and solidarity that had been forged at those world meetings. Especially in the ’80s, media coverage of the women’s movement was very sparse and grudging,” Frieda recalls. “They used to say that women hold up half the sky, but when you removed the celebrities and the victims from mainstream media coverage there was very little left”  [an observation which is hardly less true today, as evidenced by the IAWRT’s 2015 report Gender Equity and Social Justice in Public Media]. 

After the pilot was released, more stories which WINGS had solicited from international producers, kept arriving in the mail, so a second episode was produced by Frieda and Katherine Davenport.  Just then, they received a grant from the US National Federation of Community Radio Broadcasters (NFCB) to travel to Vancouver, Canada for a conference of AMARC (the Montreal-based World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters).  Through AMARC, WINGS made many contacts with producers and broadcasting stations around the world, and became active in promoting feminism inside the community radio movement.

In August 1986, WINGS became independent, distributing a monthly women’s international newscast.  In addition to satellite, they began distributing on cassettes that the producers duplicated in their living room.  In 1987, WINGS received an award and some funding, began weekly production, and added distribution via the Texas-based Longhorn Radio Network.  After the San Francisco earthquake of 1989, they re-located to Kansas City, with help from community radio KKFI. 

In 1992, Katherine Davenport died, and Frieda moved WINGS headquarters to her former home town, Austin, Texas, where Genevieve Vaughan, a supporter of women’s media, had established her Foundation for a Compassionate Society. Frieda worked for the Foundation and taught radio at its WATER house (Women’s Access to Electronic Resources) while still producing WINGS.  In 1999, Frieda’s friend Mal Johnson (former IAWRT UN representative, now deceased) enticed her to attend an IAWRT conference in India, where she met women who would become friends, mentors, and WINGS contributors, including Indu Ramesh and Violet Gonda.

In 2002, Frieda took WINGS with her when she re-located to Canada.  It is currently headquartered on Denman Island BC.

Around the turn of the millennium, WINGS counted more than 250 women producers who had been contributors and some 150 non-commercial radio stations carrying the programs.  Then as now, most of the stations received the programs for free. Today, the shows are distributed electronically, making usage harder to count.  WINGS is available on the community radio satellites of Australia and the US, and from community radio distribution sites in Australia, the US, and Canada. It is also distributed via email to hundreds of stations and individual recipients, and is podcast on the Rabble Podcast Network (founded by Canadian feminist Judy Rebick and managed by IAWRT member Victoria Fenner). 

At age 69, Frieda is looking at the possibility of retiring from WINGS in the future, and wondering if other producers might like to take it over.  She notes that women’s participation in the media has increased and she is proud that WINGS has played a role in that. “Working with women producers around the world and paying them is one of the best things we do; a lot of producers have gotten their first pay in radio from WINGS”.

She says the program’s international viewpoint on women is still nearly unique in radio, and she hopes that anyone who follows her will retain the program’s character. “We have developed a style that gets across a lot of information in the most accessible and passionate way. We are always looking for new analyses and new ways women are trying to make things better.”

Frieda Werden pictured right, with former National Campus and Community Radio Association President Lydia Masemola after receiving the inaugural Lifetime Achievement/Community Radio Legend award in 2006. (pic:NCCRA)

If you’d like to pitch a show to WINGS or receive the WINGS programs via email, write to [email protected]  You can also click to listen and download as well as on Facebook.


Yasmine Ryan, an IAWRT member and freelance print, tv and multimedia journalist, says she is “humbled and honoured” to be selected as a World Press Institute Fellow for 2016.

Ms Ryan shared her perspective on conflict reporting in an excellent session at the  IAWRT Biennial in New Delhi in 2015. (Pictured below with Auohita Mojumdar and Bibiana Piene) She is based in Tunis, and contributes to UK, Arab and U.S. media outlets.  More details about her work here.

The World Press Institute says it offers 10 fellowships to experienced international journalists from around the world each year. They are designed to “provide immersion into the governance, politics, business, media, journalistic ethics and culture of the United States, through a demanding schedule of study, travel and interviews throughout the USA”.

The program begins in mid-August and ends in mid-October and Ms Ryan says “I am very much looking forward to hitting the road with the WPI over summer, especially with the U.S. Presidential race underway.”

The program to bring international journalists to the US was founded iIn 1961, and renamed the World Press Institute in 1963. Applications go to the WPI selection committee, which is composed of journalists and corporate communications specialists with international experience.

Yasmine Ryan will be joined in the programme by 9 other journalists from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Finland, Mexico, Nigeria, and Ukraine. see 2016 Fellows.


book_cover_attacks on press

The Committee to Protect Journalists has launched its annual publication, Attacks on the Press: Gender and Media Freedom Worldwide for 2016. Through a number of thought provoking and personal essays, the edition examines sexualized violence, online harassment and the intersection of gender and press freedom.

The Deputy Editor of Colombian newspaper El Tiempo Jineth Bedoya Lima provides a moving account of how she has moved thought the stages of survival “to recognize myself as a victim, then as a survivor, and now as an activist defending the rights of women.” On May 25 2000, she was kidnapped at the gates of La Modelo prison in Bogotá. Recovering from bashings and rape has been a long journey, as Ms Bedoya writes, “Such a violation is not like a fist or a blow; it is a crime that destroys our lives”

Her campaign No es Hora de Callar” (It’s not time to be silent) is reflected across Gender and Media Freedom Worldwide, in essays about the burden of harassment of women journalists, whether in person, ot online or by internet trolling,

Other contributions examine the challenges and consequences of gender-based discrimination in China, Libya, Uganda and Kenya. However the advantages of female journalism is argued in a fascinating contribution by Alessandria Masi, describing the use of social media and her gender, to gather first-hand information from Islamic State members on  recruitment strategies and the kind of society they want to create. In another, Erin Banco argues that in the Middle East reporting is enhanced by being able to speak candidly with women.  

“As this volume makes clear, victims of sexualized violence–mostly women, but men as well–are speaking out” says Joel Simon the Executive Director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, “The reality of sexualized violence–not to mention the other challenges that women face in bringing us the news–should never be used to limit opportunities.”

“In 2016, CPJ will make a more concerted effort to document incidents of sexualized violence and tag them on our website. We will also be speaking out more, using this book to organize a series of events and discussions” he says.

The full report is available here.