“The right person for the new age”

The Asian Broadcasting Union has announced the appointment of former IAWRT President Olya Booyar as the new Head of Radio to help drive an expansion of services to the ABU’s 272 member organisations.

The division supports members in innovation and capacity building as well as sharing and distributing distinctive content. it organises the ABU Prizes for Radio, the RadioAsia Conference, Media 2020 Summit, ABU Radio Song Festival, ABU Music Exchange (AMX), as well as multi-media co-productions, workshops on radio programming and professional advisory services for members.

Olya worked as the ABU’s senior communications specialist from 2013-2015, where she managed the startup of a television content market. She returns to up her new role this month.

The ABU Director of Programming Tatsuhiro Beniko issued a stsment welcoming Olya “as the right person for the new age”.

“She has worked in all areas of broadcasting, is known around the Asia-Pacific and has played key roles in organisations that have been at the frontiers of the changes now taking place, including the ABU itself” he saud.

Ukranian born Olya Booyar began her career as an on-air broadcaster-journalist with the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) in Australia and rose to managerial roles, before leaving to become Deputy Director of Australia’s National Classification Board. She has been a General Manager for the Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA) and most recently worked at the Australian Writers’ Guild.

Olya was President of IAWRT between 2007 and 2011.


To mark World Press Freedom Day, the Institute of Commonwealth Studies (ICWS) is screening the IAWRT’s collaborative documentary, Velvet Revolution on Wed 3 May 2017 in London.

This will be followed by a panel discussion with Project Director and Executive Producer, Nupur Basu; Rita Payne, President Emeritus, Commonwealth Journalists Association; William Horsley, Director, Centre for Freedom of the Media; and Rebecca Vincent, UK Bureau Director, Reporters without Borders (RSF).

It will be at 6pm in the Chancellor’s Hall, First Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU. Entry is free, but requires registering with ICWS

 In India, a World Press Freedon Day screening has also been organised by UNESCO. IAWRT’s Production team will be represented by Archana Kapoor, the Chapter Head  of IAWRT India, and Reena Mohan. the editor of Velvet Revolution and Deepika Sharma, one of the five country directors.  



Oslo, Norway

Name of job:

TV-Documentary director, employed in the National Broadcast in Norway (NRK) for ever so many years! Lucky me!

What type of projects do you do?

I have been a documentary journalist for 25 years. For the last 10 years I have been making historical documentaries, using archives and new footage to tell new stories.

Why did this sort work interest you, and how did you get started?

Why it interest me I should think goes without explanation, I was just very lucky to stumble into it.  I am a former floor manager, script and production manager, so I have been able to change fields within the business over the years. I have very little education but a lot of experience

What part of this job do you personally find most satisfying? Most challenging?

I love doing interviews and getting in touch with people that have a story to tell. I love the editing process – trying to bring their stories to life – when the shootings have been successful. The challenging part can be the often-long periods of research, and finding the really good cases. And always – finding the best way to tell the story.

What do you like and not like about working in this industry?

I like how my work challenges me all the time. I don’t like seeing journalists losing their jobs in a rapidly changing industry. I don’t like to see how young colleges struggle to get into the business with decent work and salary conditions.

My strongest assets/skills, areas of knowledge, personality traits and values are….

I may sometimes manage to get my cases to trust me and open up, and I try to take good care of them. Being aware of the responsibilities we have as journalists when we expose people to a large audience is important. I try to focus on this in my work.

Has IAWRT’s network of media women around the world helped or inspired you?

I have only been a member for 3 years, but was fortunate as to attend the Biannual in Dehli, in 2015 and CSW in New York in 2016 – and yes I was utterly inspired!  We have also invited some members of the network to Norway to share the inspiration with our native colleges.I was elected head of the IAWRT Norwaychapter on our annual meeting March 29 2017, after two years on that board.

What are your long-term goals?

To stay active as a journalist for as long as I cope – and accept it when I get told to step aside.

What special advice do you have for young women seeking to qualify for this type of work?

The same advice that I have for young men: The business is getting hard, so get yourself more legs to stand on.  But if your heart is in journalism do not give up hope that there will still be paid work for quality journalism, even under the new owners and editors that we see today.

Do you have any special words of warning, or encouragement, because of your experience?

Being a journalist is a privilege, but not a human right. Never lose your heart or conscience in your work. Just as important as speaking truth to power, is sticking to the mere power of truth.

This is the only English version program of mine still available online. This film got the honorable mention at the IAWRT Awards in New Dehli in 2015


The international IAWRT board has selected Arshiya Ashan  for the volunteer position of 2017 Awards Coordinator.

The US Chapter member says she is excited to be taking on this media role.  

IAWRT President, Gunilla Ivarsson, says she is sure Arshiya will do a very good job, using her knowledge, experience, and skills [gained in India and the US] and her energy.” 


For 2017, the awards for excellence in stories about women, made by women media practitioners, will be under under a modernized concept  which identifies three areas of excellence rather than in the mediums of radio, television or film.. The categories will be Social Impact, Innovation and Emerging Talent. 

The awards are presented as part of the IAWRT Biennial conference due to be held in the Philippines in November 2017.


IAWRT FOKUS Scholarship Supported research

Dr. Mausumi Bhattacharyya says she has been encouraged to expand her research about mobile phone usage and its empowerment potential for rural Indian women, into a larger geographical area.

She has already presented her work in several forums, including to the Colombo at the Department of Information, Ministry of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media, Sri Lanka Pictured left, on 10 June 2016.

She was supported by the IAWRT FOKUS scholarship program to complete her post-doctoral research Mobile Phone: A new tool to empower rural women in India with special reference to Bolpur-Santiniketan.

The study, under the mentorship of Dr. May H Gao, the Professor of Communication & Asian Studies at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta, USA, surveyed about 300 women in an east Indian rural area. They were mainly small entrepreneurs and agricultural workers who used mobile phone technologies in the Sriniketan–Bolpur belt in the district of Birbhum in West Bengal state.

The aim was to document the experiences of the women in accessing information to improve their livelihoods and to evaluate the main features of changes that the use of mobile phones brought about in their lives.Pic right: Interview of respondents at Sattore (Bolpur, Sriniketan Block, Birbhum) – February, 2016

She told the IAWRT board “It was a wonderful experience in terms of meeting people – especially women of the remote countryside in eastern India, talking to them and sharing my field experience with the opinion leaders and administration through focus group discussions and personal interviews.”

Pic left: Focus Group Interview with Block Development Officer of Bolpur and his team.

Dr Bhattacharyya says her research has been appreciated in many national and international forums in India, Sri Lanka and the USA. “I have been encouraged to take it further by including a bigger geographical area for my next research project.”

The research found that mobile phones were used mostly to gather information related to the women’s means of living and as a consequence, the entrepreneurial skills of the women in the underdeveloped area, had grown in leaps and bounds.

The paper theorises that the use of even basic mobile phone technologies lead to women achieving some independent financial status and hence a certain level of empowerment, or liberation. This was through gaining a sense of ‘individual identity’ and becoming a part of the decision-making process in their familial setting – which was previously the sole domain of a man.

Despite constraints of a traditional, patriarchal society like India, and government policies which often marginalize and by-pass rural women. Dr Bhattacharyya the project indicates that the women achieved some socio-economic and psychological empowerment through the use of mobile phone communications. Pic right: Interaction with respondents of Raipur (Bolpur, Sriniketan Block, Birbhum) March, 2016.

Click here for Executive summary For more information about the research, contact Dr. Mausumi Bhattacharyya, Associate Professor, Centre for Journalism & Mass Communication Visva-Bharati University. [email protected]





The IAWRT Nepal and India chapters collaboratively organised a Women’s film festival on April 10, 2017. The event was held in Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) Kathmandu. The associate partners of this one-day film festival were Oscar International College (College of film studies), UN Women, Shivam Group, Sancharika Samuha and NTB. The event showcased ten films, with panel discussions and interactions.

Sugarika KC, the master of ceremonies of the event initiated it by welcoming the audience and introducing the IAWRT Nepal Chapter. Bandana Rana, Expert Member, UN CEDAW (United Nations Convention of the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women) inaugurated the film festival by lighting the panas. In opening remarks, Anupa Shrestha, the President of IAWRT Nepal said “The main objective of IAWRT Women’s film festival Nepal is to encourage women film makers, to screen the films made by women all around world and to encourage the film festival culture.

She added, “This is not a just one day event but also bonding and sisterhood between two IAWRT chapters, India and Nepal. We warmly welcome IAWRT India Chapter to Nepal.”

Velvet Revolution a IAWRT documentary directed by Nupur Basu was the first to be screened in the festival.  The 57 minute long movie features profiles of women journalists from India, the Philippines, UK and USA. The country directors of this documentary are Illang Illang Quijano (Philippines), Deepika Sharma (India), Pochi Tamba Nsoh and Sidonie Pongmoni (Cameroon) and Eva Brownstien (USA/Bangladesh).  

The screening was followed by an interaction with one country director Deepika Sharma and editor, Reena Mohan. They shared their experience of making the documentary and the challenges of working with six different directors from different countries. More information on the project here.

A panel discussion moderated by Pratibha Tuladhar explored the status of women in mainstream media. Bandana Rana recounted her experiences as a female journalist 20 years ago and highlighted the challenges that came with her profession. Emphasising the impact filmmaking can have on the mindset of people, she said, “Putting women’s voices in mainstream media was a challenge.”

Further, Archana Kapoor, IAWRT, India Chapter Head, talked about the misogyny that exists in social media, a platform reserved for free expression. She said, “We are still far away from gender equality but we as female professionals should not give up; it is the society that needs to change its perspective.”

When asked whether the Nepali media is misogynist, Kanak Mani Dixit, a senior journalist and  the founding editor of Himal Southasia, replied that it is, right now. Dixit focused on the lack of women journalists covering mainstream topics and suggested that the prime goal of the moment should be to increase the number of females in media. He said, “Female journalists need to be wary about editors who tend to limit females to a certain beat.”

The moderator also added that females are creating their own space for expression that is free of threats and limitations. The panellists agreed that such alternate media must be integrated with mainstream media.

In the second session, Butte Jama (Nepal) directed by Kala Sangroula, Memory of a Heart (India) directed by Tribeny Rai, Ghar Studio Hai (India) by Hansa Thapliyal and Radio Melamchi 107.2 (Nepal) directed by Rajeela Shrestha were screened. 

A brief interaction with the director of Radio Melamchi 107.2 provided an opportunity to get up close with Rajeela Shrestha and hear the context of her work. Through her documentary, she shed light on the role of media in post-earthquake relief efforts. Shrestha shared that although she came across challenges, particularly as an aspiring female film maker; she did not get discouraged and faced it as part of her work.

Slider (Japan) directed by Maki Satake and Harikatha Prasanga (India) about an Indian Yakshagana actor and his decision to adopt a woman’s persona, were the other two films screened in this session.

The third session introduced the audience to Soundphiles, productions made up of sounds only. These audio pieces did not feature any visuals or images. Hum Tum Ek Kamre Mein Band Ho Aur by artists Agents of Ishq, Cinema Hall Mein Kuch Kuch Hota Hai by artists Tara Aliya Kesavan, Arnav Nanduri and Rohit Chauhan, and Bhoepae Antakshari by artists Reshma Pritam, Tenzin Kunchok were presented in this session. The audiences also interacted with the curator of Soundphiles, Samina Mishra.

The fourth session witnessed a panel discussion on the film production scenario for women in Nepal,  moderated by Deepa Gautam. Suchitra Shrestha, Nepal’s first woman film director and the President of Nepal Film Directors, R.K. Regmi, journalist and Professor and Nirmala Sharma, the President of Sancharika Samuha (a forum of women communicators) were the panellists for this session. The concluding remark of this session was that movies in Nepal should come up with more women-centric roles.  

The final section of the programme was an animated films screening. We make Images (India) directed by Nina Sabnani, Walking (China) by Yuxiao Yi, Pudavai (India) by Anitha Balachandran and Ulek Mayang (Malaysia) by Siti Hazar Aznan were presented to the audience. Nina Sabnani the curator of the animation package discussed the technique of these movies in the interaction session. 

Lastly, Archana Kapoor thanked the organisers of the event and parted the stage with the hope that the IAWRT Nepal Chapter and IAWRT India Chapter will collaborate and organise more events in the future.The IAWRT India Chapter organises the Asian Women’s Film Festival, and this festival in Nepal featured selections from the new Delhi event. The traveling festival committee – Anjali Monteiro and Bina Paul – curated the Nepal festival. 

Mallika Bhattarai, Festival Director, Nepal concluded the event after giving her vote of thanks to the organizing committee members, sponsors, esteemed guests from India, volunteers and everyone who graced the event with their presence. 

The day’s full schedule is attached below.

Media coverage:

Breaking Kollywood’s glass ceiling

IAWRT Nepal first women’s film festival (from www.iawrt.org)


gamag blank square_edited-2

The Global Alliance on Media and Gender reports 

To what extent have the recommendations on women and the media contained in global agreements such as the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action been achieved?

In partnership with UNESCO, an event at CSW61, posed that question. The meeting heard that the latest results from the Global Media Monitoring Project, a global survey on media conducted every 5 years and last produced in 2015, showed that the percentage of women in newsrooms had actually declined, from 38 to 35%, as did top management from 28 to 27%. However, UNESCO reported that there was some good news, with the findings showing there was a much greater focus on gender equality issues than 10 years prior. 

Participants also discussed some of the challenges that will need to be overcome to reach gender equality, beginning with the dramatic changes being felt throughout the media sector and the increased prevalence of freelancers without the support or resources of traditional media organisations. Raquel Romero from the Fundación Colectivo Cabildeo de Bolivia discussed the importance of greater inclusiveness, and ensuring minorities, indigenous people and marginalised groups can participate in the process. Sian Rolls from FemLINKPacific added that many young people were not aware of milestones such as the Beijing Declaration, and need to be brought to the table.

The importance of media in contributing to gender equality was endorsed by the selection of the review theme for CSW 2018 regarding the participation and access of women to the media and how ICTs can empower women and girls.

GAMAG Secretary-General Aimée Vega Montiel said “GAMAG will put in place a process of participation and mutual collaboration between stakeholders, to come together to CSW 2018, and make a meaningful contribution”.

GAMAG Chairperson Sarah Macharia added that “The event in New York was crucial for broadening the conversation about GAMAG’s strategy for the months leading up to CSW 2018, when the spotlight will be directed to ‘gender and media’ as the review theme”.

For more information on GAMAG, please click here


Female Slavery: Generating Billions

by Nonee Walsh from CSW61

On the plaza of the United Nations in New York,The Arc of Return is a moving memorial to more than 18 million people who were forcefully removed from Africa and enslaved. It “serves as a reminder to future generations not to repeat this tragedy” according to designer, Rodney Leon.

Yet in 2017 slavery, particularly female enslavement, is still big business.

The Permanent Memorial in honour of Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade feels like the cramped space of a slave ship. One carving depicts the obscene calculations of profit – drawings of how many human beings could be packed into a dank ships’ hold. Opposite, a prone statue of a slave has an outstretched hand meant for an interaction with the people who walk through, Leon says, “to generate a tear” of water which flows to triangular pools.

The pools point toward the United National building where in March 2017, the UN Ambassador for Liechtenstein, Christian Wenaweser said “estimates suggest that 46 million people have fallen victim to modern slavery and human trafficking.” More than half are thought to be women and girls.

He was speaking at a side session to the UN Commission on the Status of Women, which was focusing on women and the changing world of work, about a rather established issue, gender and slavery. Wenaweser pointed out that 90% of countries have legislation criminalizing human trafficking. However, “convictions for these crimes amount to a mere fraction of the total number of perpetrators. The impunity gap is glaring” he said.

The CSW’s agreed conclusions recognised that widespread discrimination against women and girls makes them vulnerable to exploitation and slavery, which makes another 90 percent figure instructive. The World Bank estimates that in 90 % of the world’s economies (155 of 173) women face legal discrimination.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimated that 150 billion US dollars was generated on the backs of 21 million slaves around the world in 2014.(ILO map below)

ILO Senior Forced Labour Specialist, Houtan Homayounpour, added “it is instructive that there can be such wide variations in estimates about slavery and there is to be a final effort to get the figures with some accuracy.”  The 2017 Global Estimates of Modern Slavery will be presented in November, details here.

Certainly, from an economic point of view, the exploitation of females is well over half; “two thirds of the estimated total or US$ 99 billion, came from commercial sexual exploitation, while another US$ 51 billion resulted from forced economic exploitation, including domestic work, agriculture and other economic activities” according to Homayounpour.

Ambassador Wenaweser argued the need for an organized crime model to follow the money, and discussion recognised that action was also required on the demand side, to disrupt the flow of money to companies which pay for slave goods and services, albeit possibly unaware they are doing so.

The link between conflict and trafficking (recognised by the UN Security council in 2016) was raised by Judit Arenas from the International Development Law Organization. The Director of External Relations, and UN observer, observed that amidst a “global backlash against women’s rights” the rule of law, where it exists, was not being seen in many countries; She gave some examples, “in El Salvador and Cambodia where gangs are raping women and there is a fundamental lack of accountability for human rights violations.”

The Director of Anti-Slavery International, Aidan McQuade was not convinced the issue was fundamentally about law enforcement. He was blunt: “it is all about who has power.”

He argued that the fight about modern day slavery was “with governments, it is about all those power mal-distributions.”

“Slavery occurs legally” he said, using the example of child marriage, which is legal in many countries, and not considered or thought of as slavery “if the child/woman is not allowed to leave and her labour is used, then it is slavery. The issue is holding governments to account.”

In many countries, domestic workers are not defined as workers and lack access to the legal rights of other workers, “a socially permissible system of slavery”. “One third, of the world’s 67 million women workers, cannot even exercise the basic right to join a trade union” according to  Elizabeth Tang, the General Secretary International Domestic Workers Federation, she told an NGO forum “they are simply not recognized as workers in the legislation of many countries.” 

The use of migrant domestic workers highlighted issues of slavery and trafficking according to McQuade, even where they are recognised as workers, “We are seeing wholly legal trafficking, facilitating enslavement, and the British system for domestic workers is not much better.”  He called it “a license for trafficking” because of the risk of deportation if an employee speaks out. The CSW final statement did make a call for gender-responsive migration policies, that promote migrant women’s economic empowerment. 

His assessment was echoed at an NGO CSW/NY parallel event, Building power for Women Workers. Domestic workers unions from countries including the United States, outlined where entrenched sexism and racism excluded farm workers and domestic workers from labour rights. In the US, only 7 states have so far passed a domestic worker bill of rights. A Mexican domestic workers’ union has also achieved a minimum wage for workers in five states. Columbian and Cambodian union organisers spoke of legal and violent state repression of efforts to get rights for domestic and garment workers – all areas dominated by women.

In the closing remarks to the CSW61, the UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka, “congratulated the Commission for highlighting the plight of women in the informal sector who have no social protection.” And noted, “many migrant women employed in the informal economy and in less skilled work are especially vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.”

She emphasised the importance of one achievement in this area “for the first time, the transition of informal and domestic workers into the formal economy was a key issue of discussion for the Commission.”

In the NGO union forum, the difficulties and dangers in the struggle to engage isolated domestic workers, to bring them into the formal economy of workers’ rights was starkly outlined. In some cases, technology and the means to communicate with unions via email or online, has been a boon. However, as ever, technology is a two-edged sword. New Uber-like apps to hire domestic or care workers cheaply is again undermining wages and isolating employers from direct responsibility for payment. Technology is not exempt from labour laws, but is being used as an excuse to undermine labour rights.

CSW members agreed on the need of promoting decent work and paid care in the public and private sectors; increasing the provision of social protection and wages that “guarantee an adequate standard of living; and ensuring safe working conditions for women.”

Which takes us right back to denigration of the rights of women, which the director of Anti-slavery International says “leads to misogynistic abuses …. We need a paradigm in education centred on girls’ rights, to protect advance and empower them and sustainable systems against slavery.”

So, Aiden Mcquade concluded, “it is all about advancement of human rights.”

In brief, the CSW agreed conclusions in this area covered anti-trafficking strategies and laws integrating a human rights and sustainable development perspective; measures to reduce the vulnerability of women and girls to modern slavery and exploitation; and international cooperation in eliminating the demand that fosters sexual exploitation and forced labour.

If such human rights are reduced to money, the 120 million earned through slavery and trafficking is a drop in the ocean of potential. By 2025, according to McKinsey’s research, if men and women played an identical role in the labour market, the global economy could earn US $28 trillion. Even in a more achievable scenario, in which all countries match the rate of improvement of the fastest-improving country in their region, as much as US $12 trillion could be added to the world economy. Click for report.

UN Women Director Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka says “This would prevent the possible threat highlighted by the World Economic Forum: that equality will take 170 years if we do not take the measures outlined.”

That surely is a reminder to future generations not to continue this tragedy.

Links UN Women

CSW “Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work”conclusion Agreed conclusions (unedited English) 

Closing remarks Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka 

Other NGO news and analysis of CSW61 (Links of interest – does not imply any endorsement by IAWRT)

Women’s Rights Caucus: Conclusion of CSW61

Top takeaways from the UN’s largest women’s rights gathering

Women’s Meaningful Participation: The Missing Ingredient 

How will President Trump’s administration affect women

Travel Restrictions Cast Shadow

We must take women seriously

Pro-Life Pro-Family Turn Rocks Europe

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Gender and Media 

Proposals for hosting the IAWRT Biennial in your country in late October or early November 2017 are now being received. Deadline to apply is April 15, 2017. 

Proposals for a 3-4 day event should include a one day conference with a theme around ‘gender and media’ (this is also an upcoming theme for 2018 UN CSW). The proposal should allocate time for IAWRT organizational development and a workshop about the Gender Mainstreaming Project implementation, along with a day for screenings.

The International Board will set up a Biennial Committee that will work closely with the host country to help organize the event. Please send your proposals before April 15.

Full details in letter from the President, attached.