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IAWRT 37th Biennial beckons you

by Geeta Sahai

The International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) in collaboration with IAWRT Philippines is organising its 37th Biennial Conference. It is to be held in Quezon City, The Philippines, from 9-11 November 2017.

The conference venue is Microtel by Wyndham – UP Technohub in Quezon City.

This year’s Biennial will feature the launch of IAWRT’s first Safety Training Handbook, and screenings showcasing the shortlisted entries of the IAWRT Awards of Excellence, including time for showing IAWRT members’ productions.

The conference will bring together women journalists working in electronic and print media and documentary film makers from all over the world to initiate dialogue and share experiences in pursuance of IAWRT’s ongoing work to strengthen women’s voices in and through the media. Over 100 women media professionals are expected to attend.

This year’s Biennial theme is Broadcasting and Social Justice: Women in the Media on Conflict and Crisis.  The three-day conference includes plenary sessions, workshops, film screenings, cultural shows and an excursion to the nearby historical places. Some of the important issues which would be discussed are – challenges for Filipino women journalists, women covering terrorism, women in the media braving Disasters.

We will have an all-day Members’ meeting to discuss organisational developmental issues, the new evaluation report, chapter reports, and election reforms.

It would be nice to see you at the Biennial.  

Welcome to the world of amazing professionals, stimulating discussions and motivating environments.

Download the Registration form below. 


Host of gender-sensitive Tele-radio, DWNE 900, Nueva Ecija

and Information Officer, Office of the Provincial Governor, Province of Nueva Ecija; Manila, Philippines.

What type of projects do you do? 

  •  Produce and host a gender-sensitive radio or tele-radio program (Simulcast radio and television transmission)

  • Accept invitations to be a resource speaker in gender-sensitivity seminars organized by national government agencies such as Government Insurance system (GSIS); Department of Trade and Industry (DTI); Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP); 7th Infantry Division, Philippine Army based in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija

  • Organize gender-sensitivity training seminars and serve as a speaker

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

  • After earning my bachelor’s degree in mass communication in 1975, three years after martial law was declared by then dictator President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos, I started teaching mass communication subjects. I was invited to be a disc jockey in the first all-woman FM radio station, DWDM 95.5FM.  Later I transferred to a radio program on an AM station to work as a reporter, news writer, newscaster, news coordinator and music librarian.

  • Eventually, I learned how to produce and host a public affairs radio program as a block timer (independent radio program producer and host, buying a time slot in a radio station through sponsorship). Initially, the president of an alliance of trade workers, who used to frequent my regular station-produced program, invested on my new block time program which I entitled Open Forum.  I got the chance to network with individuals and mass organizations belonging to the massive people’s movement against the dictatorship. The People Power Revolution in February 1986 ensued and ousted President Ferdinand Marcos. In a conjugal dictatorship with his wife, then First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos, the Marcoses had plundered the country’s wealth, caused severe environmental degradation and the destruction of thousands of human lives, individuals and Filipino families alike, through their gross 20-year rule in the Philippines.

  • The People Power Revolution became known as the 1986 EDSA Revolution as it occurred along the 54-kilometer stretch of Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue or EDSA in Metro Manila. The unprecedented event, which gained international prominence, triggered me to commit my radio production to the people’s issues. Most interestingly, towards 1989, I got engaged with the women’s movement. 

  • In 1989, then Representative Hon. Anna Dominique “Nikki” Coseteng, who later became a Senator, recommended me to her colleagues in the Women’s Media Circle to host a radio program being conceptualized for women, by women and about women. In April 1989, I started hosting RADYO WOMANWATCH, the first feminist radio program, at least in Metro Manila.  Sen. Nikki Coseteng hosted WOMANWATCH on PTV4, a block time TV show in a government-run television station while I became her counterpart in radio. RADYO WOMANWATCH was heard over a number of private radio stations. Consequently, a number of women’s groups approached me to train them in radio hosting. The late Senator Leticia Ramos Shahani hired me to co-host in her lunchtime program over a top-ranking radio/TV network.

  • In 1990, I was invited by an all-male Rotary Club of Cubao EDSA, presided then by a former Assemblyman, Atty. Roger Quiambao, to organize the first all women Rotary Club in Rotary International District 3780, Quezon City. I was reluctant, but after nine months of collective work with other professional women, the second all-woman Rotary Club in the Philippines was recognized. Unanimously agreed by the members, I named it the Rotary Club of Prima Vida Cubao; Prima Vida meaning “first life”. It was chartered on May 20, 1991 with me as Charter President. I was later appointed as a District Officer, most distinguished for me, was the Chair of the District Committee on Women Affairs. We were honored by different awards and citations.

  • Inevitably, my contract with Women’s Media Circle ended in 1995.  I moved on as a freelance broadcast journalist.

  • In 1996, I put up WOMANTOUCH MEDIA, had it registered at the Philippine Stock and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a non-profit, non-stock association and launched “WOMANTOUCH RADYO” a gender-sensitive radio production. 

  • In the same year, 1996, the Rotary International media team invited me to the Rotary International Convention in Singapore, to speak on Rotary and Children’s Issues. To maximize my five-day stay in Singapore, I took the opportunity to produce a radio documentary about the plight of Filipino women overseas workers, with the help of an organization group of Filipino OFWs in Singapore. The project was sparked by the execution of a Filipina domestic helper, Flor Contemplacion in Singapore. Written in Filipino by me, assisted by my colleagues in Womantouch Media, it was recorded, edited and aired in a series through my own self-sustaining radio program WOMANTOUCH RADYO and heard over a government-run radio station connected with the Philippine Broadcasting Service (PBS).

  • In 2000, I was hired as Project Manager by Isis International to help organize a seminar-workshop for women broadcasters in Asia and the Pacific on digital radio broadcast and editing, held in Bangkok, Thailand.

  • In 2001, after then Philippine President Joseph Estrada was ousted by the second EDSA People Power Revolution, Kodao Productions found me and took me in to host a block time radio production which I entitled “NGAYON NA BAYAN! (People, Unite Now!)” It gained a considerable following and an organized group of listeners. In 2002, “Ngayon Na, Bayan!” received the 12th KBP Golden Dove Award for the Best Public Affairs Radio Program. KBP is Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP). (pic right: Sonia M. Capio (left) at the Star Theatre, Cultural Center of the Philippines, during the 25th KPB Golden Dove Awards.

  • Coincidentally, on the same occasion, I was recognized as one of the finalists for Best Public Affairs Radio Program Host for hosting Womantouch Radio. A series of recognitions by the Catholic Mass Media Awards followed. However, “Ngayon na, Bayan!” lasted only until February 2006.  Our program was the first casualty of Proclamation 1017 imposed by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo declaring a state of national emergency, quite similar to the 1972 martial law of the deposed dictator Marcos. Earlier, despite a number of warnings from Malacanang Palace, (the official Presidential residence/office) we were dauntless in our investigative broadcasts. This was in spite of the propagation of “Know Your Enemy” readings from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which demonized some media practitioners and institutions that were critical of the incumbent government. Malacanang Palace then threatened our carrying radio station, DZRJ. Thus, we were put off the air.

  • In July 2007, I was offered a teaching job in a community college run by the provincial government of Nueva Ecija. Thus, from Metro Manila where I worked almost half of my lifetime, I moved to Nueva Ecija, the largest province among the seven provinces in Region 3 or Central Luzon. I became the confidante of the college president. As a college extension project, a gender-responsive public affairs program was conceptualized and called it MAGTULUNGAN TAYO! (Unite and Work Together, Now!) Eventually, the provincial government of Nueva Ecija took me in as a Consultant of the Governor on Broadcast and Gender Concerns. In 2011 I was given a permanent position.

  • Since 2008, the MAGTULUNGAN TAYO! radio program, produced by Gender Voice Promotions has been self-sustaining.  It is continuously aired through DWNE 900, the provincial radio station.  We have been networking with and assisting national government agencies and local government units in Nueva Ecija without a fee. However, a number of them sponsor media projects and the gender-sensitive training seminars we organize through Gender Voice Promotions. Gender Voice Promotions also coordinates with mass media organizations which I serve as Chair, like the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) Nueva Ecija Chapter; Nueva Ecija-Aurora Energy Press Corps (NE-AEPC) organized by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, Region 3; and the Central Luzon Media Association (CLMA) Nueva Ecija Chapter in which I serve as Executive Vice President.

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

  • Personally, what is most satisfying for me is when individuals, organizations, NGAs and LGAs seek my assistance to participate as a resource speaker in their GAD Seminars and to promote their programs, activities and projects.

  • They subsidize all my travel accommodation costs just to ensure that I will be with them. Quite satisfying indeed are recognitions through citations, plaques and tokens.

  • In previous years, it was most challenging to address the indifference of government officials and even a number of female and male media persons about the significance of gender and development.

  • The foremost challenge was being able to feature topics and guests from non-government organizations and women’s groups to provide them a broadcast slot in my radio production to speak out against government policies and actions which did not truly serve the people’s welfare, and providing them a space to suggest rational recommendations. 

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

  • What I like about working in the mass media industry is the continuing education for me. I do research almost every day; monitor news and commentaries, and read documents related to pressing issues. This gives me the chance to equip myself with necessary background and information to be confident in radio interviews, in press conferences and ambush interviews.

  • Likewise, by attending seminars, forums and roundtable discussions organized by mass organizations, women and gender advocates and the education sector, I gain opportunities to be part of the solution.

  • What I don’t like most is when some people in the mass media, private institutions, national government agencies and local government units trivialize even basic gender and development concepts. It is quite disappointing that some media leaders and top government officials, who are supposed to take the lead in mainstreaming the gender and development program, do not exert efforts to understand GAD, to use such to improve their work style and to serve better.

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

  • Thank God for all the blessings, opportunities and the gift in broadcasting and GAD advocacy.

  • Modesty aside, I strongly believe that I have passion and considerable expertise in conceptualizing and hosting gender-sensitive radio and TV productions.  I certainly believe that God has reasons for me to go on living soundly, surviving two surgical operations on uterine cancer and metastatic lung cancer. The foremost reason for me is to continue my commitment as a gender-sensitive broadcaster and educator.

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

·         This is my first time to be involved with the IAWRT Philippines.  I intend first to inspire the group, and then be inspired by every member and the entire group consequently.

What are your long-term goals?

  • I’m now in my senior years but have not lost my heart’s desire to educate and inspire people and society, for the country.

  • My long-term goal is to establish a broadcast and gender studies center in Nueva Ecija – educating women and men, young and older ones alike, on personality development, progressive leadership values, and gender-sensitive broadcast work through gender and development (GAD) capacity enhancement seminar-workshops.

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

  • My first advice for young women seeking to work in mass media is this: Believe in your dreams; small people will ignore them and those who are really great will help you achieve your goals.

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

  • Women media persons deserve respect.  Whether you are neophyte in media work or more experienced, no one has any right to sexually harass you or to humiliate you. Some will dampen your spirit because they feel you are a threat to them.  You can make them treat you well, if you respect yourself.



The murder of journalist & activist, Gauri Lankesh at her home in Bengaluru, (Bangalore) the capital of the southern Indian state of Karnata, has again put the spotlight on the saftey of Indian journalists. The shooting of the well respected editor and critic of right-wing Hindu extremism has been condemned widely by media groups, leading to a number of protest demonstrations and global condemnation from groups including Amnesty International, s, the Comittee to Protect Journalists, the International Federation of Journalists and Reporters without Borders (RSF).

Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk, said “We take note of the determination of the local authorities to investigate this murder and we encourage them not to neglect the possibility of a political link. Gauri Lankesh was on several occasions the target of the ruling Hindu nationalists and their supporters, because she categorically refused to submit to the self-censorship that is eating away at India’s media.”

From India, Monobina Gupta writes: If the Indian Media Did Its Job, Gauri Lankesh Wouldn’t Have Been Killed for Doing Hers 

It may be naive to consider the assassination of  the feisty editor of the weekly Gauri Lankesh Patrike, a random act of violence. Politicians can’t simply take refuge with the alibi that Lankesh was killed by ‘unknown gunmen’. Especially not at a time when such acts have become the norm and are no longer aberrations in daily life. Her murder raises important questions about the culture of fear the Indian state promotes through its selective silences and refusal to name groups that use violence – often to muzzle dissenters.

Larger issues related to dissent, press freedom and the atmosphere of intolerance proliferating throughout the country every day cannot be overlooked or dismissed in accounting for what has happened. There is no getting away from this reality. Dodging the truth only emboldens those who want us to ignore the facts on the ground. There is no solace to be drawn from inquiry commissions; and no point in waiting for investigations to take their own course. Far too often, bureaucratic procedure stalls political anger, effectively ‘disappearing’ cases into a labyrinth of files and inconclusive inquiries which drag on endlessly. Invoking procedure is an effective way of shutting down uncomfortable questions.

After all, what answers have we got so long after the murders of M.M. Kalburgi, Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar?* Are we not still looking for their killers? “The murder of Lankesh has eerie resemblances with those of scholars Kalburgi, Pansare and Dabholkar. All the three rationalists were assassinated in a similar fashion with the Crime Investigation Department revealing that the weapon they were shot with was also the same. The Bombay high court had also on August this year, observed that the modus operandi in the murder of Dabholkar and Pansare were similar and that it was indeed a ‘well planned’ act,” Outlook reports.

Over the last three-and-a-half years, we have witnessed a string of murderous mobs – euphemistically described as ‘non-state actors’ – operating as vigilantes in the name of cow protection, nationalism and a whole range of issues under the garb of hurt sentiments. These mobs have constantly treaded on and disregarded the rights of citizens. And in their face, our outrage as a collective body has been sporadic and muted at best.

It must be repeated that interrogating dominant power structures, repressive regimes and cultures of fear and intolerance constitutes the soul of journalism. Lankesh’s work stands testimony to this face. Till her last day she wrote about ‘uncomfortable’ issues, such as the plight of Rohingya Muslims who have failed to get an assurance from the Narendra Modi government that they will not be deported to Myanmar – to likely imprisonment or death – before their court hearing in India is over. She spoke out on gay rights, and on the deaths of children in a Gorakhpur hospital.

Lankesh’s assassination at the doorstep of her home brings to mind the murder of another woman journalist thousands of miles away from India. Eleven years ago, on October 7, 2006, the Russian writer and human rights activist Anna Politkovskaya, a journalist with the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, was murdered in the lobby of her apartment building.

A staunch critic of the Putin government, Politkovskaya wrote extensively on controversial subjects like the Beslan school siege, and the Chechen war, which the government didn’t want to talk about. It is believed her murder was carried out by contract. “No other reporter has been assigned Anna Politkovskaya’s desk in Novaya Gazeta’s newsroom. It remains as a memorial, alongside her photograph and those of other murdered journalists at the newspaper, and as a reminder of the danger of the work” according to a report in The Guardian. And her newspaper still continues to practice independent journalism, ceaselessly interrogating the government.

In an interview, Politkovskaya had said, “People sometimes pay with their lives for saying aloud what they think. In fact, one can even get killed for giving me information. I am not the only one in danger.”

A day after another journalist who spoke against power has been murdered, the best and most urgent tribute we can pay to her memory is to ask: What will it take for the Indian media to start fearlessly doing its job day after day instead of mourning a handful of brave colleagues after it’s too late? 

Monobina Gupta’s article reprinted with permission. Originally published September 6 2017 on the Wire an independent, not-for-profit website operating out of New Delhi, India. 

The Producer of Velvet Revolution the IAWRT’s documentary on women journalist facing danger, Nupur Basu, has also written an article paying tribute to her friend and colleague.

* scholars and academics who were critical of right-wing Hindu agendas and argued for a rational approach to superstitions

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IAWRT is seeking member applications for the position of Executive Producer for the next IAWRT long documentary.

The organisation has produced three documentaries consisting of short profiles from different countries on a theme related to women, that are fused together into an international production – Velvet Revolution (2016), Reflecting her (2015) and Hands on: Women : Climate : Change (2014).

For this production, the board has proposed the theme Women covering conflict: the invisible stories.

The President of the IAWRT International Board, Gunilla Ivarsson says the project would attempt to make such invisible stories and the process of reporting them, relevant to a broad international audience; it invites documentary makers to go beyond the immediate in conflict reporting. She says women filmmakers often get access to different stories than men do.

“The victims of conflict are not only those killed: they are also the mothers who could not get to the clinic; they are the unborn child and the long-term consequences of conflicts – the orphan who will not get an education, support or love. We also know that domestic violence is higher in times of conflict.”

The IAWRT is keen to experiment with a film format that would enhance this content to its full potential. Producers with proven track records in leading documentary projects are invited to submit applications for this position.

Applicants are asked for a detailed proposal and treatment note, but will ultimately be be part of a collaborative process to finalize the theme, choose the format, identify the local directors/producers. She will lead the project untill completion.

The documentary is due to be submitted by 1st May 2018.

The budget for the entire project currently stands at USD 28,000. The producer’s proposal should include:

● A letter of intent expressing her commitment to the theme

●  the proposed treatment

● A CV and show reel

● A detailed budget

Deadline for proposals is September 15th, 2017.

Please note the funding from “FRITT ORD” ( Free Speech) in Norway, has no geographical restrictions on the nationality of members who can apply. (i.e members from the global North are eligable).

contact: [email protected]


The 14th IAWRT Asian Women’s Film Festival is now recieving entries for the Festival which will will be held from 5-7th March, 2018 in New Delhi. To mark International Women’s Day, IAWRT India organises this film festival every year. 

Closing date for receipt of entries  31st Oct, 2017. Details and entry forms attached below. Online downloadable link