We asked members to communicate about a crucial issue in their region and what women in media can do.  

From the Philippines Lynda Catindig-Garcia writes: continuing education of media professionals is imperative. A focus on what good journalism is must be prioritized

The Philippine media is considered to be the freest media in Asia. The media channels the information via traditional media (newspaper, radio and TV). This means that from the source the information passes through the traditional media and the people receive the information (linear nature).

On the other hand, the social media process begins from the source; social media is connected with the internet to the receiver of information. From the receiver, it can almost instantaneously give feed back to the source.

Presently, there is the convergence of all these media where there is the use of both the traditional media and the social media. With the nature of media, information is at the palm of the hands of its citizens where they can access information in various modalities.

Two pressing issues of the Philippine media: fake news & gender

This is the presence and proliferation of fake news. Fake news is made-up, masterfully manipulated to look credible journalistic reports that easily spread on-line to large audiences willing to believe the fictions and spread the word. The propagation of fake news is among the most serious problems many countries are now facing, as the explosion of social media and technology made it easy and convenient to skew not only textual information, but also digitally manipulated images and videos.

The antidote to fake news, is good journalism, which means true, accurate, unbiased, informed decisions, fair, inclusive, responsible and educated reporting. Our democracy is in peril when the public is guided by wrong information. The media cannot do combat fake news alone, but the citizens must be encouraged to practice citizen journalism, which is the right to seek and receive and impart information.

The second issue is gender and the media.

The four basic institutions of society: family, school, community and church and others tend to promote traditional gender relations that, in general, privilege men while discriminating against women and the lesbian, gay bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ). The media as the fourth estate has shaped and reinforce these unequal gender relations. And, on the other hand, media could also be a potent tool to deconstruct this content as well. In 2012, the United Nations, Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) prioritized gender equality and produced a global framework of Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media with the International Federation of Journalists and other partners.

The Philippines maintained its status of having the narrowest gender gap, but fell three places in the 2017 Global Gender Gap Index. According to the annual report of the World Economic Forum. The country dipped to 10th place this year from seventh place last year. The Global Gender Gap Index has been monitoring equality and equity within media organizations and gender-sensitivity in media content production.

In spite of these challenges, there have been milestones that have been achieved to help institute gender sensitive policies and guidelines in Philippine media. The 2009 Magna Carta of Women provides for the non-discriminatory and non-derogatory portrayal of women in media and film. It also aimed at government to work with media organizations and media schools to endure that they integrate gender-equality guidelines in their work and learning activities. The Philippines Commission on Women has developed: Gender Equality Guide which is about the guidelines for increasing representation, voice, and influence in media and ensuring fair portrayal in media content; the Guidelines to Protect Women against Discrimination in Media and Film, which lists the” do’s and don’ts” in the portrayal of women in news stories, programs, ads, and films; prescribes the use of gender-inclusive language; and suggests measures to attain gender quality in the workplace.

These efforts are breakthroughs but much still has to be done.

What are the ways forward to address these challenges?

The continuing education of media professionals is imperative. A focus on what good journalism is must be prioritized

Development of information, education and communication materials – this is a resource kit which contain existing codes of ethics and reference materials on good journalism and gender

Organize- online network of media professionals, genuine journalists and gender advocates. This will be a venue for reference materials and quick access for journalists should they need information on gender issue, gender reporting and good journalism

Video competitions for bloggers, social media user’s citizen on gender and good journalism

Competition among professional media workers using social media promoting good journalism and gender

Find gender champions and journalism icons to  conduct dialogues on work conditions sponsored by media companies

Hold feedback session with women journalists about their careers and how they handled their gender challenges.

IAWRT Philippine Chapter Efforts

It is evident that funding of IAWRT has depleted. With this condition, the IAWRT Philippine Chapter proactively sourced possible local and international funders to push for the establishment of organizations projects.

Recently, the Philippine IAWRT Chapter met with the International Media Support (IMS) of Denmark to fund the IAWRT women journalist safety training with the inclusion of gender in its framework. This project is in partnership with Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication and Miriam College. The proposal for the training was approved and details shall be discussed soon. The participants are the women journalists from the alternative press.

From this jumpstart, the Philippine Chapter wishes to connect IAWRT international to IMS for possible engagements.

In the local scene, perhaps IAWRT Philippines can also connect with organizations that could provide funding support or laudable engagements.

Lynda Catindig-Garcia is the IAWRT Philippine Chapter Vice President and will be attending the regional Conference in Uganda. pictured second from right with board members; Marvie Matura, Yanni Roxas, Ilang-Ilang Quijano; Treasurer; Ronalyn Olea; Secretary; Sonia M. Capio; President; Jola Diones-Mamangun. (pic by Jo Maline Diones-Mamangun)




Amplifying the People’s Voices

Amplifying the People’s Voices: The Philippine Community Radio Experience and Challenges, was launched in 2018 and is now available for download.

It narrates almost three-decades of community radio broadcasting in the Philippines, laying down the challenges it faces in one of the most dangerous countries for journalists in the world.

The 72-page book was launchedin Kampala, Uganda, by the IAWRT President, Violet Gonda and the editor and head of the Philippines Chapter Jola Diones-Mamangun in Octiber 2018.

The book chronologically narrates how community radio broadcasting began in the Philippines in the 1990s and looks at the problems it continues to face to this day. It explains how current broadcasting laws in the country make it difficult for low-power radio stations to acquire franchises and licenses from government institutions.

Violet Gonda, pictured with the IAWRT board, says radio is one of the oldest and most important forms of media in communications. “A number of our members represent the various tiers of radio – public, private and community. The Philippines chapter has been pioneering a project, the Mobile Disaster Response Radio  – which is the need of the hour – with the problems of climate change, regular cyclones, floods, earthquakes and tsunamis which have become a part of our life.” 
“This project targets vulnerable communities to prepare them better for the unseen disasters, from risk to preparedness.” she continued,  “It began in 2014,and  is giving voice to the voiceless and empowering women to be prepared and reduce loss to lives and properties.” Through IAWRT funding the chapter has managed to set up transmitters in the most disaster prone communities and provided computers, cables, mobile phone units for the reporters and training and mentoring exercises to empower the local communities in Cebu, Mindanao and other areas.
The book recalls how one of the first community radio stations, Radyo Cagayano, was attacked and burned by unknown persons, suspected to be members of the Philippine Army, in 2006, setting back the planned establishment of more stations by several years.The Philippines is deemed by Reporters Without Borders, the International Federation of Journalists and other global media groups as among the most dangerous countries for journalists, with 184 media workers killed since the supposed return of democracy in the country in 1986. The majority of media workers killed are provincial broadcasters, as the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines has said in several of its reports.

However, IAWRT International treasurer,  Jola Diones-Mamangun, said the book is less about the campaign’s problems and more about its successes, despite overwhelming odds.

“We want this book’s readers to realize that whatever successes the community broadcasting movement in the Philippines has achieved, they are due to the communities’ determination to tell their own stories through radio,” Diones-Mamangun said.

“The lesson here is that community radio broadcasting will never happen without the communities themselves.”

Violet Gonda added “we are happy to have published a Community Radio Handbook to share our journey with you and for you to learn from our experiences .There could be no better place than  Uganda to release this publication as there is a strong presence of community radio here.”
Congrats to Jola and the team for doing a great job!

AMPLIFYING THE PEOPLE’S VOICES: The Philippine Community Radio Experience and Challenges available online, in our publications 

.Violet Gonda   President IAWRT,  Abeer Saady Vice President IAWRT

This web page is a continuation of IAWRT’s work to give women media workers concrete and practical resources to keep them safe.

We began with safety training workshops and in 2017, IAWRT produced the first edition of our safety handbook of advice and recommendations, This safety section is the next step.

As the targeting of journalists and free media continues to rise across the world, particularly in the online environment and local or regional media, attacks specifically directed at women journalists keep increasing. IAWRT wants to continue to share strategies and provide useful information which can bolster safety.

“We are proud that IAWRT is among a number of organisations prioritising the critical issue of safety for women journalists” says IAWRT President, Violet Gonda. “We hope our new online safety section will provides further insights into coping with danger, focusing on critical skills, including risk assessments, handling gender-based violence and dealing with trauma, among other safety related issues.”

The author of the handbook, Abeer Saady, is pleased at the interest the handbook has generated, “I look forward to our website offering translations into other languages; several are being planned by IAWRT chapters” she says.

In this page we will post relevant news and links to other resources, but more importantly, provide a forum for sharing personal experiences or advice which comes from your experience as women journalists in a range of situations and countries.

As Abeer said in the introduction to the safety handbook, “we cannot undo our lives, but can ensure others don’t repeat our bad practices or choices”.

Please feel free to contact [email protected] or [email protected] to make a suggestion.

mother of murder victim nepal

We asked members to communicate about a crucial issue in their region and what women in media can do.  

Neeta Shapkota writes: the murder of a girl child goes viral in Nepal, but it does not result in justice.

In front of the police office, around fifteen women were gathered, and others were continuing to arrive. Some of them were crying, while some were demanding punishment for the guilty, who the police still hadn’t arrested.  Three days had passed since a thirteen-year-old girl from a remote village in the far western district of Kanchanpur had been raped and murdered, then thrown into a sugarcane field. Left, the mother of the murdered girl in red dress is pictured with neighbours and social activists. photo source: online media.

The photo of the dead child was going viral on social media and was grabbing headlines on television and radio. There was demand from all sides that the guilty should be given strict punishment. However, it was widely felt that the district office, which oversees prosecutions, was being lethargic in its decision making. This incident took place in a remote village, so it failed to create a substantial amount of pressure on the central parliament in Kathmandu. This sort of localized pressure moves up and around in Nepal through different types of media coverage for certain periods of time, however, its effects and results remain inadequate.

In Nepal, ninety percent of gender-based violence is found to be against women, within which, domestic violence and sexual violence are most prevalent. Rape cases of women under the age of fifteen have also been registered in large numbers. Past events and turmoil in the country, such as the Civil War, political instabilities, and the devastating earthquake of 2015, have played a major role in increasing the risk of violence against women and children.

In such situations, media can play a crucial role to prevent, control, and make the society aware regarding such issues.

“Whenever the cases like violence against women arise in Nepal, we expand our reactions immediately in the media and social sites, and then gradually, the responses drop off. The society blames the women journalists and activists for not giving pressure to the government, then slowly the voice ends, and the same behaviour is repeated in next incident. This is why I feel that women should be empowered with powerful journalism skills to make the issue be heard. “

A senior women activist, Renu Adhikari Rajbhandari.

The Himalayan nation of Nepal has a total population of 26 million (National Population and Housing Census, 2011), where the population of women is nearly one million more than that of men. Nepal has made a significant progress in increasing access to the internet, mobile technology, and mobile phones in the last decade.

According to the Nepal Telecommunications authority, one third of the population use smart phones and accesses the internet from hand-held devices, which includes women as well. This can be seen pictured right left as a mother and her children use a mobile in a remote hilly village of Nepal. Photo source: Neeta Shapkota

Any form of news or content being accessed in Nepal, like text, audio, or video, that is posted on the internet is much faster than the traditional forms of journalism.

In this regard, digital journalism is very different from the traditional journalism and learning technology is not only the transformation needed – we as journalists have to be prepared with skills, knowledge and a new mindset

Recently, I was reporting from a big rally which was against domestic violence. Despite the situation and the issue of the rally, its participants were busy taking selfies, posing for group photos, and uploading it on social sites for their friends. None of them were concerned with me or my big television camera. and the time I will take to do a mature balanced report on this important issue.

pictured left, Women in Dailekh, being interviewed in one of the remote district of Nepal Photo source-Neeta Shapkota 

Nowadays, we are used to internet facilities and smartphones. But are we as journalists using these tools to empower ourselves or to upgrade our professional skills? This question suddenly strikes me, and it has made me look forward to acquiring skills in digital journalism. 

The society and the nation, nowadays, are demanding competitive and powerful media personalities. So, it is high time we moved forward with confidence and command of technical-skills.  Otherwise, the voices of women journalists on issues that concern us might remain behind – as an immaterial image.

Digital journalism is the way to tell the story of the changing time and trends in Nepal, to make the task of reporting and storytelling powerful, interactive, responsive, and effective.

The women in media are usually found to be occupied with their comfort zone, so the transformation of technology along with digitisation is a must, to make them think outside the box.

The powerful story and content can only be created and be heard if the women working in media acquire and empower themselves with digital skills and knowledge of this digital era.

Thoughts on Digital platforms for IAWRT members;

In Nepal, different types of orientation, training, seminars and workshops are targeted at media people and conducted annually in large numbers by media houses, NGOs and INGOs. However, there are fewer women journalists than male colleagues in this training.

With the changing scenario and the demands of time, these activities should focus on the latest technology and trends. Women journalists who are deprived of the opportunities to empower and update themselves should be the target group for training in digital journalism.

Accessing digital news is a rapidly growing custom for readers, viewers and listeners and the media industry is changing the patterns of dissemination, according to the people’s choices. Large numbers of journalists from the developing countries (global South) are somehow trying to face the challenges of fulfilling the demands of the digital age.

So, it is high time that we were enabled to be prepared to overcome the challenges. It helps women journalists to acquire new skills and knowledge and on the other hand it boosts their confidence in their ability to produce timely and effective content.

Locally, the IAWRT Chapter can seek funding for training from different organizations particularly for digital journalism and women. Internationally, IAWRT might create an exchange program of content, storytelling, and forums for sharing about women’s issues after the training.

Digitally we all belong to a small world and funding might be provided through the international organization for those who are interested in women issues around the world. This kind of network of exchange programs or forums for sharing the issues of respective countries can lead to an effective and attractive platform for IAWRT International and local chapter members.

Neeta Shapkota, Executive producer, Nepal Television is a member of the Board of IAWRT-Nepal and will be attending the Uganda Regional Conference.




We asked members to communicate about a crucial issue in their region and what women in media can do.

Nancy Cohen-koan asks: should we as women writers load up our quiver and send that arrow of truth out faster and with more urgency than ever before?

Killing the Messenger



A four day capacity building symposium, in YaoundeMedia women and Election Reporting in Cameroon, focussed on how reporters could ensure gender issues were a central part of reporting in the lead up to the 2018 election.

The safety of female media workers also came into focus. The IAWRT Safety handbook for women journalists by Abeer Saady came under review, according to chapter head Becky Bissong.

“The review done by Nicoline Barah Lukong, a journalist with Cameroon Radio Television  (CRTV)  excited great interest and her summary was translated into Frence by Iya Acham Alim for the gathering” she said.

Becky Bsssong says over 50 media women attended the symposium, and they related strongly to the handbook’s caution : ‘you can’t control danger but can manage your risks’.

Many women had already downloaded a soft copy of the handbook from our wesbite she says but some wanted to locate hard copies in English and French. Some IAWRT chapters, such as Afghanistan are working to get translations into more languages.

CRTV covered the event, this video is shared with permission.

At all times the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) retains copyright of  What If … safety Handbook for Women Journalists. All editions are © IAWRT. 

Translations and not-for profit printing through IAWRT chapters are expected to be authorised by the IAWRT international board in the coming year.


IAWRT Afghanistan officially starts operation with a launch in Kabul.

Afghanistan’s acting Minister of Culture and Information joined an early morning gathering in Kabul’s Green Zone to help officially kick off the chapter.

By Sultan Mahmood Mobarez

On Saturday 16 September, IAWRT Afghanistan chief Najiba Ayubi, Afghanistan Journalists Federation members and some of Kabul’s top journalists participated in the chapter’s launch at IAWRT-Afghanistan’s main campus .

Najiba Ayubi, said in her opening speech, that targeting of journalists by opponents led to the creation of the Afghanistan chapter in Kabul, in order to defend journalist’s rights, alongside other unions and forum’s that are already operating.

“Defending women journalists’ rights is our top priority” she said. Members of the Afghan Journalists Federation, besides welcoming the start of the chapter, promised to offer any kind of cooperation and support that IAWRT-Afghanistan needed.

The acting Minister of Information and Culture, Hasina Safi, also declared her support on behalf of the Afghan Government. She asked the chapter to focus on the areas that have been pushed aside in the past, in order to be more productive.

Sharmini Boyle, the Director of Internews Afghanistan heads one of a number of international organizations that are supporting the chapter, believing that the operation of such a group will increase the prominence of women in media.

The ceremony was completed with the unveiling of a book created by the IAWRT chapter, called Ahesta wa Paiwasta (Slowly but Successively) which consists of 20 interviews with some top-level Afghan female journalists.

The screening of a documentary dar Edama e-Raah (The on-going path) which shows the difficulties facing woman journalists in Afghanistan,completed the morning’s agenda.

IAWRT Afghanistan has 10 founding members, 7 board members and 36 members who are currently working in Afghan media. The formal installation of IAWRT Afghanistan will happen at the IAWRT regional conference in Uganda in early October.

Click here: report about launch of IAWRT Afghanistan , published in the biggest news website of Afghanistan, Pajhwok Afghan News.

pic 1. the cover of the book in Darri; 2 Right to left Wajiha Sayar, Makia Munir and Najiba Ayubi IAWRT Afghanistan board members, acting Minister of Information and Culture, Hasina Safi , Aria Ahmadzai, IAWRT Board founding member,


The worldwide refugee crisis and rising intolerance and polarisation all over the world is the theme of the 2018-9 IAWRT documentary

Chandita Mukherjee of India is the Executive Producer, who has given a preview showing of the  film to IAWRT’s regional conference, October 2018.

If you are unable to open, a pdf version is available below.

DisplacemenT & Resilience: women on the move




A joint two-day seminar on online trolling of women journalists, activists, actors, women politicians and other civil society members, hosted by the Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan and IAWRT, India chapter.

It is being held on Wednesday, 12 and Thursday, 13 September 2018 (10:00-18:00, both days) Siddhartha Hall, Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan 3, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi.

The seminar will explore how troll armies target dissent and free speech, and examine how threats can escalate into physical attacks. It will aim to better prepare citizens to protect themselves when confronted with such attacks and look at what women journalists and others do when misogynistic abuse and death threats issued to them online are ‘liked’ by those in positions of authority.

The seminar will address the issue that is going global, who bears responsibility for multi-billion dollar platforms when they become a toxic digital spaces? Full details attached.

Congratulations to Geeta Sahai, IAWRT Communications Officer (pictured 3rd frm left below with her her team) for the international accolades for her film on Alzheimer’s disease.

Geeta, who is based in New Delhi, India wrote and directed I Remember which was accepted into a number of international film festivals and has been highly commended. In the words of on j ury – the  Los Angeles Film Awards –  “Congratulations on winning an Honorable Mention: Indie Feature! Our jury loved your work on ‘I Remember’.

The trailer can be veiwed through Facebook