Challenges of Afghan Women Journalists and its solution (1)

Young journalists trained to represent female colleagues

Women journalists from across Afghanistan have been introduced to gender studies on Afghan women journalists and some have received internships with practical training in representing females within the journalists’ union. 

by Maryam Bahar Sadat


At a one-day workshop entitled, Challenges of Afghan Women Journalists and the Solutions, a group of 25 young women journalists from capital cities and provinces of Afghanistan got together in groups to suggest solutions to the issues faced by women working in the country’s media.

They workshopped three questions which we identified for them:

1. The current situation and the participation of Afghan women journalists in society, compared to male journalists. How supportive was the system for women, as compared to men?

2. What are the challenges of Afghan women journalists?

3. What were the expectations of our participants from Afghanistan’s existing media associations, unions and organizations?

One main purpose of this workshop was to introduce the objectives of IAWRT, and the young journalists were quite excited about the activities which IAWRT is doing all over the world and they showed their interest in volunteering and being a part of a great network.

Currently we are in the phase II of Rasana Project with Internews. The first phase was to develop gender policy for the federation and in this phase, the focus is mostly on the implementation of that policy in the federation and the training of second-tier leaders.

At the end of workshop, six of the participants were selected as second-tier leaders to receive practical training in representing women in the Afghan Journalists Federation and others were selected as representatives of IAWRT Afghanistan for their provinces.

Over seven months, these six young journalists will learn leadership skills, along with learning the practical work and procedures inside the federation such as; conducting monthly meetings of the federation, advocacy for other women in media and arranging different national and international meetings for the federation. From time to time they will participate in digital security, public speaking, communication, safety and other related training.

Maryam Bahar Sadat is the project officer for IAWRT- Afghanistan. 
CSW flyer draft

The sixty-third session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) will begin at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on March 11, 2019.

NGOCSW63: Community Media Models for Disaster Preparedness and Risk Management.

IAWRT will showcase its Disaster Response Radio project in the Philippines followed by a gender-based discussion and workshop on the important role of various community media in disaster recovery and preparedness. 

IAWRT’s Parallel Event is scheduled for March 14 at 12:30pm at the Salvation Army 221 E 52nd Street New York, NY 10022.


The Philippines radio project was created in response to the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan (also known as Yolanda) in 2013 – the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded. Despite well-developed media, many communities were cut off from any form of communications. Typhoon Haiyan cut off entire villages from the mainland, prevented emergency transportation and contaminated water resources and water supply systems. 


The discussion/workshop is intended to create awareness of the important role and the effectiveness of community media as an empowering medium for saving lives, restoring individual dignity and community cohesion after a disaster. 


It will be moderated by Frieda Werden the founder/editor of WINGS (Women’s International News Gathering Services) and include a video presentation by Peggy Berryhill, the General Manager KGUA Public Radio 88.3/FM in Canada and UK Environmental Scientist, Dr. Sandra Wint.


Panellists will be Jola Diones-Mamangun President, IAWRT-Philippines and Executive Director, Kodao Productions, Susan Raybuck Radio Director Emeritus, KWVH 94.1/FM Wimberley Valley, Olivia Tumanjong Former Presenter, Cameroon National Television & Radio Beatrice and Chelangat Sabiny from FM Radio, Uganda. 


Link to CSW Priority Theme and the Review Theme


The CSW Priority theme is – Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. The Review theme for CSW 63 is – Women’s empowerment and the link to sustainable development (agreed conclusions of the sixtieth session).


The IAWRT initiative will highlight the role women play in preparing for any disaster; preparing for damages and loss, rebuilding and peace negotiations. More importantly, the event will show how critical the media is to sustainable development and gender equality.


This follows CSW 62, when IAWRT members, Sheila Katzman, Archana Kapoor and Birgitte Jallov (pic: left) participated in a side event in the UN on community broadcasters. speaking about building capacities for amplifying rural women’s voices. 




IAWRT has documented the difficulties of setting up community radio in the Philippines, and its handbook, AMPLIFYING THE PEOPLE’S VOICES: The Philippine Community Radio Experience and Challenges (2018) is being made freely available. Click to download.


However, the workshop/discussion aims to reinforce the importance of the existence of community media and it power to alleviate the distress and loss of dignity associated with mass disasters.


The CSW parallel event will act as a call for the strengthening of community media infrastructure that can allay the impact of environmental catastrophes on people’s lives in the future. 






Ethical Journalism Network appoints gender and safety advocate

“Journalism is facing a crisis of trust and a fight for truth and I believe there has never been a more important time to promote sound ethics in journalism”

The EJN – an organisation which partners with IAWRT and aims to strengthen journalism around the world – has appointed Hannah Storm, an internationally recognised advocate for media gender equality and the safety of journalists, as its new Director and CEO. She is currently the Director of the International News Safety Institute (INSI), she will start at the EJN from April 2019. 

Hannah started at INSI in 2010 after a decade in TV radio and online journalism for outlets including the BBC, The Times, Reuters and ITN. She became INSI director in 2012, where she has coordinated conversations between news organisations about journalists becoming better equipped to stay safe on the changing physical, psychological and digital frontlines for news media.

As a media consultant specialising in gender, she advises organisations, including the United Nations, on gender-sensitive reporting, sexual harassment and the need for gender balance in newsrooms and news output.

Hannah Storm is co-author of No Woman’s Land – On the Frontlines with Female Journalists which is a resource recommended in IAWRT’s safety Handbook for Women Journalists. She also co-wrote Violence and Harassment Against Women in the News Media with the International Women’s Media Foundation and The Kidnapping of Journalists: Reporting from High-Risk Conflict Zones and The Emotional Impact on Journalists of Covering the Refugee Crisis published by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford.

The EJN’s Chair, Dorothy Byrne (the head of Channel 4 News and Current Affairs) says “Hannah will take the Ethical Journalism Network to the next stage of our development enabling us to play an even bigger role in supporting journalists around the world.”

Hannah Storm says she has long admired the great efforts of the EJN. “Having worked for many years in the field of journalism safety, I appreciate the fact that media safety and ethics often go hand in hand.”

“Around the world, many of our colleagues are working in increasingly difficult environments, faced with the pressures of propaganda, undermined by officialdom and embattled by a rising tide of hate speech and misinformation. 

“Journalism is facing a crisis of trust and a fight for truth and I believe there has never been a more important time to promote sound ethics in journalism.”

I feel immensely honoured to be joining the Ethical Journalism Network and to helping drive forward and expand its extremely important mission.

Adapted from EJN PRESS release 


Short film Competition for Nepali Women Directors Festival Highlight.

by Mallika Bhattarai

The second women’s film festival in December 2018 was a celebration of women’s struggles and achievements.

It was held in Sanskritik Sansthan (National Cultural Centre), Jamal, and screened both fiction and non-fiction films with interactions with the producers/directors. The festival theme was ‘Story through Women’s Lenses’ and it was designed to encourage women filmmakers, especially young women, to make more quality films highlighting women’s issues.

It also aimed to provide them the best opportunity to connect with and share knowledge with each other and to build relationships with women filmmakers internationally.

Violet Gonda, IAWRT International President, Montessori Rajbhandari, IAWRT Nepal President and inaugurated the film festival by lighting the panas (traditional lamp) with the festival director, Anupa Shrestha.

“The main objective of IAWRT Women’s film festival – Nepal is to encourage women film makers, promote women filmmakers from all around the world, appreciate their work and grow the culture of organisation of international film festivals in Nepal”, she said.

“We are also in solidarity with the 16 days of activism, against gender-based violence.”

The IAWRT Nepal Short Film competition 2018 for women directors was this year’s major highlight.  Three of the best films were showcased. Jyotshna Singh Thakuri’s Against All Odds was presented the trophy and cash first prize by IAWRT President Violet Gonda. The other two top short films were Bidhya Chapagain’s Story of School and Nisha Manadhar’s We can; they were honoured with certificate, shawl and a token of Appreciation.

12 movies and documentaries from 10 countries were screened. These stories revolved around women’s issues, identity and the struggle to be independent in a male dominated society. Geeta Lal Shahi, a filmaker from India was present to interact with the audience and students from various colleges after screening her award-winning movie, “I Remember”, along with her movie Rajawati.

Rewati Gurung, a Nepali filmmaker also interacted with audiences who showed a  keen interest in watching the films and raising queries with the filmmakers about how subjects were picked and the factors which influenced them

Oscar International College (College of film studies), Shivam Group and Sancharika Samuha were the associate partners with IAWRT Nepal. The jury members were Asim Shah, Director of Feature Films, Sushma Gautam; Senior Program Producer and Director of Nepal Television; and Samjhana Upreti Rauniyar, Senior Producer and Director.


IAWRT President Violet Gonda starts 2019 on a real high 

Her Zimbabwean passport has been returned after an 18 year struggle which included a deportation drama when returning from attending the 2nd IAWRT Nepal Women’s Film Festival and African Film Festival in Kathmandu in December 2018.

Violet Gonda returned home this year (on a UK passport) after 17 years in exile, having been banned from Zimbabwe by the former President Robert Mugabe over her reporting on human rights atrocities mainly through SW Radio. In 2018 she reported on the elections which returned Emerson Mnangagwa to the Presidency which he took in a coup the previous year.

However, Violet was stunned to find out that she was still on a a so-called ‘stop list’ when she applied for the return of her passport. Her online reporting and work on Twitter and Facebook had raised the ire of some in the Mnangagwa government, and despite being promised a new passport after a successful court challenge by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), it had not been issued when she travelled to Nepal on IAWRT business.

Her Ethiopian Airlines plane was even held on the tarmac when an immigration officer said Violet was going to be deported. He mocked her recent reporting, saying that she was an activist who faced down soldiers but who cried when threatened with deportation. Eventually after a lawyer from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) intervened Violet was allowed 30 days to prove her citizenship.

This time after submitting another application her passport was issued. ” No more arriving in Zimbabwe as a foreigner and paying $55 visa fees, No more regular visits to immigration offices to renew my visitor’s status. No more fear of deportation – I AM A ZIMBABWEAN – FULLSTOP’ she said.

Violet says, “A stop-list has no place in a so-called new dispensation!”. She thanked the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights – especially Mr. Denford Halimani who negotiated to stop her deportation from Harare airport in December.


IAWRT as an NGO in consultative status with ECOSOC, can approve the registration of a limited number of financial IAWRT members for CSW63.

The 63rd Commission on the Status of Women is being held in New York from 11-22 March 2019 at United Nations Headquarters. IAWRT encourages self-funded participation in the NGOCSW and attendance at the largest annual UN gathering which focuses on women.

IAWRT’s planned parallel event, at the NGO CSW, is Models of Community Media for Disaster Preparedness and Risk Managementclick for more details date TBC.

Registration deadline is 27 January 2019. You must first register indvidually as IAWRT delegates by clicking Indico. Let IAWRT know via [email protected]  Once your registration has been approved by IAWRT, you will receive a registration approval via email.

click links –  video and step-by-step instructions for the registration process in Indico  –  to register


Female Factor: Women and Workplace Sovereignty

The South African Chapter’s focus with the Gender Mainstreaming Project has always been to simplify things: To make it all about what the everyday woman working in media can grasp and apply in their day to day roles.

In early December, at Sonke Gender Justice we held an all-day dynamic workshop for a primary target audience of young women as well as established practitioners. It was subtitled, Success Strategies for women working in the field, on sets (in front of and behind the camera), online, in radio and in newsrooms.

Our aim was to impart knowledge, have dialogue around solutions and forge a sisterhood that can be a support network. The workshop covered three areas within the broad scope of media, to enlighten our participants on what women in different media aspects are faced with. We had an enriching day of learning and sharing.

Katlego Nakedi, a feminine empowerment coach led a powerful session of raising personal awareness around fear and how women can transcend their fear in order to master their expression. She shared tools and practices that women can use to resolve their fear and stand for themselves in the workplace and in life. Her session included storytelling, meditation, breathing exercises and movement as tools for opening up and living in your power. This session gave participants a lived experience of owning and using your voice.

Zoe Ramushu, a legal consultant, activist and producer and representative of, shared the work that Sisters Working in Television and Film (SWIFT) is doing for women in TV and film. She reported that following their PSA’s screened before films featuring instances of unacceptable workplace behavior, (part of #thatsnotokay a movement that preceded the global #metoo movement) they’ve begun doing research around harassment and sexual abuse in the industry. This research is key in calling for protective measures for women on sets.

This session was very sensitive as some women have trauma from abuse and a sense of powerlessness in an environment where disciplinary measures for perpetrators aren’t as stringent as they are in traditional work environments. The learning from the earlier session became applicable for this session in how women can find power in the moment of abuse to stand up, speak out and push back when it is safe to do so. What came out clearly was the idea of male superiority that we’ve internalized as women, that we apparently can’t do anything to – even when there’s not much at stake.

Following the earlier session, some of the women reported that they now see how they could have better handled some of the abusive situations they’ve had to endure. Zoe made the women aware that they can call a SWIFT representative who can help them file a case and offer support by following up to see that the perpetrator is brought to book. SWIFT is also working on industry guidelines to make safety officers mandatory on sets.

Screenwriter Makganwana Mokgalong began her session by showing two films to open up a discussion around characters, story and language. The two films were from the South African National Film and Video Foundation , Female Filmmaker Slate – A Groom’s price and Ganesh Falling – both are very different works that illustrate that the female story isn’t as monolithic as mainstream film makes it out to be, that women from different backgrounds can have different narratives . We focused on creating awareness around diversity and not trying to compress women’s stories into one story. What also became stark was how women bring their oppression into their craft, not from an enlightened perspective but from past trauma. What came out of this session was an affirmation that all stories are valid and confidence that how we want to be seen and heard as women is not perpetuating what continuously disempowers us.

The diversity in our participants allowed for refreshing perspectives; we were able to pull in different expertise and experiences to offer participants a rich experience with a lot of take home.

IAWRT South Africa social media details: Facebook ; Instagram  

to see other presepectives on gender mainstreaming form IAWRT’s global membership click Gender Mainstreaming Project Taking Off.