This competition aimed to encourage female filmmakers to make high-quality films and raise awareness against gender-based violence.

On International Human Rights Day today and the final day of the 16-day Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, IAWRT Nepal hosted its 3rd IAWRT Nepal Short Film Competition in the Rastriya Naachghar with the slogan “Stories Through Women’s Lens.”

Given the current Covid-19 pandemic situation, the event was organized in a small gathering of media experts, filmmakers, journalists, and IAWRT members.

The competition received 17 short films produced and/or directed by female filmmakers. The four best movies and their directors were awarded.

Congratulations to the winners!

Falgunia ( 1st winning Short Film )

A girl child is raped by her uncle. The mother, ‘Phaguniya,’ takes a stand and fights for justice, but the family’s head forces her to keep the matter quiet for the family’s prestige in society. However, on the other hand, the girl’s mother will not stop until the preparator is punished.

Lalita (2nd Winning Short Fim)

A self-assured young woman in her early twenties recalls how she first chose the profession (as a sex worker) to overcome a financially difficult situation for herself and her younger brother, who became orphans at a young age, despite societal norms that sex work is considered a sin. She regards sex work as a dignified profession, just like any other in society, and she has no regrets about her decision. She aspires to further her education, have a family, and live a dignified life, just like any other young woman. She empathizes with others who have had similar experiences to her own and aspires to live her life as a supporter for them. She defies all of her own and others’ preconceived notions about herself and others. After all, she’s just a normal girl living in a city of dreams.

Samaira (3rd Winning Short Film)

Samaira Shrestha is an inspiring and confident transgender woman born male but began feeling emotionally and mentally female at the age of ten. She remained silent and concealed her identity for 21 years, fearing that her family and society would ruin her and her life. However, when her parents wanted her to marry a relative girl, she mustered the courage to reveal herself as a girl. It was difficult for her parents to accept this fact initially, but they gradually accepted it and encouraged her to grow into a confident woman and pursue her dream. She is now living her dream life and inspiring others in the LGBTIQ community with her stories.

Mountains are Angry (Award-winning Short Film in “Climate Change” Theme )

Dolpa’s economy is based on tourism and livestock. As a seasonal source of income, people used to collect and sell yarsagumba (a highly medicinally valuable caterpillar fungus). However, over-harvesting and climate change have reduced the collection of yarsagumba and have melted snows from the Himalayas, reducing the number of tourists. Climate change is wreaking havoc on people, particularly the Himalayas, and women are highly vulnerable.

The British Council supported the competition.

The Digital Safe House launch is a pilot project in the Philippines.

IAWRT launched the Digital Safe House and Collaboration Platform on December 10 International Human Rights Day and the last day of 16 days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. This day is also the first year anniversary of the arrest and wrongful imprisonment of its communication officer Lady Ann Salem or Icy and the killing of its IAWRT Afghanistan member Malalai Maiwand. Icy was released on March 5 and headed the Digital Safe House project. 

The Digital Safe House is a one-stop or first-stop shop that links various journalists’ safety and well-being programs offered by different media groups, non-government organizations, human rights, lawyers, and church and religious groups in the Philippines. 

The Digital Safe House for Filipino Women Journalists can be found on this link. 

The Digital Safe House partners have shared with us their own labor of love for journalists such as:

  • The alert system of NUJP and CMFR from where we get the number of journalists killed and the threats and attacks on journalists
  • Peer support and counseling from PECOJON, PCPR and the Order of Carmelites
  • Legal assistance from the Media Defence Legal Initiative and NUPL
  • If you encounter problems with your gadgets or online accounts, you can look at the Digital First Aid to help you secure them or troubleshoot them
  • IAWRT and NUJP have safety handbooks, and NUJP also has ethical guide and psychological first aid handbooks
  • Safety and digital security trainings are being offered by CCJD, NUJP, FMA and PPI provides journalist talks and trainings
  • AIJC also inspired us to include a section on groups that journalists can join like NUJP, PCP and IAWRT because some journalists need a group that they can belong and to support them

British Embassy Ambassador to the Philippines Laure Beaufils expressed support for the project and recognized the three-year partnership with IAWRT on women journalists’ safety. 

International Media Support Global Safety Advisor Colette Heefner congratulated IAWRT and shared her excitement that the public can now see what IAWRT has been working on for the past months. 

Digital Safe House partners expressed support and commitment for the project during the launch. 

IAWRT Philippines hopes to continue to reach out to more partners all over the country so we can be able to cater their programs, resources, services to more women journalists.

IAWRT plans to iterate the project in other countries where women journalists need a third-party platform to report cases of threats and attacks and seek help so they can continue their work. 

IAWRT Norway ushers Nobel Peace Prize with a gathering with women journalists who experienced detention and exile. Three of IAWRT International’s bravest journalists, who all have had to flee because of their journalism, participated with their stories at the meeting in the Press House in Oslo, 9 December, a day before the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov.

Violet Gonda, IAWRT President, shared IAWRT’s experience with working and campaigning for the freedom of IAWRT members Frenchie Mae Cumpio and Lady Ann Salem and working for the evacuation of IAWRT Afghanistan members. But Gonda herself has experienced persecution from the state, forcing her to go on exile for 20 years and only able to return to Zimbabwe in 2018, only to face harassment in her coverage of the government that toppled the Mugabe regime. She is back in UK and has launched her well-known series “Hot Seat” online. 

Najiba Ayubi, IAWRT Afghanistan chapter president, now in US after fleeing Taliban rule, is just starting her life in exile. Ayubi, editor at Killid Group, had faced threats in the practice of her journalism before.  She worked to encourage and support women journalists in a male-dominated media, and her fight for freedom of expression before, during and after Taliban’s takeover. She very reluctantly had to flee from Afghanistan, as the Taliban came knocking at her door.

Lady Ann Salem, IAWRT Communication Officer, was arrested on trumped-up charges. She is now leading a new pilot project using experience from her own detention to establish a Digital Safe House Project for journalists under threat. 

This webinar was held as part of the Digital Safe House for Filipino Women Journalists project

IAWRT held a webinar on “Gender-sensitive Approach on Journalists’ Safety; What, Why and How?” on December 8, 2021 as part of the build-up to the launch of the Digital Safe House Project for Women Journalists. 

Women journalists face specific threats to their safety and professional development and there is growing international consensus that a gender-sensitive approach to promoting the safety of journalists around the world is essential. But what exactly do we mean by gender-sensitive? What evidence do we have that such an approach to journalists’ safety is warranted? Who is supposed to ensure gender-sensitive approach is integrated throughout the safety work? And finally, how will we know if this has been achieved?

The webinar was moderated by Dr. Greta Gober, Vice President of IAWRT International.

IAWRT Philippines Vice President Margarita Valle delivered the opening remarks. She discussed the situation of women journalists during the pandemic and the importance of knowledge on journalists safety to continue the various responsibilities of media practitioners including bringing information to the people. 

IAWRT Philippines Board Member Janess Ellao, the first speaker, shared a study she co-authored, conducted and presented in 2020, “Dealing with sexual harassment: Are women journalists silenced at work?”  In the first part of her discussion, she explained that there are currently limitations in studies and literature about various attacks on women journalists including sexual harassment and other forms of violence at work. Most victims choose to be silent when it comes to these violations.

The main results of the study showed a hazing culture among women journalists who tend to be harassed when they are still new in the industry, both by colleagues and other personalities they encounter in the field. She shared the conclusion of the study, stressing cases that were not reported because the victims and violators have a belief that such attitudes on women are normal. There is also a lack of support from media companies in addressing such issues both in legal and professional aspects. Ellao ended with sharing how journalists are countering these attacks themselves. 

The second speaker, Dr. Ayesha Jehangir, introduced her paper and research which started in 2015 and was published in 2020, and featured in a UNESCO research on gender-based harassment. She gave a background on the research which was a study on the threats and attacks on Pakistani women journalists. Dr. Jehangir enumerated the different manifestations of these abuses from trolling to catcalling, up to rape and even murder. She also noted that online abuses are also becoming prevalent both in social media and through electronic mail. These abuses had different impacts on women journalists such as mental health issues, censorship, and even change of careers. She identified the facilitators of this situation as ‘medium, misogyny, and management.’

Dr. Jehangir also stated that there are laws that are supposed to arrest these abuses but are not being implemented well in Pakistan. Civil society organizations turned out to be more helpful in responding to harassment cases. Before ending the presentation, she also shared some campaign efforts conducted by women journalists to confront their situation.

Dr. Jehangir is a journalist and researcher for University of Technology Sydney, Australia, and author of a qualitative study in Pakistan, “Cost of Doing their Job: Online Harassment of Women Journalists.”

The last speaker, Dr. Diana Maynard, talked about data analysis of online harassment encountered by the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa, which is a part of a bigger research on online violence against women journalists.

Dr. Maynard explained that the analysis of this study will help journalists to be able to understand the different aspects of online abuse. She then enumerated the basic methodology they used for computational analysis on the case of Maria Ressa. She noted that there is actually twice as much abuse as they detected in the research. 

Dr. Maynard challenged the audience in asserting the fight for media freedom and ensuring the safety of women journalists.

Dr. Maynard is Senior Researcher for the Department of Computer Science, Sheffield University and Co-researcher in the UNESCO commissioned Global Study on Effective Measure to Tackle Online Harassment of Women Journalists and author of “The Chilling: Global Trends in Online Violence Against Women Journalists.”

The webinar was attended by members of IAWRT from different chapters, other women journalists, and communication students from the Philippines.

IAWRT in partnership with International Media Supportis launching the Digital Safe House and Collaboration Platform for Women Journalists in the Philippines on December 10. This is a pilot project and the objective in the future is to build similar Digital Safe Houses in other parts of the world, where IAWRT has chapters, where independent reporting and media freedom are stifled, and where it is becoming increasingly difficult to be a woman journalist. 

From Uganda: Jocylynne Nakibuule in conversation with Nankwanga Eunice Kasirye

In the last episode in the series, IAWRT Board Secretary and Uganda chapter president Nankwanga Eunice Kasirye speaks with journalist Jocylynne Nakibuule on a harrowing news coverage experience where she had to save a life and then still had to write the story.

Listen here.

Insight Talk is an original podcast by IAWRT. It is produced by the IAWRT Long Documentary Committee and Mentorship Committee and created through the support of the Journalism and Media International Center of the Oslo Metropolitan University.

Women journalists from India, Pakistan, Kenya and Uganda share insights on the challenges and breakthroughs while covering the pandemic. This is also with support from the JMIC of OsloMet small projects with IAWRT on women journalists, safety, and media freedom.

From India: Natasha Badhwar in conversation with Radhika Khanna

In the third episode, Radhika Khanna speaks to filmmaker Natasha Badhwar.

Natasha Badhwar is an independent filmmaker and writer who leads the media team of Karwan e Mohabbat, a people’s campaign in support of victims of hate crime, communal violence and socio-economic marginalization.

Natasha is interviewed by Radhika Khanna who teaches in the School of Media and Communication, Pondicherry University and heads the Educational Multimedia Research Centre at Puducherry.

Listen here.

Insight Talk is an original podcast by IAWRT. It is produced by the IAWRT Long Documentary Committee and Mentorship Committee and created through the support of the Journalism and Media International Center of the Oslo Metropolitan University.

Women journalists from India, Pakistan, Kenya and Uganda share insights on the challenges and breakthroughs while covering the pandemic. This is also with support from the JMIC of OsloMet small projects with IAWRT on women journalists, safety, and media freedom.

Tchonko Becky Bissong was given first prize in the “Awards for considering gender balance in the media in Cameroon.”

On November 26, during the first edition of an event organized within the framework of the #16daysofactivism campaign to #EndGBV in Cameroon, IAWRT Cameroon chapter Head Tchonko Becky Bissong was distinguished by UN WOMEN Cameroon for her contribution to the promotion of women’s rights and empowerment of women and girls through her radio magazine programme “CALLING THE WOMEN.”

The event was the first FALCON AWARDS by the Global Women Emancipation in Sports to showcase women sports icons who stood tall against discrimination and other forms of violence women encounter.

UN WOMEN Cameroon and the National Communication Council thereby used the occasion to encourage media professionals who promote women’s rights and gender equality through their work.