The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) wrote to Philippines’ president-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr to reverse “your predecessor’s abusive acts and policies targeting independent media and journalists and restoring the Philippines’ once-proud standing as a regional bastion of press freedom.”

CPJ asked Marcos Jr to drop all charges against Maria Ressa and Rappler.

“To start with, your administration should end the relentless persecution of journalist and Nobel Peace laureate Maria Ressa, a global beacon of press freedom,” the group in the letter.

CPJ also asked Marcos Jr to restore the operating franchise of ABS-CBN, the country’s biggest broadcast company before its franchise expired on May 5, 2020 as its application was not acted on by Congress and then the legislative body eventually rejected it.

“Duterte repeatedly threatened not to renew ABS-CBN’s 25-year franchise agreement before Congress decided against its application,” CPJ said.

The dangerous practice of red-tagging by government must also be stopped, according to the group.

“We also urge your government to cease the “red-tagging” of journalists, the wrongful and dangerous labeling of reporters as supporters of the banned communist insurgency. Duterte’s administration made red-tagging de facto government policy and employed the practice to threaten, harass, and jail journalists,” added CPJ.

The group also asked for the release of IAWRT Philippines member Frenchie Mae Cumpio.

“In particular, we call on you to exercise your executive authority to drop the red tagging-related charges pending against journalist Frenchiemae Cumpio,” they said.

Cumpio was arrested on February 7, 2020 on trumped-up charges in a police pre-dawn raid in the office of her media outfit Eastern Vista. She has been in jail since then while additional charges were reportedly filed against her.

A similar raid and charges of illegal possession of firearms was also used to put IAWRT Communication Officer and Manila Today editor Lady Ann Salem in jail. She was released from prison on March 5, 2021 after the court dismissed the charges against her.

Read full CPJ letter to Marcos Jr here:

Marry Ferreira | IAWRT-USA UN Youth Representative

When investigating the impact of climate change one most often reads articles written either by scientists, journalists, or scholars. The voices of those who actually experience the devastating effects of this phenomenon, especially women and girls, are most often unheard. We need to rethink the way we communicate climate change and one of the best tools to do so is storytelling. Stories have the power to address complex subject matters and communicate them in a personal way with tangible solutions. It’s addressing injustices through the voices of those most affected by them. That is what a group of journalists, researchers and media professionals are working to address.

On March 18, 2022, as a parallel event of the NGO CSW66 Fórum, “My Climate Change Story: Cellphone Cinema Workshop” prepared women globally with an intergenerational lens to go into their communities, and use their cell phones to create a 3 a 7-minute vignette about their own stories. The event happened in the context of the NGO CSW Forum, that runs parallel to the official UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) taking place at the UN Headquarters. Over the two weeks of in-person and online events, this year’s priority theme was “achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes”.

With over 300 registrants from Kenia, the Philippines, Nepal, Uganda, France, the United States, Brazil, Jamaica, and many other countries, the “My Climate Change Story: Cellphone Cinema Workshop” had a 120-minute session hosted by The International Association of Women in Radio and Television, Wings Radio, and Woman in Media – Newark. Women and girls were in the center of the conversation because their vulnerability to climate change stems from a number of factors — social, economic, and cultural. According to the United Nations, 70% of the 1.3 billion people living in conditions of poverty are women. In urban areas, 40 per cent of the poorest households are headed by women. Women predominate in the world’s food production (50-80%), but they own less than 10% of the land.1 Women…In The Shadow of Climate Change

“Cellphone technologies are one of the most accessible to populations at all levels of society, and we are taking these technologies to amplify our solutions. We are not calling to the ‘so-called table’, we are creating a new one. Because women around the world have a lot to say”, said Sheila Katzman, President of IAWRT-USA, at the beginning of the event. Trainers of the “My Climate Change Story: Cellphone Cinema Workshop” included Nupur Basu, a senior journalist, documentary filmmaker, and media educator from India; Elizabeth Miller, a Professor in Communication Studies at Concordia University and a documentary maker with expertise in environmental media; Samina Mishra, a documentary filmmaker, writer, and teacher based in New Delhi; Jek Alcaraz, a Filipino journalist, videographer and video editor of Kodao Productions; Jola Diones- Mamangun, journalist, filmmaker, Executive Director of Kodao Productions, and former Chapter Head of IAWRT Philippines; Raziah Quallatein Mwawanga, Television Producer and Director, Tanzania; Lady Ann Salem, journalist and documentary filmmaker, Philippines; Sara Chitambo, filmmaker, South Africa; Coordinators include, Marry Ferreira, communications and advocacy specialist from Brazil; Sheila Katzman, President of IAWRT-USA – The International Association of Women in Radio and Television; and Pamela Morgan, Executive Committee of NGOCSW/NY and the founder and Executive Director of Woman in Media-Newark.

As important as it is to communicate about the impacts of climate change, it is also fundamental to include stories that people can relate to because the climate crisis is not a distant threat. This workshop taught women how to create a thesis statement, a storyboard, and how to use their cameras to capture their stories and their community’s stories about what they are facing today. Participants also received an overview of how to edit their mobile videos and how to upload them to the IAWRT YouTube channel.

“I think this is one of the most compelling events out of the 700 parallels events of the NGO CSW66 Forum because we are inviting and empowering women to tell their own climate crisis stories. Additionally, with the skills they are learning here, they will be able to take to the future and tell others of their stories. It’s the ordinary people who are most impacted by the climate crisis, and today we are centering their experience”, added Pamela Morgan, event co-organizer. Once all videos are finished, the participants are invited to submit their creations to My Climate Change Story, a channel on IAWRT YouTube that will be populated by original film shorts created by women globally to illustrate how climate change has affected their lives and those of their families hopes to change that narrative. My Climate Change Story YouTube Channel is a laboratory for innovation and solutions that can be shared and emulated globally. Identification of these common themes may lead to the development of projects and practical outcomes that aim to improve the lives of women and girls and enhance community resilience – when women do well, communities are stronger.

By: Benaz Batrawi/Ramallah

Shireen, 51, spent the last 25 years reporting for Al-Jazeera Arabic Channel. Before that, she worked for other media outlets during the mid of 90ts including the Voice of Palestine and Mont Carlo Radio.

Shireen was shot dead by the Israeli Army in Jenin in the West Bank on May 11, 2022 while wearing a body armor and a helmet clearly-marked “PRESS.”

Photo Aljarmaq News

Shireen’s funeral was the longest in Palestine, lasting for three days, and going through four Palestinian cities: Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah and lastly in Jerusalem, where she was laid to rest.  Shireen was mourned by millions of Palestinians inside the country and in diaspora, in addition to millions of Arabs and internationals around the world.

Her colleagues at Al-Jazeera felt devastated by her assassination and cried for days during her long funeral. They all expressed their sorrow for losing such a professional, smart, objective and kind journalist.

Majdi Banoura, the cameraman who companioned her for long years and filmed her being shot dead said, “We worked together for 24 years and [I] still do not believe that she is gone, she considered us her big family.”

For the first time I cannot say or write about such an event.

Jivara Budeiri, her colleague and the second female reporter at Al-Jazeera in Ramallah office

Walid Omary the Bureau Chief of Al-Jazeera Office in Palestine commented in front of Shireen’s grave, “Good bye Shireen and thanks a lot for being who you are, you reunited all the Palestinian people again.”

Her childhood friend Rula Muzaffar wrote on Facebook, “What people do not know about Shireen besides being a prominent journalist that she had a child spirit, she was funny, respectful, modest, honest, and wise.”

Her only brother Anton remarked on her death that “the loss is very big but the love and respect surrounded us makes us strong and pride, thanks for all who supported us.”

Her death wounds Palestinians and journalists in the world, who until this day and age, continue to suffer or die through similar circumstances – in areas or situations of conflict while she was just doing her job. To Palestinians and journalists around the world, Shireen Abu Akleh is a name to recognize for generations to come and until such time journalism is no longer a most dangerous profession.

The International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) is outraged at the fatal shooting of Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American journalist, who worked for the Al Jazeera network. She was killed in the occupied West Bank during an Israeli army raid in Jenin, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, and despite wearing a jacket clearly identifying her as “Press.” Her producer was also wounded.

Such an act is a violation of the Geneva Conventions, and violates the United Nations Security Council resolution 2222 on the protection of journalists.

We are gratified to learn the United Nations Human Rights Organization is verifying facts on the ground, and we join the chorus of those expressing sorrow and alarm and demand a thorough, independent investigation into these alleged crimes.

Three members from IAWRT Kenya chapter won in the 2022 Annual Journalism Excellence Awards (AJEA), known as one of Kenya’s prestigious journalism awards which was established since 2012 for print, broadcast, and now digital journalism

Former IAWRT Chairperson Rachael Nakitare received the Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to the media development in Kenya over the years. Rachael has been involved in mega media projects locally and internationally. She was the first Kenyan journalist to interview the former President Obama at the White House.

Ruth Keah of Radio Rahma bagged three awards in three categories: ICT and Telecommunication Reporting Radio for “Gharama ya mawasiliano kwa watu wenye changamoto ya matamshi,” Innovation and Business Reporting Radio for “Programu ya ranunu inavyosaidia watu wenye ulemavu kupata ajira” and Sports Reporting Radio for “Mohammed Munga – aaupuza ulemavu na kung’aa kimataifa kwenye mchezo wa soka.” All her stories, produced in the local Swahili language, highlighted the plight as well as achievements of people with disabilities.

Senior radio journalist Lourdes Walusala of KBC English Service won in the Innovation and Business Reporting Radio category for “Recovery of women-led smes.”

The chief guest at the awards ceremony was Court of Appeal President Daniel Musinga, while Auditor General Nancy Gathungu was the Keynote speaker. MCK CEO Mr. David Omwoyo reiterated the council’s commitment to upholding and ensuring ethical journalism practice.

He said, “It is prudent for the media to provide Kenyans and media content consumers with content that is prepared professionally, that promotes, respects and adheres to the fundamental principles and global standards of journalism.”

Through the awards, the media has an opportunity to enhance its professional standards of practice and grow in its mandate as an opinion shaper and a platform for discourse.

About AJEA

Three members of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT)- Kenya chapter scooped top awards during the prestigious Annual Journalism Excellence Awards (AJEA) 2022. This is a signature event of the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) that recognises and celebrates excellence and professionalism in the media industry in Kenya. The awards are usually the peak of celebrations to commemorate the World Press Freedom Day marked globally on 3rd May. This year’s event was particularly significant, marking ten years since the inception of AJEA in 2012.

Winners of these awards submit their stories on broadcast, print and digital platforms after which a panel of judges who then determine the winning stories. The stories must have been published or broadcast over the last one calendar year. Judges often look for innovative stories and investigative journalism that goes beyond the obvious, the ordinary, the expected, and the regular. They look for journalism that puts issues in context and in perspective, thereby making sense of issues of public interest.. The stories cut across radio, television, print and digital platforms . The MCK also presents the Life Time Achievement Award to persons who have shown significant contribution to the media industry at large.

The Council has held AJEA since 2012, with this year’s event marking ten years of its existence.

The awards are a continuous annual recognition and celebration of journalistic excellence and achievement in Kenya. The awards aim to identify, celebrate and maintain excellence in journalism and the media industry in general. It also endeavors to recognise journalists who have demonstrated high standards of reportage and ethics in their work and challenge them to achieve the highest standards of ethics in the profession and practice of journalism. The awards also identify areas of capacity, need for journalists and media practitioners to maintain standards of excellence in the profession. The awards also works to motivate young journalists to seek to excel in their work and grow in the profession and inspire journalists to play their role in upholding democracy, integrity and accountability in society.

The Media Council of Kenya is the guardian for the code of ethics and practice of journalism in the country. The Council is also expected to ensure that journalism standards are upheld and gaps identified in the practice of journalism are mitigated through capacity building.

Dear IAWRT members,

We are pleased to inform you that IAWRT Tanzania has won the bid to host The 39th IAWRT Biennial Conference 2022. 

The conference dates are set from 18th to 20th of November.

The conference will highlight the interlinked crisis of the 3 C’s: Conflict, Covid and Climate change

How do these impact the lives of women and what are the challenges for us as media women?

The conference will be a hybrid physical-online event in order to secure diverse participation among IAWRTs global network. 

All chapters are encouraged to fund one or two representatives to the conference. Individual members who wish to participate physically – and thereby gain access to a series of workshops – are encouraged to start mobilizing for funding as soon as possible. 

For further inquiries or if you need documentation to present to funders, please contact the Biennial Committee ([email protected]) or the secretariat ([email protected] or [email protected]). You are also most welcome to share ideas with us! 

We hope to see many of you in Zanzibar in November!!

Warm wishes,

Bibiana Piene, IAWRT Norway (Head of Biennial Committee)