IAWRT Norway held its annual meeting on the 30th of March and elected this new board:

  • Chapter head:  Nefise Özkal Lorentzen
  • Accountant: Grethe Breie
  • Secretary: Kristine Ramm
  • Board member: Vigdis Lian
  • Board member: Maru Sanchez Lopez

Solveig Helvik stepped out of the board, where she has been a member since 2008.

She was warmly thanked for her long and faithful service.

IAWRT President Michelle Ferrier joined for a presentation of the new board’s plans for the organisation.

By Aasma Poudel

IAWRT Nepal held an interaction program at Utsah Learning Centre organized on the topic of women’s health with gynecologist Dr Sushila Baidhya on the 24th of March 2023. 

Dr. Baidhya shared how she started her career at a very young age with all of its ups and downs. She talked about pre-cancer stages in people, what to do and how to know about it. She also gave information on women’s menstrual health, personal hygiene and the pregnancy issues that may arise in women. She recommended that every woman, married or unmarried, should visit a gynecologist every single year to prevent health problems that may arise in the future. 

By Nankwanga Eunice Kasirye

IAWRT Uganda Chapter, in recognition of International Women’s Day 2023, joined other actors globally to proclaim solidarity with the year’s theme DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for gender equality.

Nankwanga Eunice Kasirye, the IAWRT Uganda Chapter Head, believes that seeking knowledge, skills and knowledge lifts up the women/ girls’ self-esteem which is a strong weapon against any form of abuse especially online harassment. With authority on subjects of discussion as well as digital skills, women have the ability to fully explore the advantages and opportunities that come with the evolving digital world.

She asserts that low self-esteem often brought about by societal structured and normalised abuse of women and girls often limits women’s and girls’ ability to effective and meaningful engagements with digital innovations.

Eunice calls upon fellow women to prioritize self-empowerment through the intentional choice of power surrender through what is allowed to dominate in your mind, brain, eyes and social circles.  Because that determines how we take advantage of the opportunities that come with the digital world spaces and beyond.

Rose Namale is the Treasurer IAWRT Uganda Chapter. She calls upon the government of Uganda to take an interest and ensure safety for women is guaranteed online. She says even when it is becoming increasingly impossible to avoid the use of digital spaces and gadgets, women’s safety keeps deteriorating with limited intervention from the government even when there are laws and policies in Uganda to protect users, especially women.

Fleria Nalwanga, a board member of IAWRT Uganda, encourages women to take advantage of their natural limitless abilities to conquer what it is one desire. Women should always be bold and stand up against all barriers and take victory in all spaces because power relies on it.

Irene Birungi, a board member of IAWRT Uganda Chapter, amplifies the call for inclusive and transformative technology and digital education as a prerequisite for a sustainable future. She affirms that more women in the technology spaces result in more creative solutions and greater potential for innovations that meet women’s needs and promote gender equality.

Uhirwa Anita, a member of IAWRT Uganda, asserts that technology and innovation have the power to transform the world where progress benefits everyone. She says working together to ensure that women and girls have equal access to technology, opportunities, and digital education and that the design and development of technology take into account the needs and perspectives of diverse communities is the power within and among women and everyone in their unique capacity.

Gloria Nakiyimba, a member of IAWRT Uganda Chapter, she challenges women to support each other to leap over all forms of progress barriers. Nakiyimba encourages women to desist from pulling down fellow women but fix each other’s Crown. A candle does not lose anything by lighting up another candle.  Together we stand!!

By Maria Solita J. Virtudazo

On March 8, 2023, on the historic 113th year of the International Women’s Day commemoration, the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) in partnership with Journalism and Media International Center of OsloMet University in Norway, and in collaboration with UNESCO Headquarters, gathered, via Zoom, 69 women-journalists, media workers, and academics across the globe to highlight their stories and honor their courage, heroism, and resilience.

The online discussion-solidarity meeting aptly titled, Women in Media: Overcoming Adversity Together, opened with an introductory message from IAWRT President Dr. Michelle Ferrier. Dr. Elisabeth Eide, journalist, writer, and professor of Journalism Studies at OsloMet University in Norway was the moderator.

Five principled and intrepid women journalists, namely, Najiba Ayubi (Afghanistan), Alina Radu (Moldova), Alyona Nevmerzhytska (Ukraine), Rhea Padilla (Philippines), and Fatuma Matulanga (Tanzania) lent their voices on behalf of their colleagues. Each of them shared how they and other women journalists in their respective countries bravely stood against and endured oppression, war, armed conflict, red-tagging, political persecution and incarceration, radicalization and extremism, online trolling, hate speech, physical and sexual assault, among other forms of abuse.

Najiba Ayubi is an Afghan multi-awarded journalist, and human rights and press freedom activist. She is a recipient of the 2013 Courage in Journalism Award from the International Women’s Media, and was named one of the 100 Information Heroes by Reporters without Borders (Reporters sans frontières) in 2014. She lamented how Islamic extremism has been oppressive and destructive to women journalists, and women, in general, since the Taliban returned to power. She cited thousands of Afghans who fled the country at all costs to preserve their life. Unfortunately, some lost their lives in an attempt to save it. One of whom is an asylum seeker and journalist Torpekai Amarkhel, who was onboard a fleeing boat that capsized near Italy. Ms. Ayubi is the head of IAWRT Afghanistan Chapter and is also in exile in the United States.

Another award-winning investigative journalist from Moldova and managing director of the country’s independent newspaper Zairul de Garda (The Guard Newspaper) is Alina Radu. She shared how women journalists in their country have been marginalized and isolated. Facebook (FB) or Metaverse is inaccessible in Moldova. Thus, she enjoined FB to be sympathetic to women journalists and provide them access to social media, which has been tightly controlled by the government. Ms. Radu currently heads IAWRT Moldova Chapter.

Prominent Ukrainian journalist Alyona Nevmerzhytska, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of media outfit hromadske, explained that while their culture is not particularly oppressive to women, however, things went on a downward spiral since the Russian invasion in February 2022. The incessant air strikes and attacks on the country’s major cities triggered the exodus of around 5 million Ukraine nationals, mostly women and children. Those who remain in the country have to endure extreme living conditions and the ravages of war.

The Philippines’ Rhea Padilla, former National Coordinator of the People’s Alternative Media Network (Altermidya) deplored the red-tagging, political persecution, intimidation, and even killing of women journalists and media personalities. She raised the case of Tacloban City-based journalist and IAWRT member Frenchie Mae Cumpio, who has been in jail for over three years now for trumped-up charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives, and terrorist financing. Ms. Cumpio was among the “Tacloban 5” human rights defenders who were raided and arrested at midnight of February 7, 2020. Her arrest and continued detention speak of insidious yet blatant attacks against journalists in the country, aimed at intimidating and silencing those who are critical in their reporting. Ms. Padilla then called on government authorities for the immediate release of Ms. Cumpio and colleagues.

Journalist Fatuma Matulanga is the CEO of Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation in Zanzibar and IAWRT Tanzania’s Chapter head. She shared how women in their country have been disproportionately represented in media. Most Media Studies graduates and professionals ended up as PR officers and spokespersons.  Women have been marginalized and paid less than their male counterparts, and are in dire need of training and retooling.        

Theresa Chorbacher of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Paris talked about the organization’s mandate to work on press freedom and its various legal, policy-making, and capability-building initiatives to promote the safety of women journalists worldwide, and address the issue of impunity. In 2022, UNESCO published “The Chilling”, a report of a three-year intensive study on online violence against women journalists in 15 countries, conducted by researchers from the US-based International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and the UK-based Centre for Freedom of the Media (CFOM). The report sheds light on the “evolving challenges faced by women journalists, identifies political actors as top perpetrators of online violence against women journalists using popular social media platforms, maps out the online-offline violence trajectory, and offers practical recommendations for intergovernmental organizations, States, Big Tech, the news industry, legal and judicial actors, and civil society”. Truly, the adversities faced by women journalists in and out of the newsroom may seem daunting and insurmountable. But we can overcome it if we unite and work together in this fight.

Non-government group SMART (Seeking Modern Applications for Real Transformation) invites everyone to the 5th Edition of The Radio Festival (TRF), a first-of-its-kind platform to celebrate sound. TRF brings together all three tiers of radio in India – public, private, and community radio – along with podcasters and others invested in the audio space. Former IAWRT Board member from India Archana Kapoor is the founder and director of SMART.

Titled ‘The Radio Fair: SDGs on the Air’, the 5th edition is being organized by SMART in partnership with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, GoI, Prasar Bharti, and UNESCO, with support of UNICEF, UNHCR, ONGC, and FNF. This year, SMART is also launching ‘The Active Citizenship Festival’ – a unique experiential event for the youth.

TRF is celebrated every year to mark World Radio Day in February and has had 4 successful editions. Onaccount of the spread of Omicron earlier this year, this year it is being organised to coincide with National Broadcasting Day.

Along with opportunities for invigorating conversations with multi-stakeholders, this edition also offers a range of games and simulations, workshops and panel discussions, that aim to increase civic participation, strengthen ownership of SDGs and build sustainable partnerships. 

July 25, 2022 @10 am, at the India International Centre, Max Mueller Marg, New Delhi, to celebrate National Broadcasting Day

Soulful Sufi music performance by Bilal Chishty of Coke Studio fame @6 pm.

By Afrah Shafiq

July 10, 2022

Since early 2020, I had been working on a research project as part of a field research fellowship with the Garage Institute of Contemporary Arts in Moscow, around Soviet Children’s Literature that was popular in India during the Cold War years. Apart from researching the contexts within which this cultural exchange took place, I had also been archiving some of these beautifully illustrated children’s books that were in circulation through a sub culture of collectors.

Using the materials and insights from my research, I wanted to make an interactive quest game that both allows the viewer to navigate through and enjoy this wealth of material, but also look at it through a newer lens.

I began to sift through my research material, marking out themes, characters, moments in history, testimonies, aesthetic and political movements and so on that I wanted to include in my work. I also knew I wanted to write in a fiction story that would bring these themes together in a seamless and engaging way. After months of working on this alone, and beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed by the amount of material I had, I managed to get some support and structure through a writing mentorship program called ‘Narrative Shift’ with the graphic novelist Amruta Patil where I wrote the first draft for my script.

However, draft 1 was like any first draft – just a blueprint and a necessary first step. It wasn’t something I could translate into a finished work, as it was too textual and didn’t have any structure and form. It was at this stage that I enrolled for the IAWRT mentorship program where I requested for the mentorship of either one of two members (Alka Hingorani/Nina Sabnani) who I believed would be valuable advisors on a project like this. Amazingly, despite having extremely busy and demanding professional lives, both Alka and Nina agreed to come on board as mentors and we decided to break down the sessions into two phases. The first phase would be with Alka, where she would help me strengthen the script, story and conceptual approach, and the second phase would be with Nina where the focus of the mentorship would be more on the animation and visual treatment.

Once Alka read through my existing first draft, I had a series of one on one sessions with her on zoom, between which she also reviewed a newer version of the script. My sessions with her were simply superb! Her knowledge of the different traditions of storytelling, her analogies from films to oral forms and her responses to my various half-baked ideas really helped me develop links and flesh out what my story would look and feel like. At the end of these sessions I felt ready to start translating my script into a tangible form.

At this stage I worked on a visual road map for the story ahead and a few directions of treatment for the animation and design. Luckily, Nina happened to be visiting my city at the time and we managed to have a long marathon session in person where I could take her through the script and the story material. Nina nudged me to think about why I was calling my work a “game” and what that meant, encouraged me use the strength of the archival material I had gathered, helped me find the most perfect animator to work along with me on the project as well as warned me about the unrealistic production plan I had drawn out.

I am now exactly half way done with my production, I am enjoying the way it is coming together and I know it would certainly not look and flow the way it does without the mentorship of both Alka and Nina so I am very very grateful for having the chance to learn from them. #

Afrah Shafiq is a member of the IAWRT India Chapter

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 https://www.un.org/en/chronicle/article/womenin-shadow-climate-

“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.