A Tribute from IAWRT President Dr. Michelle Ferrier

Dr. Nancy Katu-Ogundimu departed this life on 24 August 2023. May she Rest in Power. She is the founding president of the Anticipating IAWRT-Nigeria chapter, established in July 2023 by the International Association of Women in Radio and Television-International.

Video Tribute: Baroness PRTV Network

I am devastated, my universe torn with the dying of the light that was Dr. Nancy Katu-Ogundimu, incoming Nigeria Chapter president of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television. A rare flower that bloomed in adversity, Nancy passed away on 24 August 2023, and in her final days completed the registration application for a new Nigeria chapter of women journalists in the IAWRT – International Association of Women in Radio and Television

I am honored and privileged to call Nancy my sister, intellectual colleague and spiritual warrior. In the 10 years we worked together, Nancy was my graduate assistant at Ohio University as she completed her Ph.D. in media development. After completing her degree at Ohio University, she became my research associate at the Media Innovation Collaboratory assisting with digital safety and gender-based violence research with TrollBusters: Fighting cyberbullying with love helping to fight online harassment. Dr. Nancy most recently worked with me this spring as a lead educator on the Ethiopia Media Innovation Accelerator program, helping to create the independent media sector across Ethiopia, while simultaneously building parallel structures in Nigeria for women media workers through the development of a new IAWRT chapter. 

Great leaders make space for others to shine and grow. With her quiet, steely resolve, she held the highest powers of the Nigerian government to account, to serve and care for the citizens. Her great heart held her nation in love and care. Dr. Nancy will be missed across Nigeria. As a leader and educator in Nigeria, Dr. Nancy worked as a coalition builder as chair of the journalism program at University of Jos in Nigeria and at Plateau State University, leading a new generation of independent journalists. Dr. Nancy worked with her husband, Dr. Dayo Ogundimu and our own Mirabel Irobinda of Nigeria to recruit 32 powerful women media leaders across Nigeria to our mission – holding power to account for gender-based violence against women and elevating the voices and stories of women and girls in Nigeria and the world. The Anticipating IAWRT Nigeria chapter presented their charter and mission to the IAWRT International Board for approval in July 2023. Formal registration as a nongovernmental organization was the final step in creating our new Nigeria chapter. With Nancy’s leadership and guidance, and the aid of her husband Dr. Adedayo Ogundimu, completed the task and was elected to become the incoming president of our new Nigeria chapter. 

Dr. Nancy completed her mission. Now we must take up the leadership mantle and continue the work laid out by Nancy and the Anticipating IAWRT Nigeria chapter leaders. To ensure Dr. Nancy’s legacy and the continuation of her work, we have initiated the following plans with IAWRT-International:

The Dr. Nancy Katu-Ogundimu Leadership Seed Fund

With a $1,000 initial gift from Dr. Michelle Ferrier, the Dr. Nancy Katu-Ogundimu Leadership Seed Fund will provide financial assistance in establishing new chapters in the International Association of Women in Radio and Television-International. This matching fund will provide membership fee support, registration and licensing fees, and online meeting coordination/support to help women media leaders establish new chapters around the globe. The fund can be used to support reduced membership fees for the first year for new members and provide partial support for other organizational needs in the creation of new chapters.

Honorary Member Dr. Adedayo Ogundimu on behalf of Dr. Nancy Katu-Ogundimu

I have invited Dr. Adedayo Ogundimu to step in as an honorary member of IAWRT-International, to assist the Anticipating IAWRT Nigeria chapter in formalizing its organization. Dr. Dayo has graciously accepted to take up the work he was conducting with Nancy on behalf of IAWRT and to continue her legacy. Dr. Dayo, we grieve deeply with you and your family. We are honored to continue our partnership with you in Dr. Nancy’s memory.

Gravesite Garden on behalf of Dr. Nancy Katu-Ogundimu

On behalf of IAWRT International and me, I will be working with Dr. Nancy’s family to plant a garden of white roses around Nancy’s gravesite, ensuring that Nancy will be remembered with purity of spirit, beauty of the heart and the healing scent of the heavens. The seeds she has planted will forever bloom over her.

My heartfelt thanks to the Anticipating IAWRT Nigeria members who honored Dr. Nancy’s work after her demise and throughout her homegoing services. From Joy Edmund, secretary of Anticipating IAWRT Nigeria, “On behalf of the Anticipating IAWRT Nigeria, I thank our members in the northern part of Nigeria for representing IAWRT Nigeria at the service of songs in honor of late Dr. Nancy Ogundimu. We appreciate your efforts and ask God to bless you for being there for all of us. Thank you.” 

I —we—have lost a supernova, who shined bright and fast and furious, uniting all with compassion, humility, and a heart of love. I have lost a sister. And half of my heart. And we have lost a queen. Rest in Power my sister, my Nancy. May your awesome light penetrate dark spaces and bring hope and courage to us to carry forward and encourage our mighty fellowship forward.💜 Look to the skies and hold fast to the light. Love you deepest my sister, my heart.

“Nancy goes home. No more pain…no more sorrow. Rest on, the “All Seasons Gardener.” – Jummai-Isandu Madak, Jos, Nigeria.

Dr. Michelle Ferrier

President, International Association of Women in Radio and Television

In commemoration of the 2023 International Day of Democracy under the global theme An Era of Democratic Unrest’, IAWRT Uganda has customised its local theme on; ‘Mobilising Media solidarity for women and girls trapped in oppression’. 

Inspired by this theme, IAWRT Uganda is mobilising an activity involving a cross-section of women in the media and beyond to participate in an online panel discussion in solidarity with women and girls trapped in oppressive oppression. This will be held on September 16, 3 pm Eastern Africa time. Speakers include:

  • Lady Ann Salem, Philippines
  • Nupur Basu, India
  • Awaz Lahn, Iraq
  • Yvonn Tshepang Mooka, Botswana
  • Omayma Elmard, Sudan
  • Becky Bissong, Cameroon
  • Claudia Anthony, Sierra Leone

IAWRT Uganda observes that gender equality and the rights of women are being frustrated in the face of Democratic Unrest. According to the Georgetown University Women Peace and Security Index, the implementation of laws on gender equality has slowed down in recent years. At the same time, violence against women has increased, including in politics. 

It is a fact that women’s rights and democracy go hand in hand. Women’s participation in social movements cannot be ignored yet when they centrally take stage, chances of success are so high with recent examples of women playing a major role in opposing authoritarian regimes and military coups in Myanmar, Sudan and numerous other countries for decades. 

Understanding the link between democratic decline and opposition to gender equality is important for those who support democracy and gender equality. The debate on the deterioration of democracy must not be gender-blind. The question could also be, what happens to democracy when gender equality declines? 

 Media has a very big role to play in a democracy as the fourth pillar of democracy, the fourth estate and its stature is in no way less than that of politicians. Through the media’s power to shape and influence public opinions and mobilise solidarity for a cause, we are optimistic about drawing global attention to the women and girls trapped in oppression. 

IAWRT Uganda is therefore leveraging the power that comes with collective diverse voices for a common cause to use the women in the media and beyond to amplify voices of /about the plight of women trapped in oppression. 

Bio of speakers:

The Court of Appeals of the Philippines ruled to dismiss the motion for reconsideration filed by the government’s lawyers in their bid to reverse the dismissal of charges against journalist and IAWRT communication officer Lady Ann Salem.

After Salem was released from jail in March 2021, the government through the Office of the Solicitor General, then under former president Rodrigo Duterte, sought the reversal of the dismissal of the charges by the trial court that set Salem free. The case was pending for two years until the Court of Appeals dismissed it in January this year. But the government’s lawyers, under the new administration of Ferdinand Marcos Jr, filed a motion for reconsideration. Salem has been hounded by this case ever since she was released from jail and this also affected her safety and security.

Meanwhile, similar fabricated charges stemming from police raids and arrests against other IAWRT members and Philippine journalists Frenchie Mae Cumpio and Anne Krueger are still pending in court. IAWRT calls for all these fabricated charges to be dropped and for the release of Cumpio, who has been in jail since February 2020.

IAWRT Nepal holds the 4th Short Film Competition.

The deadline for entries is on September 15, 2023.

Radhika Khanna, a member of IAWRT India, has developed an online course on digital photography taught comprehensively through a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Photojournalism. She intends to reach out to many learners globally, especially women, with engaging and enriching content.

There are no prerequisites or qualifications required. Learners of any age, young, working or retired, can join for free from anywhere in the world.

The MOOC on Photojournalism is live with its third run on swayam.gov.in.

In April 2023, this course received the Best MOOCs Award in India’s 24th CEC-UGC Educational Film Festival.

The course features both eminent and young Indian photographers, photo historians and curators, including Avani Rai, Avinash Pasricha, Desikan Krishnan, Dinesh Krishnan, Gopinath Sricandane, Gurinder Osan, Madhuraj, late Navroze Contractor, Nimit Nigam, Poochi Venkat, Prashant Panjiar, Raghu Rai, Prof. Sabeena Gadihoke, Sanjay Prasad Ganguly, Saravanan Janakarajan, Saumya Khandelwal, Selvaprakash Lakshmanan, Shantanu Krishnan, SR Raghunathan, Tanvi Mishra and Vicky Roy.

Available on the government of India’s free e-learning portal, SWAYAM, it is a free online course organised by Pondicherry University, India, where Radhika teaches. The course is a great way for photography enthusiasts to stay in touch with their craft and absorb insights from the masters.

The course preview link has a short introductory video and information on the course content.

To join, click on: https://onlinecourses.swayam2.ac.in/cec23_ge21/preview

An in-depth review of this course by one of the learners, Prof. Ved Kumari, Vice Chancellor of National Law University Odisha, India, has been published in Class Central’s The Report publication.

The full review can be found here: https://www.classcentral.com/report/review-photojournalism-free-course-swayam/

You can take a look at some other reviews here: https://www.classcentral.com/course/swayam-photojournalism-93318

The course started on July 31 and ends on November 24 this year. Enrolment ends on September 15, 2023.

By Santoshi Paudyal

IAWRT Nepal organized an orientation program titled IAWRT: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow on 16th June 2023 at Kalanki, Kathmandu.

Past President Anupa Shrestha, current president Ichchha Gurung and IAWRT International secretary Mandira Raut briefed about the aforementioned topic.

This program was all about targeting the new IAWRT Nepal members and interacting with every member’s responsibility for IAWRT Nepal’s progress and betterment.

Past President Anupa Shrestha briefed about the role and space of women in media and the introduction of the necessity of IAWRT as an organization. IAWRT International Secretary Mandira Raut explained the roles and responsibilities of IAWRT Nepal members. Ichchha Gurung, the current President, highlighted how IAWRT can help the members with the best practice methodology to further our work in the area of freedom of speech and gender equality in the media.

by IAWRT Kenya

The African Media Convention (AMC) which first took place in Arusha, Tanzania in 2022 is now an annual event celebrated by journalists, civil societies, international partners, and other stakeholders from across Africa. The event is planned to coincide with World Press Freedom Day on May 3rd of every year. This year’s event was held in Lusaka, Zambia, from 11-13 May 2023.

IAWRT Kenya chapter head and international board treasurer Josephine Karani spoke at the event on the safety of women journalists. She expressed concerns about digital safety and security in journalism and especially during the election period.

“Safety of women journalists is a growing concern by the day. Freedom of expression is elusive, the messenger is endangered more than ever before. Every election year exposes journalists to danger from the public, politicians, and the government of the day. The messenger has turned to the hunted.”

Josephine Karani, IAWRT Kenya chapter head and IAWRT International Treasurer

During the three-day discussions, media stakeholders expressed deep concern about continued violations against freedom of the press, access to information, and the safety of journalists, despite thirty (30) years since the UN General Assembly proclaimed May 3rd as World Press Freedom Day and 75 years since the declaration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Recalling the important role of media, the Zambian Minister of Information and Media and Chief Government Spokesperson Hon. Chushi Kasand called on the African media to provide accurate and factual information underlining “this is what will empower you to participate in the affairs of your countries and the continent at large.”

Through its communication policies, strategies and practices, the African Union supports journalists’ rights to seek, receive and impart information. It recognizes that media plays a key role in ensuring full respect of freedom of expression, in promoting the free flow of information and ideas, in assisting people to make informed decisions and in facilitating and strengthening democracy.”

Ms Wynne Musabayana, Head of Communications, Information and Communications Directorate, African Union Commission

To address these challenges, participants recommended enhanced collaboration between the African media, African Union Member States, UNESCO, internet intermediaries, and other media development partners, to mitigate the effects of violations against journalists and media workers as well as the viability of the media sector in Africa.

The role of the media within the communication and ICT sector and the growing support from media partners for Agenda 2063 has already been acknowledged by the AU-Specialised Technical Committee on Communication and Information Communications Technology. There is a call to further build the capacity of African media practitioners and the industry at large, in partnership with media development partners and Tech companies.

In her closing remarks, Dr. Rita Bissonauth, Director of UNESCO Liaison to AU and UNECA applauded the Government of Zambia and the organisers for successfully hosting the 2nd AMC.

“The discussions on important issues contributing to enhanced freedoms for the offline and online media in Africa, coupled with the challenges and opportunities identified, will be a reference for our work and future interventions in promoting further an enabling media environment on the African continent.”

Dr. Rita Bissonauth, the Director of UNESCO Liaison to AU and UNECA

The 2nd AMC was largely funded by UNESCO through its Multi donor Programme for freedom of expression and the safety of journalists and its regular programme.  

IAWRT has been included in the AMC Steering Committee to be planning and preparing for the annual event, among eight other organisations.

The 3rd AMC will take place in Accra, Ghana in May 2024.

Three members of IAWRT Kenya were recognized at the Annual Journalism Excellence Awards (AJEA) 2023. Lourdes Walusala won Gender Reporting at Best Production in radio. Ruth Keah won Podcast of the Year. Mercy Tyra won awards in the radio and digital formats.

Pamela Sittoni received the Lifetime Achievement Award. She has been one of IAWRT Kenya’s mentors and regular speaker to our mentees on editorial matters. 

One of IAWRT Kenya’s mentees in the last cohort, Hiback Mohammed, won for her report ‘ICT & Innovation reporting’ in the television category.

The AJEA is Kenya’s prestigious journalism awards, given since 2012 for print, broadcast, and now digital journalism, handed out by the Media Council of Kenya (MCK). The MCK is a statutory and self-regulatory body established through the Media Council Act 2013 to regulate and enhance the journalism profession and protect media freedom in Kenya.

The MCK said AJEA has consistently demonstrated its commitment to shining light on critical issues that shape Kenyan society and the media landscape. Through the Awards, the media has helped inform and trigger debates, nurture dialogue, and advance understanding of the defining challenges of current times.

Read below IAWRT Kenya’s interview with AJEA winner Mercy Tyra:

Q: Congratulations on your recognition at the AJEA 2023 for your outstanding contributions to journalism! How does it feel?

A: It is an honor. I am grateful to God and to all those who trusted me with their stories

Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in journalism, and how will this award influence your work?

A: My grandmother (May her soul rest in peace) was the inspiration behind my career. Being the teacher that she was, She would come with pied crow magazines and would tell me to imitate the late Catherine Kasavuli reading the news. Slowly by slowly, I gained courage and started a journalism club in my high school where I would be sent to drama festivals and games to compile results and report during assembly. My mother (a high school principal) held my hand and gave me an opportunity to choose any college of my choice that I thought I would get the best journalism skills at that time. I did, and the rest is history. I intend to use this award as a motivation to the upcoming journalists by training them on how to pitch award-winning stories.

Q: Could you tell us about the story that earned you this award? What was the inspiration behind it?

A: The title was, ”How livestock insurance saved a soul” – This Feature story educates the public on the importance of Livestock insurance especially to farmers from arid and semi-arid areas where climate change is a major challenge. Wangwe, a livestock farmer is among those who could not survive the shock of losing his 4 expectant cows had he not insured at least one. Due to the loss he had incurred, he was compensated by an insurance company and was able to bounce back to his feet.

The inspiration behind this story was the fact that most farmers do not know that they can ensure their livestock and get compensated in case of any loss hence leading to depression. The desire to educate this group of people was a major inspiration.

Another inspiration was the fact that my mother is a high school business teacher. I wanted to prove the fact that all her efforts in ensuring that I got it right in business reporting did not go in vain. I dedicate this business category award to her.

Q: What challenges did you face while doing the story?

A: Language barrier and harsh climate conditions

Q: What unique challenges do you think to affect women journalists from achieving their best? Fear of the unknown

A: Lack of opportunities and support from their media houses

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring journalists who are looking to excel in the field? Integrity, discipline, and hard work is key to climbing the ladder.

By Sheila Dallas-Katzman

I enjoyed watching the movie and thought it provided a vivid depiction of the challenges that journalists face while reporting in an unstable and post-conflict region

Christabel Unobe

The captioned statement above, speaks volumes for the general feedback of what people were saying after the screening and panel discussion at NGO CSW in New York.

NGO CSW – Committee on the Status of Women, NY (or NGO CSW/NY) is a convener of global civil society for the annual UN Commission on the Status of Women or CSW, and for global gender equality advocacy. On May 16, 2023, the NGO CSW organized a live screening of IAWRT’s acclaimed film Velvet Revolution at the UN Church Center in New York.  Ninety people attended in person. The projection was followed by a virtual panel of experts, directly or indirectly involved in producing the documentary. The discussion was not only about the production of the film but also about the concept of these IAWRT feature documentaries.  

It was the NGO CSW’s premier face-to-face event after three years because of COVID-19 and was designed primarily for attendance by NGOs in the United States.

Six IAWRT women filmmakers from various nations worked together to create this honorable video. In a globe characterized by violence and authoritarian governments, these filmmakers “point their lens to women who provide information,” as NGO CSW put it. Through this documentary, women whose stories would not have otherwise been heard on a global scale may be seen and heard. Velvet Revolution did that with its numerous international screenings at many international film festivals. This question was posed by NGO CSW: “When journalists are constantly under threat, what drives these women to do their jobs?” Our IAWRT virtual international panelists convened to answer the question.

Nupur Basu, Velvet Revolution Executive Producer spoke about how she stitched the six different pieces together to execute the central theme. This format eliminates the carbon footprints that would include trekking from one continent or country to another to shoot. The way IAWRT produced this allowed local producers to tell their local stories. Our other panelists were: Olivia Tumanjong, journalist, Cameroon; Lady Ann Salem, journalist, Philippines; and Najiba Ayuubi, journalist exiled in the US from Afghanistan during the US abrupt withdrawal from that country.  IAWRT USA president Sheila Dallas-Katzman moderated.

Most of the audience was previously unfamiliar with the stories reflected in the documentary. IAWRT was one of perhaps only two major journalist organizations at NGO CSW. This film made the negative reaction of certain governments very clear.

This was a memorable occasion for those who attended, and it raised the profile and prestige of IAWRT in the context of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Thanks to Pamela Morgan for bringing the documentary to NGO CSW.

By Cyril Dayao

Digital Safe House and Collaboration Platform for Women Journalists in the Philippines

TACLOBAN, Philippines – Filipino journalists have expressed their solidarity and demands for the release of detained community radio broadcaster Frenchie Mae Cumpio, who has been incarcerated over trumped-up charges for the past three years.

Among those who organized the event are officers and members of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television, IAWRT – Philippines, and the AlterMidya – People’s Alternative Media Network. They include IAWRT’s international vice president Jola Diones Mamangun and IAWRT Philippines’ chapter head Lynda Catindig-Garcia.

The group of Filipino journalists was supposed to visit Cumpio in jail but their requests were turned down by concerned government offices, citing pandemic restrictions.

Still, they met with Cumpio’s mother who expressed her gratitude to the various media organizations who have reached out in solidarity to their family and have brought the injustices committed against her daughter to the world’s attention.

They have also met with Tacloban-based journalists who have expressed their solidarity with Cumpio’s plight. Campus journalists who were also present said Cumpio’s brand of journalism has inspired them to follow the path that the detained journalist has paved for them.

“Women journalists have been subjected to relentless attacks, particularly gendered disinformation and online harassment that attempt to discredit them and their critical reportage of issues affecting marginalized communities. Others have been charged with trumped up charges, including one of our colleagues, Frenchie Mae Cumpio, who continues to be detained for more than three years,” said IAWRT Philippines in a statement last May 3, World Press Freedom Day.

AlterMidya, for its part, said the struggle to keep the country’s press genuinely free persists as Cumpio remains in detention.

Cumpio has been in detention for more than three years after being arrested over trumped-up charges in February 2020. Her arrest came at the heels of relentless red-tagging against her over her critical reportage on the continuing plight of Typhoon Haiyan survivors and the impacts of militarization in the poor communities of Eastern Visayas.

Altermidya said, “with every day that Frenchie Mae and independent journalists are deprived of their freedom, burdened by fabricated charges, and silenced by unjust blocking orders– and we Filipinos are deprived of the full realization of our right to expression — it becomes ever more clear that we as a people must continue to fight for press freedom and assert our most fundamental rights.”

IAWRT Philippines Chapter released the online statement and petition to release Frenchie Mae Cumpio on World Press Freedom Day –  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScp_3l0C9kayD-3aSvY6W3RYnChAT6rx96I5PD2I66dVESSQQ/viewform ###