IAWRT statement on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day 2023
3 MAY 2023
Women in the media continue to face concerted and ongoing attacks against professionals, such as trolling, extra-legal threats, legal harassment, imprisonment, and killings, among others, designed to silence the messenger. Our work is made more difficult today with heightened gendered online harassment, oppressive regimes, war, and climate change, as we continue to strive for gender equality in the media and the world.
WHEREAS, the International Association of Women in Radio & Television (IAWRT), founded in 1951, has grown a global network of media leaders in digital, broadcast, film and radio, representing more than 400 members in 55 countries and 16 chapters;
WHEREAS, IAWRT members are professional communicators or researchers in media and communications, who amplify the urgent global challenges faced by women in and around the media;
WHEREAS, IAWRT is committed to the enhancement of women’s role and participation in media, as gender equality cannot be achieved without gender parity in media and communication;
WHEREAS, IAWRT believes in using the power of the media to shape public perception and challenge gender stereotypes;
WHEREAS, IAWRT members lead at all levels of media within their countries and around the globe, influencing and directing international policy on media representations, gender parity and a vibrant, free press;
On this 3rd day of May in the year 2023, which is World Press Freedom Day, we at the International Association of Women in Radio and Television do hereby acknowledge the unique and intersectional challenges of women journalists and media workers around the globe:
- Our Afghanistan chapter members are in exile and in limbo, professionally sidelined from doing their work. Women in general across Afghanistan and in the media, in particular, experience vanishing roles and threats to safety and survival across the country.
- Our Philippines chapter continues to battle legal attacks and imprisonment of members on trumped-up charges, such as the three-year detention of Frenchie Mae Cumpio in Tacloban.
- Our members in conflict zones battle attacks in real life and online, risking all to share stories of human rights abuses. Conflict between neighboring countries and civil strife have put journalists in danger as they do their work.
We affirm and acknowledge our professional rights and responsibilities:
- To foster an inclusive, diverse news and information ecosystem;
- To provide platforms and pathways for women’s stories and rights to be shared;
- To create avenues for women to be informed and engaged regarding women’s full and equal participation in our media houses and throughout journalism processes; and
- To encourage gender-affirming initiatives underway around the globe that have elevated women and women journalists to powerful roles in shaping public discourse, amplifying women’s voices – and change.
- To provide support to women journalists and media workers across the world facing threats to their work and safety.
On this World Press Freedom Day, we honor the sacrifices of all of our members and the work of our colleagues and sisters in creating a more just, and informed citizenry and in fostering global networks of women media professionals committed to gender parity and human rights.
Dr. Michelle Ferrier
President, International Association of Women in Radio and Television-International
Dr. Anjali Monteiro