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MEGEIN calls for more women representation in news stories, tasked journalists to uphold codes of the profession

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A communication scholar with the Faculty of Social Sciences, Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu, Dr. Alexander Chima Onyebuchi, has expressed concern about the poor representation of women in news stories.

Dr. Onyebuchi therefore reiterates the need to reinforce the knowledge base of media practitioners to project women in the like manner they report men in order to bridge the yawning gap of inequality between men and women in media coverage.

This without doubt will go to a large extent in achieving the sustainable development goal No.5 (Gender Equality) and create enabling environment for the sustainability of other national development programmes.

Dr. Onyebuchi stated this at a 2 day workshop for media professionals in Enugu with the theme: “Gender Implication of news output: reinforcing the knowledge base of media practitioners” held in collaboration with World Association for Christian Communication (WACC).

Findings by Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) on March 4, 2021shows that women constitute 14% of news subject in all the 460 news stories coded.

This implies that media practitioners do give more attention to male subjects in news as against their female counterparts in the same level and social status.

It is against this backdrop that Dr. Onyebuchi, who is the Project Manager, Media & Gender Enlightenment Initiative (MEGEIN), a non governmental organization, argues that under usage of women as news sources in news content seems to have contributed greatly to the level of gender inequality in the society.

He expresses regret that women have not been given sufficient voice to help drive the social economic cum political development of the nation, despite constituting about 60% of the population in the country.

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“Even though there are pockets of complaints from journalists that women have declined being news sources in stories they have sufficient knowledge of or are victims (WACC & MEGEIN 2018-2019 report), these complaints are not sufficient in explaining why women are only 14% subjects of news stories,” he argued.

Dr. Onyebuchi explains that findings of Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) carried out over the years have persistently revealed the poor presence of women, including the silencing of their voices in mainstream and social media.

He calls on journalists to go beyond the normal breaking of news about women, but attempt to followup stories to the end.

The communication scholar notes that the workshop is apt to reinforce the knowledge base of media practitioners in southeast, Nigeria, regarding the gender implications of news output.

He emphasizes that the expectation of MEGEIN is that after the excercise, news stories in Nigeria would begin to represent and portray women in the same manner that they represent the male folk for fairness, balance and equity.

He equally states that the essence of the workshop is to ensure that journalists are made to acquire the needed knowledge of how to make women the sources of news stories through encouragement and subtle persuasion.

It is also expected that the conference would help make Nigeria a centre piece for effective representation of women in the media in Africa.

He appeals to journalists to always uphold the code of the profession, which includes, balance & fairness, accuracy, attribution/sources, protection of minors and avoid use of gory pictures.

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The media engagement attracted journalists in both online, print and broadcast stations in Enugu State, including the Spiritual Director, Okunerere Adoration Ministry, Nsukka, Associate Professor Paul Martins Obayi.

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