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Monitoring and Sensitizing the Print Media on the Portrayal of Women in the Press

Networking & Advocacy > Monitoring and Sensitizing the Print Media on the Portrayal of Women in the Press

Consultative Workshops for Media Persons

In all five workshops were held, one each in Karachi, (May 8, 2002) Quetta (June 11, 2001), Peshawar (June 19, 2001), Islamabad (10 September 2001) Lahore, (June 25, 2001). The workshops were a forum in which to discuss the role of the print media in covering women’s issues. The workshops were attended by media persons including editors, bureau chiefs, reporters, desk persons, and staff and in Quetta, by students of the Mass Communication Department of Baluchistan University. The workshops results were compiled in the publication "Changing Images”.

In each workshop, the gender of the participants was reflective of the gender representation of media persons in that city. In Peshawar, for example, only two women reporters were present (and 29 male reporters). In Quetta there was only one female reporter present; in Lahore, there were only two. In Karachi, nine women and NGO representatives participated, and in Islamabad women and men participated in equal numbers. Many of the people invited by Uks did not attend the workshops. Uks therefore plans to approach them directly and conduct training sessions at newspaper and magazine offices. Many of the problems identified in the workshops are common to all newspapers across the country, although some regional situations are unique. This combination of commonality and uniqueness is reflected in the discussions.

Each workshop began with an introduction by Ms. Ahmar, Director Uks, and was followed by a discussion about the portrayal of women in the English and Urdu language presses. Participants then explored either the Urdu or the English medium press, in small groups. Issues pertaining to the national and regional press were also discussed.

The debates and the discussions were based on the following questions:

  • How effectively has the print media been able to educate people and to elicit the attitudinal changes necessary to facilitate the process of development, especially of women?
  • How often does the press try to raise public awareness and generate debate on women’s issues and is this effort part of a deliberate policy
  • Has the press helped to create awareness among its readers that women’s rights are human rights?
  • What has been the role of the press in trying to eliminate discrimination against women?