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  • Nigel Akuani 

Journalists unite for 'Women in Journalism'

Port Moresby: On behalf of all female folk around the country engaged in the challenging field of Journalism, brave female journalists came together to show their solidarity for the cause as they pushed for recognition of the crucial role they play in society.

The four Journalists went for the Chat Room’s 5th session on Wednesday 30th June 2021, to discuss the topic of ‘Women in Journalism’. Their conversation highlighted essential issues that focused on gender equality, pros and cons of being a female journalist in Papua New Guinea, impact of women in journalism and across many other fields, importance of Code of Ethics, the need for an Association of Women Journalists, and a call of encouragement to young aspiring individuals hoping to make a difference in society.

Social Communications Officer with the Catholic Bishops Conference (CBCPNGSI), Ms Abigail Seta, reminded audiences of what journalism meant and stressed that its main purpose was to inspire and bring into effect long-term social change. “In the past female journalists would use pseudo names to conceal and protect their identity due to their fear of being criticized or harassed. But today we are presented with the opportunity to be the voice and fair representation of women in a male dominated society and industry,” she said.

Jessica Oata, Journalist of CBCPNGSI, expressed her admiration for women journalists who were passionate in their jobs and how they pushed the boundaries of what women were earlier deemed capable of doing. “Women play a key role in society, however, many times their voices go unheard. We are their representatives because a lot of women find it easier to express themselves openly on social issues compared to with male journalists,” she said.

She spoke of how Culture had a significant impact in a person’s perception as they grew older and called for parents to teach good Christian Values that respected the dignity of every person no matter their gender. “Culture plays an important role in how we perceive women. It starts with families, which are the root cause, and respecting people despite gender has to be taught from a young age to be able to treat others as their equal. Both genders have something to bring to the table,” she added.

Media Officer with CBCPNGSI, Isabella Saleu, stated the challenges that currently hindered development for the country especially in the notion of Gender Equality and Empowerment. “Funding and equity are but some of the many challenges being faced by the country that prevent women and girls from being recognized and treated fairly. This is mainly because of the patrilineal societal structure we have where men are dominant in every aspect of social life, and the lack of support we get from them when we try to push for an agenda,” she stated.

Tamal Watt, Presenter-Producer of Tribe92 FM, urged for more effort and resources to be used in empowering women in journalism and emphasized the need for an introduction of Refresher Courses and Training. “There has to be more Technical training because most women journalists are now into reporting, and there also has to be an established platform for them to come together and voice and advise young women and share their experiences. The Government of the day has to help and support Universities and Schools that are teaching journalism as a course or subject,” she said.

The group ended their discussion with a resounding call for young people who aspire to become journalists to invest time into reading and research on issues that sparked their interest.

Chat Room’s sixth session on 7th July 2021, will have students from Don Bosco Technical Secondary School talk through the issue, ‘Graduating but Not Being Able to Work’.

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