Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Gender for Journalists - A Toolkit by CPU

Trish Williams
Media & Gender Consultant, UK

Traditionally, women and men have been, and in many instances still are, portrayed by the media according to stereotyped expectations and interpretations of their roles in society. In patriarchal countries, particularly in the developing world, this just reinforces the belief that women are not capable of playing a full role in society, in both public arenas and the private space of the home. The twentieth century saw many initiatives by the international community aimed at raising awareness of the inferior position that women have in society and the action that must be taken in order to redress the situation. The Fourth World Conference on women, held in Beijing in 1996, was the most important of these initiatives and set the agenda for women's future empowerment.
As a journalist, for fifteen years I was a senior current affairs producer with the BBC World Service, I was one of the hundreds of media representatives to attend this seminal conference in Beijing. It proved to be a turning point in my own career.
On my return flight to London, I read the recommendations contained in the Platform for Action. I was particularly interested in the section about the role of the media in bringing about change for women. We know that as journalists we play an important part in defining what people think and what their place is in society. I realised that if fully briefed about gender issues and gender sensitive reporting, journalists would be able to present a clearer and more accurate picture of the contribution that both women and men make to the development and prosperity of their societies.
With funding from Britain's Department for International Development (DFID), I developed a 'Media Gender Strategy' for sensitising the print and broadcast media and designed gender training materials and courses. Since then, in my new role as a Media and Gender Consultant, I have conducted gender sensitisation workshops and seminars in Africa, the Caribbean, South and South East Asia and the Middle East.
This 'Gender for Journalists' toolkit is based on those training workshops. It is designed to make you aware of the areas where women are disadvantaged and the role that men can play in bringing about change. I also give guidance on information sources and websites that you can turn to and have attempted to credit the sources I have used. However if I have missed any please accept my apologies.
I would like to thank the Commonwealth Press Union, the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association and the Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development for their support.

Note for Samoan Journalists
Please find the toolkit at this link:
For more information Please visit:

Few Graduate From U.N. Programme for the Poorest

Thalif Deen

UNITED NATIONS, Sep 14 (IPS) - When the United Nations decided in 1971 to create the concept of "least developed countries" (LDCs) -- a new category of member states needing special social and economic assistance from the international community -- they were described as the "poorest of the world's poor".
But since then, the number of LDCs has virtually doubled to 50 -- the last two countries being Senegal (in 2001) and East Timor (in 2003) -- signifying the deterioriating economic conditions, specifically in the developing world.
Asked if this was symbolic of the failure of the United Nations and the international community towards LDCs, U.N. Under-Secretary-General for LDCs Anwarul Karim Chowdhury told IPS: "The doubling of the number of LDCs since the category was created in 1971 is a reality of the global economic and social situation."
On the other hand, he argued, it must be recognised that the international community, particularly the U.N. system, has given special attention to the LDCs as never before. Chowdhury pointed out that "development is a long process and it takes time to show results".
"We should also recognise that quite a few countries have been identified by the General Assembly, as well as recommended by the U.N. Committee for Development Policy (CDP) in recent years, for graduation from the list of LDCs, (signifying economic improvement)," he added.
The first one to graduate from LDC status was Botswana in 1994, while two other LDCs, Cape Verde and Maldives, have been recommended by the CDP to "graduate" soon primarily because of "the durable and undisputed socio-economic progress" made by the two countries. A third country, Samoa, is also a potential candidate for graduation.
Last year, the U.N. General Assembly, however, postponed by three years the start of the grace period for Maldives because of the devastation caused to that Indian Ocean island nation by the December 2004 tsunami.
The CDP continuously monitors the LDCs -- which are entitled to special duty-free concessions and increased debt relief and official development assistance (ODA) -- to check which of the countries should remain as LDCs and which should graduate.
The criteria and thresholds for LDC status include low incomes, weak human assets, high economic vulnerability and a population of less than 75 million.
The 50 LDCs, of which 34 are from Africa, range from Afghanistan and Central African Republic to Vanuatu and Zambia.
At the third U.N. Conference for Least Developed Countries held in Brussels in May 2001, the United Nations adopted a wide-ranging Programme of Action aimed at providing increased assistance to the world's 50 poorest nations.
After five long years, the programme will be reviewed at a high-level ministerial meeting scheduled to take place at the United Nations Sep. 14-19, on the eve of the opening of the 61st session of the General Assembly.
Asked about the successes and failures of the programme, Chowdhury told IPS: "I believe that during the last five years, the LDCs initiated many reforms and took wide-ranging actions for implementing the commitments they made in the Brussels Programme covering its seven areas of commitments from policy-making to capacity development, to governance, to environment."
The needs of the LDCs are of such magnitude, and also because the development process takes a while to bear fruit, that it would be inappropriate to term the slow progress in some areas as failures, he added.
"As a matter of fact, LDCs have done remarkably well in a number of areas given the multifarious impediments that they continue to face because of their structural constraints," he said.
The development partners need to encourage the LDCs by providing substantive support. Since Brussels, HIV/AIDS, natural disasters and conflicts have presented additional challenges for these most vulnerable countries, Chowdhury said.
In a report released last week, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says the LDCs have generally grown faster than other developing nations, significantly so if China and India are excluded, while there has also been a decline in conflicts, a critical factor in improving development prospects.
At the same time, the current rate of growth -- roughly moving close to the target of seven percent -- has not helped reduce extreme poverty and hunger, while the spread of HIV/AIDS is diluting some of the hard-won economic gains.
Asked if he expects more developing nations to join the ranks of LDCs because of rising oil prices and a global economy threatened with recession, Chowdhury said: "Yes, the oil price hike has seriously affected the economic situation in many of the developing nations, but that should not necessarily result in their immediate inclusion in the ranks of the LDCs."
The inclusion is decided by the CDP on the basis of specific criteria that include a human assets index based on indicators of nutrition, health, education and adult literacy.
But he expressed reservations about LDCs meeting the goal of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger by the 2015 deadline.
"Not many LDCs, according to the present scorecard, would be meeting all the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015," he said. However, some of them have achieved considerable success in meeting at least the goals like school enrolment and access to safe drinking water.
The main constraints faced by the LDCs are their existing development challenges, particularly the lack of capacity and infrastructure compounded by paucity of resources.
All these have been made worse by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, particularly in many of the 34 African LDCs, he added.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Tongan King Tupou IV dies at 88

[BBC NEWS] Asia-Pacific

The people of Tonga have been plunged into mourning following the death of 88-year-old King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV. Public buildings are being draped in black and purple as a mark of respect.
King Tupou IV was absolute ruler of the South Pacific island nation for 41 years, making him the world's fourth longest-serving monarch.
His son, Crown Prince Tupouto'a, was sworn in as the new king at a brief ceremony on Monday, but it could be at least a year before a full coronation.
Correspondents say King Tupou IV was much loved by his people, but his death is likely to fuel calls for greater democracy.
King Tupou's death was reported late on Sunday at Auckland's Mercy Hospital, where he had been receiving treatment since April.
The Tongan government made a formal announcement shortly afterwards. "The sun has set in the kingdom of Tonga," it said in a statement.
The king's body will remain in Auckland until Wednesday, before being moved back to Tonga to lie in state.
Mourning has already begun and is expected to last up to a year.
Heaviest monarch
King Tupou took over the monarchy in 1965, after the death of his mother, Queen Salote, and soon began modernising the archipelago's education system and infrastructure.
Throughout his reign, the royal family controlled Tonga's semi-feudal political system and most of the economy, which is dependent upon farming, fishing and remittances from expatriate Tongans.
The king made headlines around the world in the 1970s, when he became the world's heaviest monarch at over 200 kg (440 lb).
But in the 1990s he headed a national keep fit campaign and shed a third of his weight.
For most of his reign, King Tupou had the respect and loyalty of his subjects and other leaders in the South Pacific.
But in recent years, he has faced increasing dissent.
In 2005, thousands of people took to the streets to demand democracy and public ownership of key assets, in unprecedented public demonstrations.
South Pacific analysts say the king's death is likely to fuel demands for greater liberalisation in Tonga.
The king's death is the second blow to the Tongan royal family and the Tongan people in recent months.
The kingdom has only recently mourned the death of one of the king's nephews, who, along with his wife, was killed in a car crash in San Francisco in July.

On a personal note:
I was one of those fortunate enough to meet the King of Tonga. Back in 2002 I accompanied then fellow Reporter Gerard Williams, a Harry-Brittain fellow, to interview King Tupou at Aggie Greys. What a gentle soul, so prestigious yet so humble. He was already having health problems but he was still keen to talk to us and answer questions.
From JAWS, ia manuia lau malaga.

Cherelle Jackson
JAWS Secretary

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Dev's Seminar well received

The JAWS Seminar on Revitalizing Regional Media, presented by Dev Nadkarni was well received by members of the media yesterday. Print, Radio and TV Journalists and Editors were eager to learn more about the new era of Regional Media in this digital age.
[Picture] Dev Pictured here with Seminar participants.

According to Dev, the web regardless of how we may feel about it personally, is the way to go for news organizations. He draws from his experience as the creater of the Islands Business website which has seen a tremendous increase in traffice in its first year on-line.

Currently the only Samoan news provided online from Samoa is on Event Polynesia, but there are others who update Samoan news worldwide.
JAWS would like to thank Dev for taking his time to meet with local media, we would also like to thank the Public Sector Improvement Facility for the use of the Conference Room.
[Picture] Dev Nadkarni of Islands Business, Cherelle Jackson of JAWS and Abel Caine of UNESCO.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Preferential Treatment of Media by Samoan Police


Members of the private Media were turned away from the Prison Cells at Tafaigata last week.
Police turned five reporters, from Newsprint, Radio and one TV away at the gates of the Tafaigata Prison Cells early last week.
The Reporters were attempting to report on the opening of the newly built cells at the Prison after a Press Release was received the day before.
One disgruntled Reporter stated: “After being rejected at the gate I went directly to the Commissioner of Police and asked him to let me in, but he said we were not allowed and he did not give a reason why.”
One Reporter made it all the way up to the Minister concerned only to be told yet again that the private media was not allowed.
That same night the Government owned TV Station, SBC TV1 aired the full story of the opening complete with images.
Members of JAWS have expressed their concern over the preferential treatment by Government Ministries of Government Media.
According to one JAWS Officer: “All forms of Media in this country should be equal and we should all have the same rights to any information, therefore what the Police did was undemocratic and not to mention unfair.”
This is not the first time the police have withheld information from the media, with a history of hiding figures and statistics from the public their secrecy is no news to local Journalists.
The Police Commissioner has yet to provide a reason for the impromptu ban on the private media.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Seminar Presentation: Revitialising Regional Media

A Seminar Presentation on the topic 'Revitalising Regional Media' will be hosted by JAWS on the Wed, 6th of September 2006.

Topic: Revitalising Regional Media
Speaker: Dev Nadkarni, Contributing Editor of Islands Business Magazine
Date: 6th September 2006
Time: 5:00pm
Venue: tbc

For more information contact us at or at 7773776.

Speaker Profile: Dev Nadkarni

Dev Nadkarni has been in the communications industry for twenty years, working in diverse positions in both the traditional and new media on three continents.
A national topper and gold medalist from one of India’s leading journalism schools, he has worked as reporter, associate editor and business manager with
newspapers, publishing houses and with network television.
In the mid-nineties he moved to new media and academics. He was Director of Web Content and Strategy with a Los Angeles, USA-based Internet content and services provider. Later, he moved to Suva, Fiji, as Coordinator and Senior Lecturer of the Journalism Programme at the University of the South Pacific.
He has served on consultative panels of international organisations on programmes in the Asia-Pacific region and has travelled widely as a trainer of media practitioners. He is currently contributing editor with the Islands Business International group, a diversified, cross-media publishing company in the Pacific region. He edits the Pacific Islands region’s most accessed news and current affairs website,, which he developed for the IBI group.
Dev loves teaching and has developed over 100 hours of interactive instructional material on a wide range of media subjects including journalism and new media. He teaches both at tertiary institutions and corporate organizations in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. He writes regularly for a number of publications and websites, and is also a published cartoonist.
He lives in Auckland.

Dev will speak on Revitalising Regional Media
Time: 5:00pm,
Date: Wednesday, 6th September
Venue: to be advised

Successful Training

The JAWS Training for Radio Journalist last week was great success. Journalists from both Radio and Print joined together to learn the art of making news bulletins. Trainer Jake Brown pointed out some of the dos and don'ts of radio news and encouraged participants to make their product interesting. The participants were taught several techniques to improve their news bulletins and attract listeners including pronunciation, the use of words and leading sentences. Mock bulletins were made and then reviewed by the participants to improve their outputs.
Jake expressed his satisfaction with the outcome of the training and said he hopes to do more training of the same kind.
JAWS would like to thank NUSIT, Jake Brown and Rev Moli Moli.

Above left: Radio Journalists with Trainer Jake Brown and President of JAWS Papalii Taimalelagi.
Middle: Radio Journalists from Radio Polynesia and Showers of Blessings with their Trainer Jake.
Right: Journos hard at work.

For more information about this training or similar trainings conducted by JAWS please contact us at