By Emma Una, CALABAR
THE media has been urged to be deliberate and intentional in reporting women the same way men are given visibility in their reportage.
Mrs Toun Sonaiya , Chief Executive Officer, Women Radio 91.7 made the call in Calabar, while declaring open a two-day training for media practitioners drawn from different media organisations facilitated by United Nations Women and government of Canada held in Calabar.
She said most times women are not given adequate media coverage and visibility accorded to men which is the reason most women fizzle out of limelight no matter the positions they have occupied and their achievements and contributions to society.
“We in the media report more about the men while the women are hardly in the news and most times when women are in the news it is a for trivial or negative reasons,” she said.
She pushed forward the acronym, RUSH which she translates as Report Her Until Something Happens , impressing it on media practitioners to be persistent in reporting women.
She said particularly those in leadership positions and highlighting their contributions and achievements not as a one off matter but continuous mainstreaming to give them the necessary visibility.
“They may be complaints that the women are not forthcoming in seeking media coverage but we can research about them and also search them out the way we do for the men because some of them shy away from the media for fear of not being misquoted.
“However, if they read a good report done on them , they would have to choice than to relate with the media regularly,” she added.
She called for fair and positive reports on women to shape the opinion of members of their communities or constituencies on the role she is playing or is capable of playing for the betterment of society.
“If you do a research on Mrs Hilary Clinton, you would see thousands of reports on her hair style which in no way relate to what she is capable of doing or what is in her brain.
“We should focus on what a woman can contribute to the society and not concentrate on her marital life or social status.”
Dr Rose Oyama, the Cross River State Chairman of International Federation of Women Lawyers, FIDA, in her remarks said the media is the first port of call in informing society on what is happening and as such there should be equity and fairness in reporting both men and women in leadership.
She said: “If women are carried along the same way men are carried along in media publications, then there would be no need for us to gather here and talk about women.
“But that is hardly the case which is the reason we are here to emphasise on fair media reports for both men and women.”
She said FIDA strives for a just and equitable society for women and children the same way with the men and called on those who have need for representation when their rights are trampled upon to contact the organisation.