Twenty-three media professionals from radio, tv, print and online outlets attended a one-day capacity building workshop organized by UNIC Jakarta to raise awareness on gender-sensitive reporting and to enable media professionals to promote actively gender equality in and through the media in Indonesia. "I knew that we can be gender insensitive in the media in Indonesia," said one participant, "but I had no idea how extensive and pervasive negative gender stereotyping is and how serious the consequences can be!"
Tiurma Veronica Siregar, National Programme Officer for Governance at UN Women Indonesia, spoke eloquently to participants about media and gender issues in Indonesia. She recounted the case of one woman in Tangerang arrested for breaking the evening curfew, but who was so miscast by the media that it led to the ostracization of her family from the community and even contributed to her eventual demise.
The workshop explored the role of media in Indonesian society and understanding the concept of gender as it related to good and effective news reporting. Participants developed an understanding and awareness of how they could pitch gender sensitive stories to their senior editors and how they could incorporate a gender perspective into all and any story they produced. Participants explored how the media can be a catalyst for social change and can influence societally prescribed responsibilities for men and women.
Hera Diani, Managing Eitor of online magazine Magdalene, which champions women's issues and gender equality, called attention to the critical analysis of all reportage with a gender perspective. "Look at how many women as compared to men are cited as authoritative sources for any kind of news story," she said, "How are the women reflected in each story; how are the men? Is it fair? Is it balanced? These are the critical questions to ask yourself."
A panel discussion on developing gender sensitive storylines was anchored by Raisya Maharani from the Alliance of Independent Journalists, and also featured Usman Kansong, News Director of Media Indonesia, and Ms. Diani. The discussion highlighted common gender stereotypes in the media, biases to avoid, and gender ethics in reporting.
"Ask yourself, 'Am I doing full justice to every angle of the story? Am I letting my own preconceptions influence what I report and how I report?'" said Mr. Kansong, "The best journalists try to tell the complete story."