-MICAT Communication Director Thompson says
The Director of Communication at the Ministry of Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism, Agatha Thompson, said the fight against gender based violence across the country must be taken seriously, because it undermines security and human dignity.
Director Thompson made the statement over the weekend at the end of a 5-day training of media practitioners on reporting on Sexual and Gender Based Violence, in Ganta, Nimba County, organized by the UN Women with support from Sweden.
Madam Thompson said usually victims or survivors suffered many things, including HIV and AIDS, trauma, discrimination, death and stigmatization among others.
According to her, the government of Liberia sees the SGBV training of media practitioners as key to improving reporting on gender violence and harmful practices.
She, however, called on beneficiaries to practicalize whatever learnt during the course of the five days training. She lauded the UN Women and partners for supporting the Liberian media and promised to work with them.
Mrs. Yaah Belleh Suah, Nimba County gender coordinator of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, called on the media to increase its coverage on gender issues, including domestic violence, persistence non-support and rape among others.
“We want you to fight to minimize SGBV issues, because we have lived with it for years and will take longer time eradicate from the society. We can only eradicate when everyone knows the danger of it, especially in our society,” Mrs. Suah said.
She noted that the gender related issues cannot be taken likely, but that a joint effort can ensure that it’s dealt with accordingly.
Cecelia G. Clarke, one of the beneficiaries who spoke on behalf of the participants, lauded the facilitators for helping to train them in reporting on SGBV issues.
Mrs. Clarke noted that skills and methods on reporting on SGBV issues were seriously lacking, prior to undergoing the five days training, lauding UN Women for providing such an opportunity for journalists.
“This training has opened our minds in reporting on gender based violence problems, which affects both sexes (male and female). We want to assure the facilitators and UN Women of seeing a new narrative from beneficiaries on SGBV reporting,” she said.
Dhogba Mabande, UN Women Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) Programme Officer, lauded beneficiaries of their full participation during the five days intensive training, including facilitators, noting that there will be a new ways of reporting on SGBV.
“You have received new knowledge on reporting on harmful traditional practices and other SGBV issues. The media remains a strategic partner in the fight to end sexual and gender based violence problems and others in Liberia,” Mbande said.
According to him, media can help in reaching out to the community, men and women and ensure that there is a change in perceptions and attitudes towards women and girls in the various communities.
“We need to be protected and also need to have a safe environment where they can live, free of violence. This is the responsibility of us as media practitioners. As we leave from here, it becomes our responsibility to use the airwaves to send the message to the people,” he said.