By Gladys Nweke
Could it be that lady journalists are ceaselessly harassed sexually in newsrooms across Nigeria? This seems to be the case as the association of female journalists have cried and demanded for regulations.
To curb all forms of sexual harassment against female journalists while discharging their duties, as well as creating enabling and safe work places for them, female journalists in Nigeria are calling for the establishment of Sexual Harassment Policy in all the media houses.
Speaking during a two-day training programme organised by the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) in collaboration with the Norwejian Union of Journalists (NORSK), one of the facilitators, Mrs Rafat Salami, in her lecture with the title, Combating Sexual Harassment In Work Places and Safety In Field, also noted the need to have Sexual Harassment Policy in Media Houses.
Salami said that the reason for unionism is for members to be able to fight for their rights and the rights of their workers, adding that sexual harassments should be listed as misconduct in places of work.
She urged women to report all forms of sexual harassment meted against them in the cause of discharging their duties but warned them against accusing men falsely of rape as they stand the risk of being arrested and prosecuted.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Communication, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, on his part tasked female journalists on the need to set agenda on gender equality.
Nsirim said that NAWOJ does not have statistics of work done so far, adding that while they celebrate their 30th anniversary they should have been able to show statistics of work done on advocacies and achievement recorded thus far.
He further asked them get a comprehensive database for female journalists whereby people can go and easily access any female journalist at anytime in case of molestation.
Also speaking the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs, Mrs Atosemi Teetito, described the training as apt and timely, adding that the ministry of Women Affairs is so passionate about gender-based discrimination against women and girls and promised to partner with NAWOJ. She also advised women to value themselves and give more credence to themselves.
A director in the ministry, Dr Carmelita Agbonbere, emphasized that Monday 25th of November marks the beginning of 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, nothing that it is an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls.