BY:.VITALIS UGOH Calabar
Media practitioners from both the print, electronic and Online outfits operating from Cross River State are currently brainstorming in a four day media dialogue on ethical reporting and advocacy to end violence against women and girls.
The four day media dialogue was jointly sponsored by EU/UN-Sportlight initiative in Channels View Hotel, Calabar..
The objectives of this meeting according to Spotlight Initiative Communication Coordinator -Unicef Khadijah Ibrahim Nuhu,said amongst others includes, to increase the participation of 81 media network members in advocacy and solutions journalism, toincrease participant’s knowledge on ethical reporting and to engage participants on gender inequality discourse and their role in impact.
Others are to mobilise at the country level and to have an effective media engagement, through invitations such as this newsletters and support to improve on our existing knowledge on ethical reporting, to engage in gender inequality and to increase our capacity on journalism.
Under the objectives, “you are to deal more on advocacy journalism than solution journalism.
She lauded the EU/UN, Spotlight Initiative for supporting the 17 sustainable development goals. The benefiting states are Ojoro, Adam’s, FCT, Lagos, Cross River and Ebonyi states.
She called on participants to always give a voice to survivors when reporting our stories
In this regard, she said, the importance of the media cannot be over emphasised.
In his presentation in a paper titled “overview of violence against women and girls in Nigeria /Cross River state, policies, interventions, and trends, Mr. Victor Atuchukwu, Child Protection Specialist -.Unicef, said “six out of every 10 children experienced some form of violence “.
Also, he said “one in two have experienced physical violence. This also applies to one out of six boys with issues of sexual/emotional violence “.
Atuchukwu noted that 50 percent of girls had also experienced physical/emotional violence which is very bad. 80 percent experienced physical violence, 70 percent sexual violence while 50 percent experienced emotional violence “.
He regretted that the perpetrators are living within us, either parents or adult relative, adults in neighborhood or romantic partner, friends, classmate and stranger.
Unfortunately, “50 percent disclose their perpetrators,five percent sought for help while less than five percent actually received help”.
The state Director, National Orientation and information, Cross River, Mr. Amisegne Ogban said the agency had embarked on an advocacy in two local government areas of the state. The are Obanliku and Calabar South local government areas.
The advocacy centered on how to end violence against women and girls in our society. Also the agency had set up surveillance groups in the two council for monitoring and evaluation.
Ogban recalled that “money marriage is still going adding that the most painful thing is that the are taken away by the Cameroon men and not even Nigerians.
“Today, most of the girls live in fear as they were taken to a native doctor to take an oath and any attempt to escape they will die”.
Al’so speaking, Mrs. Ndodeye Bassey Obongha of Girls Power Initiative (GPI), regretted that over 609 cases of violence against women and girls in Cross River state.
Though, she said, this figure is far beyond the true position. The organization had help women to register their cooperatives as well as teaching them business development strategy and some technical support.
Mr. James Ibor, chairperson Child Protection Network, said his organisation has carries a number intervention in Calabar South, Akamkpa and Obanliku local government areas of Cross River state.
He said between 2016, over 2,001 cases have been handled our of which 715 services were provided free of charge.
Ibor, who lauded journalists in the state for following up with those cases urged them to continue. He called for review of some of the existing laws to make the institution strong.
In his paper entitled “Gender and girl child reporting, Aisha Salaudeen regretted that only 25 percent of women are heard or read about globally.
According to him, the media plays a very significant role in shaping public perspective about women and men, therefore it is important that reporting avoid any form of gender stereotype which often limit and trivialise female and male as well as presenting an accurate view of the world and its possibilities.
The meeting enters its second day today June 10th, 2021 at Channel View Hotel. Calabar.