Title: Journalists and gender-based violence in Ibadan, Nigeria
Journal / Publication: Perspectives in Public Health
Pages: 272 – 280
Fawole, Olufunmilayo I.
Asekun-Olarimoye, Esther O.
Violence against women (VAW) continues to occur in many countries of the world despite various measures taken to stop it. The media can shape the attitudes and perceptions of people and can be an advocate for social change. Thus an assessment of the knowledge, attitude and coverage of prevention of VAW by 230 media practitioners in Nigeria was conducted using semi-structured self-administered questionnaires.
Results of the survey revealed that 86 of the 230 (37%) stated that both sexes have equal privileges and rights, while 78 (34%) felt that violence could help to keep women ‘in check’ or in control. Mean knowledge score out of 10 was 7.5+2.1, while attitude scores out of 11 were 6.4+1.2.
Two main groups of journalist were identified: prejudiced, (105, 46%), and non-prejudiced (125, 54%). The non-prejudiced group consisted mostly of females (p<0.05), over the age of 36 (p<0.05), and held senior positions within their profession (p>0.05). Female media practitioners had significantly higher knowledge and attitude scores than their male counterparts (7.47+2.0 versus 6.39+2.3) and (6.27+2.0 versus 5.11+6.1). Ninety respondents (39%) had worked on prevention of VAW in the last two years. Most of these (60, 67%) had worked on one-off programmes. Regular programmes usually consisted of 30-minutes or one-hour weekly programmes on radio and television as well as articles in the newspapers. Enlightening the public (41%) and ‘portraying women in a successful light’ (12%) were some of the activities the practitioners were ready to embark upon.
Media practitioners need first of all comprehensive training on VAW, which should be followed by increased coverage of prevention of VAW in the media. Finally, more interactive media engagement with the public should be employed. Media organisations for women may be useful in initiating some of these changes.