By THANDIWE MOYO –
PANOS Institute of Southern Africa (PSAf) has urged the media to refrain from portraying women as victims of circumstances.
PSAf executive director Lilian Kiefer said the media had a duty to help depict women in a positive light because many of them had achieved a lot and had contributed to the development of the country.
Ms Kiefer said this during a media training workshop in Lusaka that journalists played a critical role in positively writing about women activities as opposed to highlighting only the negative side of the women folk.
She said the media was critical in the construction of public belief and attitudes, thereby formulating public opinion on various issues.
Ms Kiefer said due to the power of the media in influencing public opinion, pessimistic media coverage of women negatively influenced people’s perceptions about women.
“The media plays a vital role in informing the state actors and stakeholders, therefore they need to understand the relevance of good reporting,” she said.
Ms Kiefer further said poor coverage of women by the media, undermined their opportunities to equal participation in leadership and other productive spaces.
She said for the media to effectively write about women issues, it needed to be equipped with the right skills and expertise so as to produce content that would stimulate debate and influence positive attitudes.
She said the media should refrain from tying women only to family duties such as breast–feeding, housekeeping among others.
She wondered why some media houses concentrated on writing about women’s private lives at the expense of highlighting women’s achievements.