The Role Of Media In Prevention Of Violence Against Women
Research in the role of the media (radio and press) in preventing violence against women (trafficking and pornography); promoting valid information instruments for use by journalists; a campaign to disseminate practical information measures to prevent violence against women and to encourage non-violence.
The project aimed to address ‘the discourse that legitimises violence against women, the lack of real knowledge by journalists and the propaganda of violence against women which is projected throughout the media’. Starting from the premise that the media contribute to creating this violence by dealing with images of men and women in an unequal way, the project partners – journalists themselves — set out to create a guide for journalists to help them not to foster potential aggression, to provide information on victims to increase awareness of the problem, and to foster non-violence.
The project, while establishing and strengthening networks of women journalists on a European scale to coordinate information on violence against women and actions to prevent this in the mass media, undertook five national studies (Spain, Albania, France, Finland and Italy also some part of Africa) on the way in which the press (newspapers and magazines) handles prostitution and trafficking in women for sexual exploitation.
They organised two transnational meetings of the partners in Madrid, the first to present the work carried out in each country and to analyse and establish work allocations; and the second to present the guide to all the partners and to the general public.
The guide, addressed to European and national journalists, was published in English, French and Spanish.
Lessons and ideas: The original studies showed that almost all the media surveyed looked for sensational stories that would sell, and were inadvertently therefore cooperating in promoting a discourse that reinforces violence against women. This propaganda trivialises and legitimises behaviour that is not regarded as an attack on human dignity, and conveys surreptitious messages which as a whole help to build up a discourse of terror that prevents victims from denouncing the violence they have suffered. This emerges in particular in the case of trafficking in women, prostitution and pornography. The worst thing of all is that male and female journalists are not aware of the problem; they provide information without examining in depth the problems of the victims. The most obvious conclusion is that the information to be published must be based on the situation of women, and this situation needs to be discovered. It is essential for media professionals to cooperate with the police and authorities involved in solving the problem of trafficking in women.