WAN-IFRA Women in News Launches Study on Sexual Harassment in the Media Industry – Africa to be focus of first phase of study


Nairobi, Kenya – WAN-IFRA Women in News and City, University of London are conducting a major research study into sexual harassment in the media workplace in select countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the Arab Region and Southeast Asia. This study builds on research done in 2018 which identified a gap in available data on sexual harassment in media specifically in these regions.

The objectives of the study are:

1- To better understand and raise awareness about the extent of the problem of sexual harassment in the media industry in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Arab Region and Southeast Asia

2- To contribute to global data on sexual harassment in the media industry, by filling these regional data gaps

3- To enable informed, evidence-based responses to sexual harassment in the media industry

“We know that sexual harassment is common in many workplaces – and the media industry is no exception. However, without the hard data to show this it is difficult to understand the extent of the problem media professionals face. The existing research is focused on countries in the Global North. Our aim is for this study to plug the data gap and enable the media industry to work together to address the problem of sexual harassment through evidence-based action,” said Rebecca Zausmer, Director Knowledge and Operations, Women in News.

The research method involves i) a survey of women and men media professionals about their experiences of sexual harassment, and ii) interviews with media executives to understand their perceptions about the scale of the problem. Findings are anonymous and no organisation or individual will be named.

“We are pleased to partner with WIN to address the systemic issue of sexual harassment in the news industry. This is an international crisis that occurs in newsrooms around the world. Having the opportunity to record the personal experiences of news personnel will help us support news organisations tremendously,” said Dr. Lindsey Blumell, City, University of London.

The study will run from August until October 2020, issued in phases for each region, and will be presented at the end of 2020. Phase 1 will focus on Africa, specifically Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Phase 2 will focus on the Arab Region and Southeast Asia.

“Sexual harassment is a major issue in African newsrooms. Unfortunately it often goes unreported and is shrouded in silence. The victims keep quiet; eye witnesses turn the other way; perpetrators continue unabated and executives bury their head in the sand. The research on sexual harassment will bring out the figures that are often missing, and will help bring down barriers to addressing this behaviour,” Jane Godia, Director, Africa, Women in News.

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