The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)has
urged journalists to focus more attention to reportage of issues bordering on harmful practices and Gender Based Violence (GBV) to end the scourge in the country.
Dr Stephen Onyukwelu, the UNESCO Manager for Spotlight Initiative, made the call during the opening of a four-day training on Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Lagos with the theme “Sensitive Reporting and Investigative Journalism.”
DPH NEWS gathered that Spotlight Initiative is a new, global, multi-year programme embarked upon by European Union (EU) and the UN toward eliminating all forms of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG).
The Initiative is so named as it brings focused attention to the issue of VAWG, moving it into the spotlight and placing it at the centre of efforts to achieve gender equality and women empowerment, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development around the globe.
Onyukwelu said that the initiative is an EU-UN joint venture that would benefit 25 countries, including eight African countries, comprising Nigeria, Liberia, Niger, Malawi, Mozambique, Mali, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
He explained that six states, namely Sokoto, Adamawa, Ebonyi, Lagos, Cross-River and FCT, were selected in Nigeria to champion the implementation of the programme in the country.
He, therefore, urged media practitioners to investigate and report issues aimed at reducing violence against women and girls, such as sexual harmful practices so as to increase women and girls’ access to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.
He said “UNESCO plays a vital role in eliminating GBV and we want the media to use their platforms toward ending this menace.
“We want a Nigeria where all women and girls are free from violence and harmful practices.
“We want to ensure gender equality, human rights, promote inclusiveness and leave no one behind.”
Dr Qasim Akinreti, the Chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos State chapter, who declared the workshop opened, urged participants to focus on issues affecting the grassroots to aide in reducing all forms of abuse.
Akinreti also encouraged the media to use their platforms to educate the public on the effects, preventive measures and where victims of abuse could seek for help.
Mrs Adeola Ekine, the Chairperson, Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Lagos State chapter, advised media to champion the fight against GBV and encouraged good parental values “which would be reflected in the society, thereby reducing ills and negative tendencies.”
A total of 33 participants, drawn from each of the six geographical zones namely: Lagos, Adamawa, Ebonyi, Cross River, Sokoto, FCT are attending the workshop.