Towards the end of last week, 35 Rwandan female Journalists drove to Diplomate Hotel in Kigali to review their status in the media sector and draft a way forward.
Their training was scheduled to last for only two days from 8th-9th organized by Media High Council. The female Journalists are grouped under a ARFEM a female journalists association.
According to organisers of this training, journalists can be protected by Law. The training was purposely organized to help them dare and leave their fear but have self-confidence instead.
Several challenges during their line of duty were discussed but complaints of gender based violence dominated most of their submissions.
Nkundimfura Rosette Director of Gender Unity in the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion challenged the female journalists to routinely report on gender based violence which has become rampant.
According to Nkundimfura, gender promotion is frequently misunderstood and in most situations viewed as only advocating for women. She said that it is not easy for many to understand that this actually involves both men and women. This is where media is needed.
“We can’t raise only our voices and progress alone, it wouldn’t make sense that woman are progressing without men,” said Nkundimfura.
Ingabire Bibio ARFEM Chairperson attending the training said that in the Newsroom, Editors refuse to assign female journalists claiming they lack physical capacity and self-confidence and portray them as not strong enough to report on hard stories.
“It is not easy to find a female Mayor? We [females] are assigned on social affairs posts, there are few female Sector Chief Executive Secretaries. Why? We shouldn’t fear all those domains because we are able.”
Taarifa spoke to some of the participants and here are some of their views.
“What I learnt is to dare reporting on hard stories instead of staying in social domain like hosting shows about family issues and kids show,” said Anne Niwemwiza a radio presenter and member of ARFEM.
Assoumpta Mukeshimana as sports reporter on one of local television and radio has been working in sport reporting for 8 years, she confirms that the first challenge she met was hard to handle because it was a matter of perception.
“The main challenge that I faced during my carrier is to prove to people that I can cover sport stories as men do”
Caissy Christine Nakure is a radio journalist; she told Taarifa that the session helped her to understand well how to improve her performance in journalism.
“Now I know that publishing photos of victims of GBV or revealing many details is not good when that victim is under 18 years because that makes them uncomfortable,” Said Nakure.
Nakure added that for now she knows that it is her right as a journalist to report on any story or take her camera because she knows well where she has rights to take photos.
The second session training of female journalists in Rwanda this year trained 35 journalists from different media houses.
The training was organised In partnership with ARFEM and UNESCO and Swedish embassy in Rwanda
Participants agreed to increase awareness of Journalism ethics and law in order to make it more professional and to communicate in different sectors to work together with media for the common interest of Rwandans.