The Inquirer (Monrovia)

11 December 2013

Liberia: Speak Out Against Sexual Exploitation - Media Specialists Urge Female Journalists

Several media practitioners in the country have called on female journalists to report sexual exploitation and abuse in their places of work. The call was made yesterday at the launch of the campaign on sexual exploitation and abuse in the media, which marks the end of the sixteen days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. The media women described Sexual exploitation and abuse as a major challenge faced by female journalists across the country.

According to the senior media specialist at IREX, Maureen sieh, sexual exploitation and abuse hinder the advancement of women in the media something she said needs to be reported by female journalists.

She noted that most female journalists who leave the profession attribute their decisions to the high level of sexual harassment in the newsroom either by editors or senior reporters among others.

Also speaking, the President of the Liberia Women Media Action Committee (LIWOMAC), T. Estella Nelson, called on members of the Female Journalists Association of Liberia to decentralize their work in the rural parts of the country noting that female journalists at community radio stations face challenges twice as much as challenges faced by those in the urban areas.

At the same time, the Managing Editor of the Inquirer Newspaper, Philip N. Wesseh, has called on women in the media to work together in order to curtail sexual exploitation and abuse of female journalists and stop criticizing those women who are survivors of SEA in the media.

The Inquirer Managing Editor discouraged the idea of media managers hiring, promoting and favouring females in the media based on sexual relationship with them.

He pledged his support to the process of minimizing the rate of sexual exploitation and abuse.

However, the president of the Reporters Association of Liberia, Keith Morris, expressed serious disappointment over the little involvement of female journalists in other activities including the Press Union of Liberia Elections.

According to Mr Morris, most female journalists are not willing to get involved with media issues but rather want to be at the back stage at all times.

He therefore called on all female journalists to be proactive and get involved with other activities in the media something he said will help females excel in the media.

Meanwhile, the outgoing president of the Press Union of Liberia, Peter Quaque, has extended his gratitude to the Female Journalists Association of Liberia for the initiative taken and encouraged media managers to work in order to empower women in the media and stop exploiting them.

Mr Quaqua expressed his disappointment over the actions of some males in the media who use their positions and authorities to sexually exploit females in the media.

The media practitioner made these statements when the Female Journalists Association of Liberia in collaboration with the Liberia Women Media Action Committee officially launched a campaign on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.

The campaign which was launched under the theme 'Working Together to Prevent SEA in the Media' aimed at promoting a safe work space for female journalists across the country.

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