Namibia: Spotlight On SGBV Reporting

29 November 2020

"Are you reporting to inform people about sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), or do you just want to get the news out there as quick as possible?"

This was the question of a survivor of SGBV, who attended the Break Free workshop recently held in the capital.

The workshop was aimed at educating media practitioners on how to report on SGBV.

The survivor, who prefers to remain anonymous, said she found media reports on her own case skewed.

She said the media focused on the perpetrator, not considering her trauma and that of her loved ones.

"The media put the spotlight on him so much that it became about him, and not about the horrible act he committed, or about how I was hurting, or what my family was going through," she said.

"All the reporting on my case felt insensitive. It was as if the reporters did not stop to think that I am a real person with emotions who can get hurt," the survivor said.

Tinana Majila, director of the judicial secretariat, said the media and every other body that deals with cases surrounding SGBV should think with their hearts and not only their minds.

"I understand we have codes of conduct to follow at our different workplaces, but as a human being, you need to use your heart to judge at times; you cannot be stone cold when dealing with these issues," Matjila said.

Alna Dall, another speaker at the event, said: "Journalists or reporters should be careful how they report. Make sure what you are reporting is respectful to the victim and you are not pushing any of your personal biases."

She said even a reporter's judgement can be clouded by their own personal biases on SGBV.

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