Changing how violence against women is reported

Showing up with notebooks and cameras eager journalists from the Cambodian media landscape learned how to tell the full story on violence against women.

Date: Friday, July 8, 2016

Author: Mariken Harbitz

Journalists and media practitioners were given challenging tasks during the training. Photo: UN Women/Mariken Harbitz

UN Women Cambodia partnered up with its Media Compact, Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM) to create awareness and share knowledge on violence against women in the media. Over the course of two days, journalists learned how to pen down ethical journalism that challenges stereotypes.

“In the media, women are always depicted as victims, sometimes even with their identity shown. Why is this the focus?” asked journalist Sar Sokunthy, arguing that it creates a skewed and wrong representation of the issue. The 26-year-old journalist from Sabay News is passionate about women´s rights and the need to change journalistic methods. “This practice is so unethical. It points towards the fact that the way we cover our story is very limited and needs to change,” she said. Being a female editor for one of Cambodia´s most popular media outlets, Sokunthy is paving the way for female media professionals in Cambodia. “This is an important topic for me, being a woman. I hope that our new skillset will have an impact on the lives of Cambodian women,” said Sokunthy.

“An increased understanding of media ethics and gender sensitive reporting on violence against women is absolutely essential in shaping attitudes, behavioral change and gender norms,” said UN Women´s officer Vutha Phon, who is working on ending violence against women.

During his session on issues of violence in Cambodia, he highlighted the importance of viewing violence as part of an intergenerational cycle. “Violence breeds violence. This is why it is important that all of society, including journalists are taking part in changing the attitudes towards this extreme human rights violation,” said Vutha.

Sar Sokunthy, 26, took an active part in the discussions. Photo: UN Women/Mariken Harbitz

“Cambodian news needs to improve their ethical reporting on violence against women,” said executive director of Cambodian Center for Independent Media, Mr. Pa Ngoun Teang. “As gatekeepers for information that informs public opinion, the journalists can play an important role in combatting violence against women,” added Teang.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Cambodia, Ms. Rhona Smith, highlighted the need for more ethical reporting on violence against women, during her last statement in March 2016. Read more here.



For more information:

Please contact: Mariken Harbitz
Communications Officer for UN Women Cambodia