The EU/UN-Spotlight Initiative has charged media practitioners to embrace advocacy and solution journalism in order to bring to the fore issues of violence against women and girls (VAWG) in support of the vision 2030 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
Speaking in a 4-day media dialogue, which had participants drawn from the media, civil society organizations, NGOs, National Orientations Agency (NOA) and other stakeholders, in Calabar, Spotlight Initiative Communication Coordinator, Khadijah Ibrahim Nuhu, said the anomaly could be brought to an end with the application of ethical reporting, advocacy and solution journalism.
“You are to deal more on advocacy and solution journalism as we all join hands to embark on this campaign of ending all forms of violence against women and girls,” she said, and charged participants to always give a voice to survivors of gender based violence and shoulders for them to lean on.
She advised against taking pictures of survivors or victims of gender based violence and disclosing their identities, and added “our report should seek to get attention of somebody, government or authorities to rise against violence against women and girls and not to worse their predicament.”
On his part, a resource person, Iliya Kure, described advocacy journalism as the use of facts and available evidence to write report in favour of actions that would end gender based violence.
According to Kure, advocacy journalism, apart from supporting a specific cause as that of violence against women and girls, plays a great role in giving voice to the voiceless, adding that it also seeks to set agenda for policy makers to take action over societal ills.
Presenting a paper with the theme: “overview of violence against women and girls in Nigeria / Cross River state, policies, interventions, and trends,” Mr Victor Atuchukwu, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF, said perpetrators of physical, emotional and sexual violence against girl children were mostly people victims and survivors know.
Atochukwu said established data indicated that 60 percent of children experience violence before 18 years of age and that less than 50 percent of victims confided in someone about their experience but that out of about 6 percent of those who sought help, less than 5 percent of them received help.
“Six out of every 10 children experienced some form of violence. One out of two children in Nigeria have experienced physical violence,” he stated.
Educating participants on the need for solution journalism, national coordinator of Dataphyte, Joshua Olufemi, a resource person described solution journalism as “rigorous and compelling reporting about responses to social problems, journalists putting his investigative lens on potential solutions, highlighting responses with evidence based tract record of success.”
Olufemi said although bad news in contemporary settings sells, solution journalism inspires and gives hope in the midst of uncertainty, adding that solution journalism has to do with indept analysis of responses.