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A survivor-centred approach: UNFPA trains media outlets on GBV reporting during crises

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Journalists have the power to amplify the voices of women and girls and shed light on the forms of violence that target them, especially in times of crises. To ensure that reporting on gender-based violence, including sexual violence, in conflict is survivor-centred and ethical, UNFPA conducted, on 17 and 18 February, a two-day training for media outlets on reporting on gender-based violence cases during humanitarian and public health crises.

The training, a collaboration between UNFPA and the Ministry of Women, Children and Youth, was delivered to 15 journalists from Amhara Mass Media Agency, the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) and Fana Broadcasting Corporate and given by UNFPA Communications Officers and the GBV Area of Responsibility Coordinator in Ethiopia.

“The role of mass media in any crisis cannot be underscored enough. As reports on sexual violence in conflict increase, our collective responsibility is to ensure that survivors of violence who speak to the media are protected and that journalists, editors, and producers are respecting the do-no harm principle,” said UNFPA Representative to Ethiopia, Dennia Gayle.

The sessions focused on the definition of gender-based violence, gender-based violence in emergencies and sexual violence in conflict, as well as the root causes, types and forms. The trainers shared interviewing techniques and dos and don’ts related to the topic with the attendees. The journalists also role-played possible scenarios of interviews and assessed how to best work with survivors while ensuring their dignity and mental health is preserved.

“The training provided vital information on how to approach survivors and report cases in a sensitive and confidential way, putting the survivors first while being faithful to the story we are communicating to our audience. One of my favourite sessions was the common mistakes in reporting one”, said Mohammed Yayo from the EBC.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Women, Children and Youth, UNFPA plans to conduct similar training in the near future to ensure that the survivors are not traumatised and that their voices are heard across the world.

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UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, delivers a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person's potential is fulfilled. For more information or media inquiries, please contact Mr Abram Gelaw, Communications Officer, at gelaw@unfpa.org