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The Network of Women in Media, India, is an association which aims to provide a forum for women in media professions to share information and resources, exchange ideas, promote media awareness and ethics, and work for gender equality and justice within the media and society. Local groups linked to the NWMI are currently functioning in 16 centres across the country.


 

Houseboats on the River JhelumIt was 2 August 2019, a sunny day in Srinagar. I was sitting at the iconic Zero Bridge with a friend, discussing work and enjoying the view of River Jhelum. Suddenly, I got a message on WhatsApp messenger. “Get back home. Something big is going to happen. Situation is getting tense,” read the message. There were no apparent signs of anything huge happening anywhere. However, we left for home and could only get out again around a month later.

Before we became prisoners in our own homes, things had been ‘normal’ in Kashmir after a long time. The summer wasn’t the usual bloody season with militant-military encounters going on in a deceptively calm countryside.

Marouf Gazi reflects on the year that has passed since the scrapping of Article 35A and the abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir

While men and women journalists are both exposed to violence and threats to their safety in the course of their work, women journalists are disproportionately targeted by gender-based violence and sexual harassment, both within the work place and online. Combating violence against women journalists is the report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Dubravka Šimonović.The report to the Human Rights Council lays "the foundation for States to establish an appropriate human rights framework, including through the development of policies or strategies to ensure the protection of women journalists". It documents the type and extent of harassment women journalists face, from sexual harassment, discrimination at the workplace, and violence including online violence, and the response from media organisations. The report also gives details of the international legal framework for the protection of women journalists. 

NWMI Webinar 1 posterThe past few months have seen nothing short of a bloodbath in the Indian news media. In the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, hundreds of journalists and other media workers have lost their jobs overnight and are even now continuing to do so. In response to this crisis NWMI launched an initiative to provide support to media colleagues facing job and income insecurity and loss.
Archana KapoorCommunity radios have gone beyond the call of duty during the pandemic, providing accurate technical information, countering rumours, helping in relief efforts, and giving a voice to the people. But funders and advertisers have withdrawn support to this already funds-starved sector and today community radio is facing a severe financial crisis. Pinky Chandran and Ashish Sen analyse the situation and suggest some solutions.
THE NWMI condemns the Uttar Pradesh police's malafide FIR against Supriya Sharma, the executive editor of Scroll.in, targeting her for her report recording the loss of livelihood and hunger suffered by residents of Domari, a village near Varanasi adopted by the Prime Minister in 2018.

Masrat ZahraKashmir photojournalist and NWMI member Masrat Zahra has won the Anja Niedringhaus Courage In Photojournalism Award, 2020, by the International Women’s Media Foundation.  Her photographs which have extensively documented the impact of the conflict on the lives of Kashmiris, were praised by the jury for their particular focus on the stories of women.

Masrat who has extensively documented the impact of the conflict on the lives of Kashmiris, has regularly faced harassment and was recently booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for sharing her photographs on social media.  

The NWMI expresses its deep distress at the spate of job losses, salary cuts, furloughs and closures in the media industry in the midst of the lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We also denounce the harassment and multiple cases lodged by the State against journalists covering the pandemic and uncovering unpalatable truths about anti-people actions by governments and exposing administrative failures. We are deeply concerned about the lack of safety for journalists in the field and stand in solidarity with those who carry out their duties at immense risk to themselves.
The NWMI is deeply shocked and concerned at the manner in which Guwahati-based journalist Ranjita Rabha was forced to resign from her position in Prag News. Ms Rabha has been a journalist for 13 years and it is a gross violation of her rights that she was forced to resign by the highest authority of Prag News on the ground that she was pregnant and that the organisation had no provision of maternity leave for employees.
The NWMI is shocked at the FIR lodged against its member and award-winning photojournalist, Masrat Zahra, by the Cyber Police, Srinagar, under provisions of the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The NWMI believes that the charges are preposterous in the extreme and amount to rank intimidation of an award-winning photo journalist and must be dropped forthwith.
FinalcoverGAW2020AayushiFew media women who experience sexual harassment at their workplaces report it. Complaints to media houses’ internal committee rarely have a satisfactory outcome. Training workshops on sexual harassment are not routinely conducted though legally required.

These are among the findings of a survey conducted by Network of Women in Media, India, and Gender at Work. The report, ‘Creating Safe Workplaces: Prevention and Redressal of Sexual Harassment in Media Houses in India’, was released on International Women's Day, 2020. The online survey was conducted to assess whether and how effectively media houses across India are responding to the issue of sexual harassment at the workplace.