Gvt bemoans sexual harassment of female journalists in newsrooms

The government has expressed concern over cases of sexual harassment of female journalists in newsrooms.

Speaking when Women in News paid courtesy call on Minister of Labour and Social Security Brenda Tambatamba today, she said the government is doing what it can to make newsrooms safe for everyone.

Your, Excellency, MS. JANE GODIA –Africa Region Director Women in News (WIN)• Mr. Zechariah Luhanga – Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.• Senior Staff at WIN and in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.

I am extremely delighted to welcome you to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security which is a key important economic Ministry which is responsible for the promotion and protection of rights of workers and employers, who of course include women in the media.

The Agenda of the New Dawn Government.• The New Dawn Government under the leadership of the President of the Republic of Zambia Mr. Hikainde Hichilema is in a hurry to transform the economy and create more and better jobs, especially for the youth as articulated in the 8th National Development Plan.

• This is indeed in line with the decent work agenda which the Ministry is pursuing centred on the four pillars, namely promoting jobs and enterprise; guaranteeing rights at work; extending social protection and promoting social dialogue.

• It is for this reason that my Ministry is open for possible partnerships and collaborations with the Women in News (WIN) programme which was started to develop and promote women’s leadership in the media.

• This Ministry appreciates the efforts to enhance the potential of media women by equipping them with the necessary knowledge and skill to enable them excel in their careers.

Your Excellency and dear colleagues,Sexual Harassment in the Media

• Sexual harassment in the media industry is a pervasive and is not only happening in Zambia but a global phenomenon.

• Sexual harassment in the workplace not only affects the individuals involved but also serious repercussions for media organisations and drains the productivity of the workforce.

• How cases are handled effect the profitability of/or the very existence of those enterprises, hence the need to eradicate it, and I am more than willing to work with you using our labour inspectorate countrywide.

• I wish to reiterate the call of partnerships between government and yourselves to help give prominence to voices of women through the media to awaken different stakeholders and institutions to continue with the fight to eliminate all types of harassment including sexual and verbal attacks at place of work.

• Allow me to disclose that Government is concerned that 41 percent (i.e. 2 in 5) of women journalists have experienced verbal or physical sexual harassment in the workplace.

• It is further alarming and worrying that only 1 in 5 incidents is reported which means that more than eighty percent of incidents are never reported and there is no closure for the victims.

• Further, more 30 percent of journalists experience verbal and/or physical harassment.

• The reasons why these cases are silenced is fear of victimisation and/or retaliation against complainants, victims, witnesses and whistle-blowers protection systems.

• To address this and other challenges associated with violence and harassment in the workplace, my Ministry is working towards the ratification of Convention 190 on ending violence and harassment in world of work.

• I am convinced that once ratified, the Country will be in a better position to domesticate some of the recommendations contained therein into our national policies and legislation.

• I once again thank you for coming and I look forward to more interactions between the Ministry and your organisation.I Thank You.

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