Media plays vital role
Joint Statement from the Pacific Sexual and Gender Diversity Network (PSGDN) and the Fijian Media Association (FMA).
The Pacific Sexual and Gender Diversity Network (PSGDN) and the Fijian Media Association (FMA) have committed to work together to advance the human rights of LGBTQI Fijians.
PSGDN, in partnership with FMA, concluded a two-day training on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Expression and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) and LGBTQI rights for some Fijian journalists from different media organisations on Wednesday.
The objectives of the training were to increase media’s knowledge and understanding of LGBTQI human rights and SOGIESC terminologies, laws and policies in relation to LGBTQI rights, including the challenges and lived experiences of Fijian LGBTQI people and to build capacity in the area of reporting of LGBTQI issues.
The workshop included participants from five different media organisations working in print, online and broadcast media and local journalism educators.
Speaking at the opening of the workshop, PSGDN Chief Executive Officer Isikeli Vulavou highlighted the importance of reporting on LGBTQI issues in a fair, accurate and inclusive manner and the role of the media in protecting and promoting the human rights of LGBTQI Fijians.
“Fiji has various laws and policies such as the 2013 Constitution, the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission Act and the Media Act that provide frameworks for equality and non-discrimination,” Vulavou said.
“With these laws in place, it is important that stories and articles featuring LGBTQI issues use a human rights-based approach and do not cause further harm and discrimination to marginalised and vulnerable communities,” the CEO reiterated.
Adding similar sentiments, FMA President Rosi Tamani-Doviverata highlighted the importance of media organisations engaging with human rights organisations to increase their knowledge on important social justice issues and the role they play in promoting the empowerment and acceptance of LGBTQI communities.
“Journalists in Fiji face many challenges and work under a lot of pressure. Safe spaces such as these workshops allow our members to engage meaningfully and learn from people working on the frontline of LGBTQI issues,” Ms Tamani-Doviverata said.
She said despite the challenges, media organisations can become strong allies and help influence change in the communities through their stories.
An outcome of the training was the development of a basic reporting checklist for LGBTQI issues and a commitment from some media organisations for trainings on LGBTQI rights on a regular basis.
The training was a pilot program for Fiji, and PSGDN hopes to roll out similar workshops for its members and media organisations in other parts of the region soon.
For more information, contact Nasik Swami on firstname.lastname@example.org