WACC hosted a consultation from Feb. 11 to 13 in Nairobi with partners and organisations with shared interests to discuss WACC's new strategic plan and inform its work for the future.
Titled "Communication Rights and Public Voices," the consultation was opened on Feb. 11 by All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) General Secretary Dr Andre Karamaga and WACC Africa President the Rev Dave Wanless. WACC Deputy General Secretary and Director of Programmes Lavinia Mohr and WACC Programme Manager Dr. Sarah Macharia outlined the consultation's purpose and objectives.
WACC's strategic plan is intended to guide its work until 2016, mandating a concentrated focus on work to strengthen "public voices and participation of poor, marginalized, excluded and dispossessed people and communities in communication."
Specifically, a major goal is to increase access to public communication for poor, marginalized, excluded and dispossessed people. Along these lines, the Nairobi consultation discussed increasing the participation of women in community radio, which has the potential to advance democratic participation and active citizenship of marginalised people and communities.
WACC has supported the establishment and strengthening of community radios and their networks across the Global South over many years. While these stations promote the communication rights of local communities and marginalized groups in general, the benefits for women in particular are less evident, with respect to their participation in content production, management and decision-making.
Continuing with the theme of gender inclusiveness, the consultation discussed the next steps for WACC's Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP), which is scheduled to produce its next study in 2015.
Since 1995, the GMMP has taken the pulse of the status of gender in the world news media in 5-year intervals. The GMMP is a research and advocacy initiative involving grassroots groups, university researchers, women’s rights civil society organisations, media professionals, and others, participating on a voluntary basis.
The first GMMP in 1995 was intended to provide a one-day snapshot of the portrayal and representation of women and men in the world news media. Volunteers in 71 countries collected data from their local print, television and radio news media. By 2005, the GMMP had evolved to include advocacy for gender balance as an integral component of professionalism, balance and fairness in media practice. The 2010 GMMP attracted groups in 108 countries and saw the introduction of Internet news monitoring on a pilot basis.
New partnerships with mainstream media professionals engaged in promoting gender ethics as part of professional practice have emerged from the media monitoring work. An initiative by WACC and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) resulted in the publication of a learning resource kit on gender ethics in journalism in 2012, placing practical tools on gender-ethical media policy development and journalistic practice at the disposal of media decision makers and practitioners.