Forum on Gender and the News Agenda

Mar 18th 2006

A fter three international media surveys held every five years since 1995, women are still practically invisible in the news. This was the finding of the Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) 2005, which was presented at a forum on gender and the news agenda held at the CFA auditorium last March 17, 2006. The Communication Foundation for Asia and the Asian Network of Women in Communication (ANWC) jointly organized the forum to mark International Women’s month.

CFA Executive Director Terry Hermano, who is also the ANWIC Coordinator, explained that GMMP is a study of women’s representation in the news on radio, TV and newspapers, done on the same day by hundreds of volunteer monitors in 70-78 countries all over the world. GMMP results showed that women were the 17% of the news subjects in the world study in 1995, 18% of the news subjects in 2000, and 22% in 2005. Women in the news tended to be victims of crimes or accidents, or they were celebrities or had no stated occupation.

Miriam College students in Communication Arts undertook the actual monitoring and coding of the news on the day designated by GMMP 2005. According to Lynda Garcia, the head of the Communication Arts Department at Miriam, the Philippine results were not much different from international results, despite the fact that the president of our country was a woman. In most Philippine newspapers and newscasts that day, the President was generally the only woman pictured and quoted on the front page or in headline news.

The presentation of the GMMP 2005 results was followed by a lively discussion involving Pennie Azarcon de la Cruz, columnist of The Sunday Inquirer, Luchi Cruz-Valdez, Current Affairs Director of ABS-CBN, Olive Tripon, Executive Director of Women’s Feature Service-Philippines and Yvonne Chua, Training Director of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. As senior media executives, they dissected the realities in Philippine media that served to obstruct women as well as the less advantaged from getting the attention and coverage that they need. la Cruz encouraged everyone to be passionate and vigilant in writing or speaking out their media needs and preferences, or their reactions to media output, “for unless you act, we media workers can only do so much.”

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