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Report Says Sexual Harassment Rife in Zimbabwe Newsrooms

A new report released Tuesday by unions representing journalists in Zimbabwe shows sexual harassment remains rife in the media, preventing women journalists from realising their potential.

The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) and the Federation of African Media Women of Zimbabwe (FAMWZ) launched the report calling for greater commitment by media institutions to address the problem of sexual harassment in the newsrooms and training institutions.

The report says most women journalists have been forced out of newsrooms and journalism training schools as a result of being sexually abused.

The report shows that some women are asked for sexual favours in exchange of employment or salary raises. Some are also threatened with dismissal if they refuse sexual advances.

Perpetrators of the recorded sexual violence are mainly those in positions of authority or influence such as editors and news editors.

The report also says the meaning of sexual harassment in the country is unclear and requires clarity. All newsrooms in the country, the report found, do not have gender policies or codes of conduct to address such issues.

Speaking at the launch, board member Virginia Muwanigwa of FAMWAZ, said the report is a good starting point for newsrooms to address sexual harassment.

Muwaningwa said media organisations should come up with gender policies that ensure tough penalties for perpetrators.
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Keynote speaker, Brian Mangwende, an editor at Alpha Media Holdings and member of the Zimbabwe National Editors Forum, echoed the same sentiments.

The report, titled “Sexual Harassment in the Media; Who Can I Tell, What Should I Do”, is expected to push media entrepreneurs in the country to do more as they seek to route sexual harassment from the newsrooms.