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Who can I tell? What should I do? Sexual harassment in the media
Federation of African Media Women - Zimbabwe (FAMWZ) & Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ)
March 2013

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Introduction and Background

For many years, women in the Zimbabwean media have been grappling with sexual harassment which has impacted on them personally and professionally. Sexual harassment is becoming an extensive problem in most newsrooms, because, over the years it has transformed from subtle hints to inappropriate behaviour and now to blatant propositions. Since the change in behaviour has been gradual it is being considered normal behaviour.

Journalists, and in particular female journalists are being sexually harassed at work by their colleagues and bosses and they have no idea what to do or where to turn.

They are not sure whether they should tell someone about the incident or even who they should tell in the newsroom. They are further traumatised when they go out on assignment and are harassed by their news sources. When the journalists go back to the newsroom and report these incidents, they are ridiculed or ignored. They are told to “deal with it” or “get over it” since it is one of the professional hazards that a journalist has to deal with. Sometimes the sexual harassment complaint is used to condemn the ability of female journalists to carry out their work competently.

It is even more difficult to address issues of sexual harassment when decision makers in the media deny the existence and prevalence of sexual harassment. Young female journalists who have just entered the profession or are working as interns are particularly vulnerable. Media organisations have policies which are very clear but they are not adhered to because the committees usually appointed to deal with the cases are inadequately equipped to handle such matters.

Subsequently the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists and the Federation of African Media Women Zimbabwe jointly launched a campaign against sexual harassment in the media as part of World Press Freedom Day Commemorations on May 3 2012, as a way to raise awareness of sexual harassment within the media.

FAMWZ and ZUJ have compiled this booklet as part of their strategic campaign to assist media organisations reflect on and begin to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace. The booklet defines sexual harassment, types of harassment and policies and procedures that media organisations can put in place to assist their male and female staff.

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Visit the Federation of African Media Women - Zimbabwe fact sheet

Visit the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists fact sheet

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