IAWRT Regional Conference 2023 Report
Theme: Creating Safe and Productive Spaces for Media Women
Date and Venue: The International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) Regional Conference 2023 took place at the Franco Hotel in Yaounde, Cameroon, spanning from the 16th to the 17th of November 2023. The overarching theme of the conference was "Creating Safe and Productive Spaces for Media Women."
Attendance: This significant gathering brought together over 50 journalists from seven regions of Cameroon, convening under the auspices of the Minister of Post and Telecommunication. The conference adopted a hybrid format, with the first day being on-site and the second day conducted online. The technical team from Open Dreams played a pivotal role in ensuring the diffusion of the events to those unable to attend in person due to geographical barriers.
Opening Remarks: The conference commenced with an opening remark by the distinguished President of IAWRT Cameroon, Tchonko Becky Bissong, setting the stage for a day of insightful discussions and collaborative efforts.
Keynote Addresses: The Representative of the President of the National Communication Council followed with a discussion on the invaluable contributions of media women in countering the proliferation of hate speech. Emphasizing IAWRT's three pillars—Train, Digitalize, and Secure—the President highlighted the essential role of media women in fostering a safer digital space.
Armand Claude ABANDA, Resident Representative of Institut Africain D'informatique IAI-Cameroon, shared insights into digital safety and the collaborative partnership with IAWRT to enhance digital skills for women in media. The proposed solutions to combat cyberviolence included advocating for governmental legislation, providing technical support for women, enhancing their digital skills, and implementing strategies such as disabling comment sections to mitigate negative messages.
A distinguished guest speaker from UN Women, a global agency dedicated to empowering women, elaborated on contributions towards creating creative and safe spaces for media women in Cameroon. The audience was encouraged to access additional information on their website: http://www.unwomen.org.
The Minister of Women's Empowerment provided an overview of the strides made by the Cameroonian government in promoting ICT among women, underlining the commitment to gender-inclusive technological progress.
Educational Session: Dr. Michelle Ferrier, the President of the IAWRT Board, delivered a compelling lesson to women in media in the digital era. Emphasizing the effective use of social media as a tool for journalistic contribution, she underscored the importance of digital literacy and strategic engagement in the evolving media landscape.
Interactive Session: The subsequent question/answer and contributions session revolved around Gender-Based Violence on social media. Noteworthy suggestions emerged, including extending gender-based support across both traditional and modern social media platforms and fostering partnerships with organizations to raise awareness about the impact of gender-based violence.
International Insights: The conference concluded with insights from experienced trainers from Kenya, Uganda, and Afghanistan, sharing their experiences in enhancing digital skills for women in media safety. Their valuable perspectives enriched the discourse and provided a global context for the challenges and opportunities faced by women in media.
In summary, the IAWRT Regional Conference 2023 served as a pivotal platform for knowledge exchange, collaboration, and collective efforts towards fostering a secure and productive environment for women in media. The diverse range of topics covered and the participation of esteemed speakers and attendees underscored the significance of empowering women in the ever-evolving digital landscape.
Fabiola Fikoue | Open Dreams