Himalayan News Service

Lalitpur, June 16:

Electronic media are airing less than 5 per cent news about women and women’s issues, if a report titled ‘Electronic Media under Gender Lens’, compiled after a study conducted by Sancharika Samuha from mid-February to mid-March is to be believed. The report was prepared after monitoring through the gender-perspective lens the presentation of news, programmes on information as well as entertainment programmes and also all the advertisements beamed on Nepal Television, Channel Nepal and broadcast by Radio Nepal during prime time. The report pointed out, “Although women’s participation seems to be equal in the news presentation, in the reporting section it is men who are occupying 99 percent of the space.” Presenting the report, television anchor Arati Chataut said, “Eighty per cent of women are displayed as mere showpieces in advertisements, tele-serials and music videos.” She added that hardly 10 per cent of these programmes dealt with the changing image of women.

The survey report said less than 5 per cent women are represented in development and political issues. Their participation and presentation remains low in economics and sports too. The report said, advertisements display women as commodities and a part of the presentation. However, the advertisement of Pancha Kanya iron rod portrays women growing out of traditional roles. In the advertisement, folk singer Komal Oli talks about owning a house despite being a woman. The report recommended going in for gender neutral words while using phrases and words like for ‘man of the match’, ‘manpower’, chairman’ while addressing women. Chataut said, “The electronic media is however tilted towards patriarchal system. Gender equality is a parameter of development and media need to be sensitive towards gender issues and direct society for improvement.” Similar monitoring of electronic media was conducted in August 2004, and this follow-up showed the consideration by directors, producers, and presenters and the recommendations made earlier, the report said.

Though there has been improvement in presentation since August 2004, it is still a long and uphill hike, Chataut added.