Kathmandu, August 27
Working journalists, persons from media fraternity and stakeholders have stressed the need to create women-friendly environment and infrastructure in media houses.
Speaking at a programme organised by Freedom Forum, many speakers underscored the need to make media houses women-friendly.
As per the Freedom Forum’s report, of the major news with bylines of nine national dailies, only nine per cent of such bylines were of female journalists in 2017 and 2018. Such bylines had increased to 12 per cent in the first six months of 2019.
Participants in the programme also said that media houses should formulate written guidelines and adopt media ethics to increase the number of female journalists.
Many female journalists at the programme said that despite their professional expertise, lack of trust in women journalists had hindered their professional growth. Chairperson of Working Women Journalist Amika Rajkhala said, “Many female journalists, despite being capable and having years of experience, are limited to the social beat as they are not trusted to cover major news stories.”
Similarly, Nanu Khadka of Freedom Forum said news rooms in Nepali media houses lacked breastfeeding rooms for lactating women journalists and women-friendly washrooms. Other female journalists said lack of women-friendly environment in newsrooms had kept women from pursuing their career in journalism.
However, Editor of The Himalayan Times Prakash Rimal said no news beat could be categorised as mainstream as every news beat had its own importance.
He also said there might be many women journalists working in senior posts, so research work should include these women too.
Chairperson of Freedom Forum Hari Binod Adhikari, expressing solidarity with female journalists, said that there should be equal participation of male and female journalists in media houses.
According to the Department of Information, of the 3,363 journalists registered with it, only around 16 per cent of them (534) are female journalists, and 2,829 of them are men.
Similarly, of the 460 registered editors only 48 (around 12 per cent) of them are female editors.
Of the 292 freelance reporters registered with the DoI only seven of them are female and of the 140 registered photo journalists, only four are female photo journalists.
A version of this article appears in print on August 28, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.