Exploring on the systemic gendered discrimination against women journalists, the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) conducted a webinar entitled, “I Want My Rights: A Discussion on the rights of women journalists as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and International Humanitarian Law (IHL).”
Aiming to educate people on their rights locally and internationally, the invited speakers specifically sought to shed light on the rights that people tend to overlook because of fear and prejudice, along with the media’s role in the said matters.
Speaker Sr. Lisa Ruedas of Pilgrims of Peace laid out the present state of affairs of the country, noting the disheartening human rights violations and inappropriate militarization brought by the Duterte administration.
“Militarizing peace and development are extremely wrong. Whenever the sides of exploited, marginalized, and underinsured are further oppressed from militarization and threats of violation of democratic and political rights, they tend to be silenced or assuaged by military funds or local government units. But historically, the most oppressed are only poverty-pure, who engage in the systems of armed conflict,” Ruedas said.
On the other hand, Atty. Josa Deinla of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers focused on the people’s rights under UDHR and IHL, such as the Right to Information, Intellectual Property Rights, etc.
Of all rights she mentioned, she crucially heeded the discussion of press freedom, spotlighting Rappler Chief Executive Officer Maria Ressa’s case as a prime example of the suppression of the journalist’s rights, which appalled the journalism community.
Furthermore, Atty. Deinla also labeled the discrimination against women as “systemic,” elaborating that “harassment against journalists have always been gendered.”
In addition, she then raised the concern of “digitization of harassment,” which impacted the liberty and profession of journalists, thus citing “red-tagging filled with sexual innuendos” as an example.
When asked about how women journalists can progress through apparent discrimination, such as not being granted beats despite being capable, Atty. Deinla elucidated to utilize Magna Carta for Women in protecting themselves.
“First of all, you have to know your right so when you are being arrested, you know what to assert,” she said, answering what to do when someone illegally arrests you for crimes, such as censorship.
An audience member also shared her experiences about illegal arrests, expressing how it is vital not to let those people get ahead of you by contacting your lawyer and family members to inform them about the predicament.
Concluding the program, Atty. Deinla encouraged everyone to promote and empower the decriminalization of libel to advance the rights of journalists all over the country.
Aside from the IAWRT, the Pilgrims for Peace, Altermidya, and the College Editors Guild (CUGP) of the Philippines were also among the presenters in the program.
The discussion was held on December 4 via Zoom, garnering journalists of different ages as audiences.