OSCE’s Handbook on media reporting on gender-based violence against women

On 8 December, the OSCE Mission to Montenegro published a document Handbook on media reporting on gender-based violence against women, a guide for media professionals on how to report about gender-based violence against women and girls in line with ethical principles and standards. National TV stations, newspapers, news portals and local broadcasters in Montenegro have received copies of the handbook.

Reporting on incidences of violence against women and girls is highly sensitive and can have a significant impact on the survivors’ lives, as well as influence public opinion and policy makers. It has the potential to shed light on the root causes of violence against women and girls, promote positive social and gender norms, and help in risk mitigation through the provision of essential information to victims. It is crucial for journalists to report on cases of violence and eradicate the stigma around it. Too often media reports on violence against women are insensitive and encourage secondary victimization of survivors.

The handbook emphasizes that the media should avoid sensationalism and refrain from promoting harmful stereotypes about women. A particularly problematic method of reporting is highlighting and elaborating on “reasons” the abuser, who is often the partner, had, such as envy, rejection, poverty, loss of employment, or addiction, where the responsibility for violence is shared or even shifted from the abuser to the survivor.

This handbook encourages journalists to approach violence against women and girls as a social problem, which in reporting on it, raises awareness and addresses how to respond to it responsibly. It clarifies major concerns in reporting, shatters myths that influence how violence is reported, and formulates clear, practical principles and recommendations to set new standards and enhance existing ones.

Building on this handbook, the Mission will continue to support students and journalists to further enhance their capacities to report on gender-based violence.  

Reference from the official website of the OSCE