Harmful Media Narratives an impediment to SGBV survivors’ access to justice

Media narratives that promote gender stereotypes and disinformation greatly hinder the capacity of survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) to get justice. Stand to End Rape Initiative (STER) and WITNESS Africa just launched a media reporting guide to support effective media coverage of SGBV in Nigeria. 

The coverage of SGBV in Nigerian media has significantly risen in recent years. However, unethical reporting that harms survivors of SGBV even more, is widespread. Sensationalised headlines and visuals, language that blames the victims, and terms like “sex scandal” distort the crime of rape and foster a culture of shame and silence.

The media is critical in dismantling rape culture, protecting survivors, and fighting for justice and accountability. However, media practitioners, including bloggers, must ensure they do not become a vehicle for perpetuating disinformation that protects the perpetrators – Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi, Executive Director, STER

The reporting of SGBV in the media affects how society views this type of violence. Thus, there is a need for responsible and transformational media coverage of SGBV, particularly by influencers and bloggers who work in new media. 

The media, including social media, has demonstrated great potential to mobilise support against sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). However, viable disinformation incendiaries limit the collective impact of civil society actors and well-meaning individuals in eliminating SGBV and have significantly contributed to the injustice experienced by survivors – Nkem Agunwa, Africa Project Coordinator, WITNESS

The guide offers helpful guidelines through case study analysis to ensure that journalists and other stakeholders in the media ecosystem prioritise ethical considerations that centre on survivors in their reporting.

Download now: SGBV Reporting Guide

Contact: africa@witness.org


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