Workshop brings local media and LGBTI activists together in South Africa

Activists learn how to pitch stories to media

Journalists discuss the challenges of reporting on GBV.

Panel discussion on the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.

Equal treatment and fair reporting practices, regardless of sexual orientation/identity or gender, are a priority for the Government of Canada both at home and abroad. In the promotion of these values, our High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa is committed to offering opportunities for education and community-based planning for groups affected by gender-based violence.

Ahead of November’s ‘16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence’, the High Commission, supported a two-day workshop bringing local media and community-based organizations together to discuss the challenges of reporting on gender-based violence against the South African's Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community.

LGBTI groups and local media were brought together during the workshop which promoted healthier relationships between the two. Local media were also encouraged to improve the quality of future news coverage on the subject of gender-based violence.

While South Africa provides some of the most robust and progressive LGBTI laws and protections in Africa, gender-based violence remains a daily occurrence and LGBTI issues continue to be poorly understood and reported.  

We engaged the affected LGBTI community and local media to address two sides of the gender-based violence issue. The first day’s programming focused on training the LGBTI activists on crafting a media message, preparing for an interview and on using local media as an ally and a platform for positive advocacy.

At the same time, we aimed to educate the group of twelve community journalists and editors on the severity of the issue and on methods of reporting and appropriate language for future coverage.

The sessions were very productive and both groups felt they had improved their respective understanding of how to better utilize the media as an asset and the challenges and dangers facing South Africa’s LGBTI community.

Two dozen activists and journalists were placed in working-groups the following day to create a recommendation of best practices for future reporting on LGBTI issues and gender-based violence stories.

As a direct result of these discussions, the High Commission was proud to co-publish Guidelines for covering LGBTI issues - a poster including definitions, interview protocols, ethics, and accepted terminology, which was then circulated around newsrooms and community organizations in preparation for November’s ’16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence’.

Events like this and the publication are representative of Canada’s support to South Africa in the protection human rights and the promotion of acceptance to sexual diversity.