Magazine article Herizons

Russian Journalists Compare Notes on Covering Women

Magazine article Herizons

Russian Journalists Compare Notes on Covering Women

Article excerpt

(MOSCOW)The 30 women and three men sitting in a well-worn classroom at Moscow State University listened intently as a journalist told them about a rape in her community. The victim, a visiting psychologist who worked with female abuse survivors, unsuccessfully tried to persuade the police to prosecute her own case. But it wasn't until she called on women journalists to investigate that the police took action.

The story was an example of how the connections between women activists and media workers are being strengthened. It was one of the underlying themes of a Moscow conference from January 30 to February 3, 2002 that was funded by the Canadian International Development Agency.

Journalists and journalism professors came from all over Russia to discuss how the issue of "gender" -- a word that is difficult to translate into the Russian language -- relates to news coverage of women's issues to free and democratic media in a civil society.

Developing that society -- one free of government and business corruption -- is proving to be a difficult task.

The abrupt transition from Soviet communism to free market capitalism has left many Russian women, including journalists, scrambling to make a living.

Most Russian media ignore gender issues such as women's difficulties in the labour force, and sexism abounds in news copy, broadcast programming and advertising. It is also difficult to raise money to start new media for women. Yet, despite their difficulties, those who attended the conference persevere in producing publications and programs devoted to women's concerns. …

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