The Center for Protection of Afghan Woman Journalists (CPAWJ) is launching a campaign titling ‘Vote for those candidates who support and defend the rights of female journalists’ today, September 26th, another move following previous measures like the ‘Prohibition of Female Journalists in Media Outlets’ campaign.
This campaign aims to help women take more part in the election and support those men candidates who defend women’s rights in general and the woman journalists in particular. The campaign also wants the next representatives fulfill shortages in the laws. Most of Afghanistan’s laws are not perfect regarding the women’s rights, especially the rights of female reporters have not been clarified.
Violence against women had jumped 87 per cent last year, according to reports released by the United Nations, that says most of perpetrators of violence against women were not punished, besides the vacuum of law.
The Center for Protection of Afghan Woman Journalists, according to its daily job, relying on a research launched last year on the situation of female reporters, had expressed concerns over the increase of violence against female journalists. The bad situation of women’s conditions and increase different types of violence against them, have hindered female journalists and other ladies’ presence in the society.
The center offers following suggestions in order to resolve the mentioned problems. The center calls on the new lawmakers to include these suggestions in the law when they take office in the next round of parliament.
The existing law on the prohibition of violence against women has some shortages and needs to be perfect to fight against violence and harassment of women. This law lacks specific explanations of women’s harassment. For example; in the fifth article of this law, 21 cases are called violence that is not clear and harassment is not defined either.
This law needs to include all the international conventions that Afghanistan has signed such as the convention of remove every kind of discrimination against woman which was signed by Afghanistan in 2003 and has comprehensive descriptions on the violence and harassment against women.
The new law should have clear description on the sexual harassment like any unpleasant sexual things: verbal, nonverbal and sexual (use of vulgar words and jokes with sexual subjects, physical touching, creating fear and inconvenience, indirect words and obscene looking, following, getting closer to woman’s body, promising to employ or promote with sex demands and online or phone bothering of woman) should be described and punishment should be considered for each.
The new law should guarantee women’s empowerment through employing female journalists based on merit, their mandatory presence in making decisions and including experienced ladies in the leading of media.
The new law should guarantee equality of women’s rights and safety, particularly the female reporters in the offices and reporting areas.
The new law should define punishment and condemnation for the perpetrators of sexual harassment in the offices that include media outlets as well in order to reduce these bad, immoral and unprofessional acts.
The new law should support creating of a committee for investigating and assessment of complaints related to sexual harassment against female reporters and other media workers inside and outside offices.
The Center for Protection of Afghan Woman Journalists believes that supporting women’s rights means supporting freedom of media in the country’s young democracy. Female journalists who work along their other sisters in the society, need their rights be guaranteed so they could take more active part in the development process.
We invite all of this round of parliament’s candidates to support and defend the campaign launched by the Center for Protection of Afghan Woman Journalists and its suggestions over some changed in the law that helps removal of discrimination against women.
We call on all of the country’s women especially journalists and other female media workers, civil society and human rights organizations as well as media to raise this voice for legalizing women and female journalists’ rights: “Vote for those representatives who support the rights of female journalists!”
The Reporters without Borders, international organization of defending media freedom and the center for protection of Afghan woman journalists have announced support of this campaign.
Also, in the September 26th news conference, nine parliamentary candidates (six ladies and three men) announced support of the campaign.