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Gender & Sexuality In Media: How Is It Reported?

At O. P. Jindal Global University, Sonīpat, India
On 26th October 2017 noon - 4 p.m.


Journalists, writer, editors (iike majority of us) are socialized in ways where we are often incognizant to the diversity around us. This is one of the major obstacles to the diverse portrayal of people (including their voices) marginalized on the basis of caste, class, region, ability, gender identity, and sexual orientation. How mainstream media talks, writes, represents and reports on these issues makes a huge impact on how people perceive it. This is especially true for issues and voices of people from communities/sections of our populations that have routinely struggled to register a blip on media’s radar. This workshop will explore how Indian mainstream media has misrepresented and misreported on 2 inter-related issues:

Gender and gender based violence: There has been a frenzy of media reportage about sexual violence in India, especially post the heavily reported Delhi gang-rape case in 2012. While it is important to continuously speak about the abysmal state of women’s safety in the country as well as report on the sexual violence that occurs, the tone of sexual violence reportage is often insensitive and voyeuristic. The media fails to locate each incident of sexual violence within the larger structures of power and violence that exist in the social fabric, and instead charts each incident as isolated and sensationalized, often with unnecessary details about the survivor, such as her relationship with the abuser or what she was wearing, further reinforcing victim-blaming attitudes in its audience. It is deeply necessary to report on sexual violence in a manner that is sensitive to the survivor, and respectful of their privacy and dignity.

Gender and Sexuality: In India, the LGBTQIA+ movement was largely underground during the 1980s and 1990s. Only in the the 2000s saw a very strong emergence of LGBTQIA voices, and reportage on these issues saw a sea-change. Earlier, the reportage was mostly limited to a few dailies and tabloids. However with empathetic reporting and sensitive journalism, yellow and tabloid writing has always dogged the media. Misreporting, revealing of identities of sensitive cases, perpetuating homophobic standpoints is just the tip of the iceberg. Media needs to be more responsible while reporting on marginalized and disenfranchised communities, because they become the proxy voice for those living in the shadows, with no access to basic civil or legal rights.

Expected outcomes The four hours workshop is especially designed for young journalists and writers who want to report on gender and sexuality issues with greater awareness and nuance. The workshop will help students: -To understand basic gender-sexuality terms and concepts -To understand flaws in reporting on issues of gender, sexuality and gender-based-violence and improve their skills to report on these issues in a sensitive and accurate manner, particularly in print & digital media. -To learn the best way to visually represent stories on gender, sexuality, and gender-based violence


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