The Broadcasting Code for Audio-Visual Media in Albania Amended to Promote Gender Equality and Non-Discrimination in the Media
The Broadcasting Code for Audio-Visual Media in Albania will include a dedicated chapter on gender equality and non-discrimination. In collaboration with UN Women, the Audio-visual Media Authority, presented the initiative and discussed the draft chapter with journalists and civil society representatives in two separate consultative meetings. Participants welcomed the new proposal and made concrete recommendations to further strengthen the prevention of gender-based discrimination in audio-visual media.
“The focus is to promote gender equality, prevent gender discrimination and combat sexism in audio-visual media, without compromising freedom of expression and freedom of the media,” stated Ms Armela Krasniqi, Head of the Audio-Visual Media Authority.
“UN Women is proud of this achievement which builds on several years of work with a very engaged group of journalists, members of our Media Forum, as well as on the joint advocacy efforts with women’s civil society organisations regarding the role of media and the regulatory authority in tackling gender equality issues and ending violence against women,” highlighted Estela Bulku, National Programme Officer at UN Women.
Journalists attending the consultation also insisted on the importance of holding media outlets accountable for the observance of the Broadcasting Code.
Erjona Rusi, a senior journalist, stated that this is a new chapter that marks a very positive step forward; however, it is just the beginning of a very long journey on the path to changing the pervasive culture in our media regarding the way women and girls are portrayed. “It will take a lot of work until the set of principles provided in the Code become internal rules and regulations adopted and applied by every broadcaster and newsroom. As such, I think stronger sanctions are needed until this is achieved,” Ms Rusi stated at the consultation meeting.
Journalists also noted the need for media professionals to continuously undergo training on basic concepts of gender equality and gender discrimination, to transform the narrative and the way women are depicted in the media.
The proposed revisions to the Code will be subject to extensive stakeholders consultations to improve the portrayal of women and girls in audio-visual media and to help overcome stereotypes, discrimination, hate speech, sexism and privacy violations.
Ms. Krasniqi explained that this proposal is based on international conventions Albania has already ratified, as well as on recommendations on the protection of women’s rights. “We have the obligation to respect the standards regarding prohibition of gender-based discrimination and the promotion of gender equality,” she stated.
The amendments to the Broadcasting Code are the result of long lasting advocacy by UN Women, as part of the Joint UN Programme to End Violence against Women in Albania, funded by the Government of Sweden.