The Journalist of the Disability Portal Awarded a Prize for Ethical Reporting about Gender-based Violence

Text by the journalist of the Disability Portal, Marijana Canak, How Do Institutions Protect Women Survivors of Violence, has been awarded a special prize and reward at the competition Ethical Reporting about Gender-based Violence in the category of print/online media. The competition was organized by the Institute of Public Health of Vojvodina in cooperation with the Program Committee of the Mental Health Festival.

The reward for ethical reporting about gender-based violence has been awarded for the first time this year within the 6th Festival of Mental Health, with the aim to promote media reporting about violence which following the ethical codex could notably contribute to adequate informing and educating the citizens about gender-based violence and provide support to women with the experience in violence.

In the category of print/online media the main prize was given to Jelena Gligorijevic for her article Sexual Violence in The Petnica Research Center – Conspiracy of Silence that Lasted a Long Time, published in the weekly magazine Vreme. In the TV category Ilijana Barber has been rewarded for Higher Court in Novi Sad: a screen room for victims of violence, broadcast on the first program of Television of Vojvodina. In the radio category the editorial office of the podcast React of the Independent Association of Journalists of Vojvodina has won the prize for the show To Whom Intimacy Belongs.

Award winners and jury members

The members of the jury were: Tamara Srijemac, a journalist, Anne Marie Alves Curcic, a  journalist, prof. Dr. Smiljana Milinkov, an assistant professor at the Department of Media Studies at the Faculty of Philosophy in Novi Sad and Dragan Ilic, a psychologist and a journalist.

The awards were given at the online ceremony on December 23rd, where the organizers, jury members and awarded journalists talked about the significance, standards and challenges of ethical and responsible reporting about the phenomenon of gender-based violence and about the works that participated in the competition as examples of good practice.

– This award belongs to my interlocutors as much as it does to me. The text came to be on their initiative, from their courage and need to talk about their experience. When a woman addresses me with a desire to make their story public, I usually advise them to think it through one more time because, as a journalist, I cannot promise that the piece would bring to any practical change or justice, nor it would replace a part of what they lost while they were being let down and suffering injustice and humiliation in the so-called “support systems”. On the other hand, there is a long tradition of being silent and cover-ups in our society that leads nowhere. Simultaneously we are in a deficit of authentic women’s experience and voice. That is why it is significant to enable women to be heard. It is equally important that we can guarantee our interlocutors that they will have control over the story as long as we write it, that there will be no invasive issues or exploitation of their experience, that the story will preserve their dignity.  In that process, the central place does not belong to me as a journalist, but to the women I was talking to. I did not write about them, but with them, as an advocate for their human rights, among which is the right to live a life without fear and discrimination. From the media’s position, it is inadmissible to accept the treatment in the institutions as a usual thing and normalize it in any way. The media should contribute to the fact that the real experience of each woman is more important than the integrity of any institution – said Mariana Canak on the occasion of receiving the award.

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