By Allan Kai
The Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK), in conjunction with the Kenya Community Media Network, on Tuesday held a workshop on sexual harassment in the media industry in Mombasa. The event was attended by journalists and media professionals from various media houses in the county, and aimed to raise awareness about the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace.
AMWIK, in collaboration with partners such as Article 19 and the PROTECT – Kenya Project, has developed a model sexual harassment policy that they hope will be adopted by media houses that do not have a mechanism to handle sexual harassment in the workplace.
Tom Mboya, the national coordinator of Kenya Community Media Network, highlighted the importance of having a sexual harassment policy in place, as it is a requirement by law for any organization with over 20 employees. “The issue of sexual harassment in media is an issue globally, and Kenyan journalists are equally affected. We have realized that some media houses do not have a sexual harassment policy in place, which is concerning,” he said.
Lilian Museka, programs officer for AMWIK, reiterated the issue of sexual harassment in the Kenyan media as an issue that needs urgent attention. “Kenyan media houses are leading in Africa on sexual harassment at 79%. Organizational awareness and lack of proper reporting systems, among other factors, contribute to failure in resolving these cases,” she said.
“Sexual harassment has no place in our industry, and it is our collective responsibility to create an environment where all employees feel safe and respected,” she added.
During the workshop, participants were educated on the various forms of sexual harassment, including verbal, physical, and psychological abuse. The discussion also delved into the impact of sexual harassment on victims and the importance of creating safe and inclusive workplaces.
The workshop will continue throughout the week with AMWIK visiting select media houses to offer training on sexual harassment. The visits seek to have the organizations adopt the model policy, which they can tailor to their specific organizations.
“So far three stations have adopted the policy and domesticated it. These are Pamoja FM in Nairobi, Luwasi FM in Nyanza, and Radio Rahma here at the coast. This week we are going to visit some stations in Mombasa, that is, Raia TV, Boss TV, Blue Radio, and Baraka FM to sensitize them on sexual harassment and offer them the model policy so they can adopt and domesticate it for themselves.” Said Mr. Mboya.
It is hoped that the workshop will lead to concrete actions being taken by media houses to create a safer and more inclusive workplace for all media professionals and to ensure that the issue of sexual harassment is addressed effectively.