Media Assessment Reveals Low Women Role

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MONROVIA, March 29 (LINA) - A media assessment carried out by the Liberia Association of Research Fellows (LARF) has revealed that there is low participation of women in the mainstream media in Liberia.

Delivering the research findings on Friday at the Ministry of Information, , LARF Coordinator and Chairman of the Mass Communication Department of the University of Liberia, Professor Weade Kobbah-Wureh said the Liberia Media Assessment Project was based on UNESCO”s Media Development Indicator.

Friday’s meeting was intended to validate to finding of the research.

According to Prof. Wureh, the assessment reveals that of the total number of media practitioners in Liberia, women constitute only 21 percent, with only few occupying senior level administrative positions.

The report also shows that of the total of 270 members of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) for 2014, only 37 or 13.7 percent are women, while there is no woman in the current leadership of the PUL.

Prof. Wureh also disclosed that out of the total 190 employees of the state-owned Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS), there are 28 females, with only three occupying key managerial positions, including Deputy Director General for Administration, Comptroller and Acting Director for Television. 

According to the Liberia News Agency, out of 31 employees in every news department in Liberia, only five are women with reportorial duties, while there are no programs for women heard on a station which broadcasts 18 hours daily.

According to the UL professor, similar situation exist at all privately-owned radio, television and newspaper entities, except for the Liberian Women Democracy Radio (LWDR), Fanima Broadcasting Corporation and Radio Marwopnet located in Monrovia and Grand Cape Mount respectively.

Radio Marwopnet and LWDR are women-owned and managed radio stations, while Fanima has a female manager.

LWDR employs 60 percent women and 40 percent men as a matter of policy, to promote the development of poor grassroots women and to strengthen women in media, research and advocacy.

Prof. Wureh said the Media Assessment report also shows that of the total of 100 private and community radio stations operating in the country, there are only three women serving as station managers, while there are only one female manager and one female editor in the over 30  newspapers operating in the country.

According to Prof. Wureh, the report reveals that women are poorly represented in relation to ownership, business management and board positions, noting that only few media institutions are structured to have Boards of Directors.

She named the following media institutions that have low women representation on their boards as LBS, Radio Veritas, LIWOMAC, Sky Communications, Radio Marwopnet, Heritage Newspaper and the Analyst Newspapers.

According to the report, LBS has nine board members (six males and three females), Radio Veritas has seven members (six males and one female), LIWOMAC five members (two males and three females), and Sky Communications has five members (three males and two females).

Radio Marwopnet has nine members (four males and five females), Heritage Newspaper has five members (four males and one female), while Analyst Newspapers has five members (four males and one female).

She called on participants at the sitting to make meaningful inputs to the report as it is going through its validation stage before it is finally submitted to UNESCO, sponsors of the research, for intervention.