Prominent experts from the media, politics and NGOs called upon the media to step up their efforts for gender equality and diversity at the Global Media Forum. A panel, hosted by the network Gender@International Bonn, focused on the challenges of gender-transformative journalism in the “post-truth” world and explored its capacity to help build a more peaceful, just and inclusive society.

Ines Pohl, editor-in-chief of Deutsche Welle, stressed that “the special rights the media have and the special access to information come with the duty to make it clear in the stories we tell that ‘all human beings are equal’ – again and again.”

Carmen Perez, national co-chair of the U.S. “Women’s March” initiative, emphasized that “we need both mainstream media and social media to support gender equality,” adding, “a lot of people still rely on the former when it comes to getting their information. So we need to be fluid and be in both spaces. And we also need to be recording and reporting our stories in real-time in both places. One cannot replace the other.”

“Media is one of the most crucial social tools at our disposal, able to transform the gender landscape by empowering women through advocacy, building stronger relations and changing the structures of power,” said Albana Shala, chairperson of UNESCO International Programme for the Development of Communication. “We need to establish coalitions with influential editors and managers who will be the champions of gender equality in and through media.”

For Catherine Nyambura, Regional Program Advocacy Associate of FEMNET from Kenya, the ever-growing importance of new media cannot be emphasized enough: “Social and digital media offer an opportunity to amplify voices at a time when the backlash and pushback on gender equality and women’s empowerment in real and civic space in many countries is getting worse. We recognize that social media offers a platform for solidarity and concerted efforts – especially now when resources are limited.”

Michelle Demishevich, a transgender journalist from Turkey, raised the issue of discrimination against the LGBTI community in her home country, especially in the media industry. She urged international media to give a voice to those who are oppressed in Turkey for no other reason than their gender identity.

The panel, moderated by DW’s awarding-winning TV journalist Jaafar Abdul-Karim, was organized by network members of Gender@International Bonn: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Deutsche Welle, the State Chancellery of North Rhine-Westphalia and UN Women National Committee Germany.

Video of the discussion: