Each event brought together over 40 participants including women leaders and community radio editors and reporters. The discussions focused on issues such as the constitution review and role of the media in pushing the Liberian women’s agenda, sexual violence and gender sensitive news coverage. Findings from community consultative rape forums, as well as the result of a survey done on Women’s Access to the Media and women’s constitutional advocacy agenda were highlighted.
In particular, findings from the Women’s Access to Media Survey funded by UNDEF indicated that although women claim to receive news and information on women issues, the frequency at which such news is received is very low. 48.5% of respondents say they receive news occasionally, while 133 respondents (86 females and 47 males) say they receive news sometimes. Only 61 respondents receive news daily, while 41 receive news 2 to 3 times weekly. It also revealed that women are still largely absent from news stories.
Regarding sexual violence, women leaders attending the dialogue which took place in Ganta, Nimba County, criticized the media for treating the issue with indifference. Making reference to findings from the rape consultative forums, they confirmed that incidence of rape in the county was very high and challenged media representatives at the meeting to take action to help curtail the problem. The rape consultations were earlier organized by a team of IREX and LIWOMAC staff with funding from USAID and Womankind Worldwide. It was part of an effort which sought to identify “practical solutions to rape in Liberia.”