GBV: Journalists must be agents of behavioural change

Journalists in Bulawayo have been urged to be sensitive when reporting on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and produce stories that will promote behaviour change.  

This came out during a training workshop that was organised by the Women Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) on Friday.  

The world is currently commemorating the 16 days of GBV under the 2020 global theme, ‘Orange the world: fund, respond, prevent, collect!”

The workshop facilitator, Busisiwe Bhebhe, who is also a director of Amakhosikazi Media said GBV is a silent pandemic that affects both genders. 

“GBV is a silent pandemic that doesn’t only affect women but man too, so when we are writing we need to find out whether our story is just a news item, for example, a Zimbabwean man killed his wife and children, that was a gruesome murder and its easy to write it as a news item just to inform people but there is a way also that we could tell it that could change communities’ attitude towards how they deal with  GBV issues and it is in telling that story in such a way that we are advocating for change,” said Bhebhe.

WILD Information and Communications Officer Duduzile Mathema said journalists have a role in promoting behavioural change in communities. 

“It is our hope that through the training, we can actually notice a change in the manner in which our media is actually capturing stories that relate to GBV,” said Mathema.

“Most of the stories that are being written these days on 16 days of activism are programmatic because everyone knows that from November 25 to 10 December is 16 days of activism, so as journalist what is our interest in covering GBV are we interested in covering it as a news items, as an advocacy item to change the attitudes or as a programmatic item.”

Women organisations have noted an increase in GBV cases since the introduction of the national lockdown in March. 

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