Out & Proud Media Training. Covering Gender and Sexual Minorities

7-8 March 2022, Johannesburg

Journalists need to navigate with care around diversity issues to avoid stirring up intolerance and to provide balanced, inclusive and informed coverage. SADC media tends to sensationalise any stories related to LGBTI issues and to present an unfair reflection of the LGBTI community. It is often noted that media highlights sexuality in stories where it is not relevant, creating a sense of “otherness.” This also perpetuates stereotypes that construct the LGBTI community as hyper-sexed. In extreme situations, such as in Uganda and Malawi, media reports have crossed serious ethical lines, calling for the arrest and murder of LGBTI people. LGBTI people in Eswatini, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and elsewhere in Southern Africa and around the world, continue to face discrimination, marginalization, exclusion, and violence in their everyday lives. Journalists need to increase the understanding of their role in the promotion of human rights, hate speech management tools, and correct representation of LGBTI issues, in addition to access to more direct stories on LGBTI human rights defenders. Ensuring fair representation, combating discrimination and intolerance, and improving coverage of sexual and gender minorities requires journalists and media houses to build a sustainable future for journalism and a communication landscape that LGBTI people and activists can trust.

In this framework, the Project Out and Proud: LGBTI equality and rights in Southern Africa, co-founded by the European Union and implemented by a network of local and international civil society organizations, is promoting a wide and integrated range of media engagement activities in the focus countries in which the programme is implemented (Zimbabwe, Malawi and Eswatini) and at regional level. This has included the publication of a LGBTI Media Guide and the promotion of media reportages that can positively influence narratives and create awareness around LGBTI issues.

As next step, a two-day training workshop will be organised for Southern African Journalists selected according to a regional representation, a balance among media outlets and track records in reporting on LGBTI issues. The journalists and media practitioners will be trained and have an open dialogue on hate speeches and hate crimes against LGBTI persons in Southern Africa, prejudices and stereotypes and the effects thereof. The workshops will address topics linked to ethical journalism, human rights reporting, SOGIE (sexual orientation and gender identity and expression) language and concepts, safety and sensitivity of data and sources, among others. Some LGBTI resource persons will participate to the workshop to foster the dialogue and share stories and live experiences.

Out & Proud Media Training Programme