On Tuesday, January 23, 2018, the Iraqi Women Journalists Forum held a dialogue seminar on the role of the media in supporting women candidates for elections, in cooperation with the governorate council of Thi-Qar and “Sawtoha” network for human rights women defenders.
The seminar, which was moderated by Nada Talib, a member of the Board of Directors of the Forum, included the definition of the seminar’s axes and its aim, especially with the approaching elections and a speech by a member of the Thi-Qar governorate Council, Mr. Shahid Al-Ghalbi, during which he spoke about the role of civil society in supporting the electoral process in the field of education and promotion of election. He also emphasized on the importance of activating such seminars specialized in media and women, noting that the Forum has made several achievements in this regard, thanking all the efforts made by its members.
The speech of “Sawtoha” network for human rights women defenders, Ms. Eman Al-Amin, focused on the objectives of establishing the network and the role of the forum in the integration of more than 90 organizations for the purpose of networking and the achievement of extraordinary collective work in the provinces of Iraq in addition to Kurdistan region.
The papers presented at the symposium were divided into two axes: the role of the media in supporting the candidate women, which were presented by Ms. Nibras Al-Maouri, President of the IWJF, where she explained the problems faced by the media during the last election campaign, which were divided between inaccuracy of information and lack of fairness, also the lack of professionalism in dealing with the election programs, in addition to not taking the social type under consideration in the coverage of the media, the responsibility of which falls on the media and the heads of political parties and entities, Mrs. Al-Mamouri also added that the candidate women need training on media appearance and choosing the proper media strategy according to her environment and abilities. Al-Mamouri concluded that there should be coordination between the media and the electoral commission to develop a gender-sensitive media strategy that would give candidate women enough space to appear and spread.
The second axe, which dealt with the experience of women’s political participation in Dhi Qar, was reviewed by the head of the Tamkeen Center for Participation and Equality, Ms. Alia Abdul Kadhim, in which she discussed the representation of women in the governorate council and their roles and challenges faced from society, media and politics especially with the raise of suicide accidents and exclusion cases suffered by women in Thi-Qar. Alia concluded with a number of recommendations distributed between the need for the head of the bloc to play a role in the life of women candidates and the role of the media in raising awareness and mobilizing public opinion and legislation that ensures the dignity and rights of Women stipulated in the Constitution.
The symposium also included an extensive discussion with the audience and the researchers on how to implement the recommendations that came in the papers. The President of the Provincial Council, Mr. Hamid Al-Ghazi, played a role in praising the session and commented on the recommendations, stressing on the fact that what was presented was very important and could be considered as a map of action, and praised the ideas presented by Mrs. Nibras Al-Maamouri, in this regard, and the role played by the Forum, especially in selecting the city of Nasiriyah to launch the campaigns concerning women in the elections.
This symposium comes within the activities of the IWJF in the defending and supporting campaigns in cooperation with the National Fund for Democracy Support NED.