Sancharika Samuha (SAS) Nepal has commenced a 'Nationwide Research on the Status of Women Journalists in Nepal' since January 2014. The main objective of the research is to identify the exact status of women journalists across the country. The research was precipitated by the absence of reliable data on the number of women journalists working throughout the country. This shows the need for commissioning a thorough study on the quantitative and qualitative parts of women journalists. A similar Research on the status of women journalists in Nepal was conducted by SAS in 2005, but there has been no such study since then in Nepal.
SAS, being the forum of women journalists and communicators in Nepal, felt the need for updating situation of women journalists and began the research. The research is being conducted to access their number, the nature of media they are involved in and their working status, the trend of their entry and exit from the profession and its causes and consequences on the individual journalists, their families, journalism sector and the society as a whole. This would contribute to forming, reforming and implementing the state policies and laws governing the rights of female journalists in particular and journalists in general.
SAS has so far developed research forms and formats in consultation with senior journalists comprising male and female, teachers of journalism, representatives of journalists' organizations and media experts. Orientation has been given to research assistants in Western and Mid-western Development Regions and data has been collected and entered from those regions. SAS will soon start analyzing data once it gets from rest of the development regions which are being collected.
Previously SAS had conducted a research on the 'Status of Women Journalists Working in the Kathmandu Valley' in 2011. As the title of the study suggests, the research provided a window on the situation of women journalists working in different media operating from the Kathmandu Valley. SAS, despite its aspiration to cover the entire nation, had to confine the scope of the study to the Valley alone due to time and resource constraints.
Although, it has covered relatively smaller geographical area, the research has encompassed different dimensions of the status of women journalists which, to some extent, can be taken as a representative case. It has been proven very useful for policy makers, implementers, journalists, media houses, journalists' organizations, scholars, researchers, students and teachers of mass communication and journalism apart from general readers.
In order to complement its initiatives to mainstream women's issues in the media and to initiate fresh discourse on the contemporary issues affecting the lives of women in general and women journalists in particular, SAS organizes interactions frequently. Over the years, SAS has earned a reputation of raising the economic, social, cultural, political and civil rights violation issues and holding interactions among journalists, women's rights activists, government officials, civil society leaders, opinion formers and other stakeholders. It has been interacting with the wider stakeholders on issues like women's representation in the Constituent Assembly (CA), political participation in all spheres of social life and their faire representation in all levels of political parties and on issues like domestic violence, witch accusation, dowry-related violence and other violence against women. During the run-up to elections to the CA, SAS organized many interactions among the stakeholders on its own and in partnership with other like-minded organizations, for instance.
With an objective of informing, educating, and calling for an action on issues of press freedom, women's equal participation in state affairs, to end violence against women, to sensitize the general public on respecting the rights of people, to create public awareness gender equality and on other contemporary issues, SAS produces and broadcasts various jingles and public service announcements (PSAs) on different radio and television stations. While producing such jingles and PSAs, SAS pays attention to the target audience and broadcasts them in major languages of Nepal including Nepali. SAS often produces and broadcasts such informative audio-visuals in collaboration with other like-minded organizations, coalitions and social movements.
Training & Workshop
SAS has been carrying out various programs with an overarching goal of mainstreaming women's issues in the media and supportive activities with an objective of enhancing the capacity of women journalists in order to increase their participation in journalism and retain them in the profession. Right from its inception in 1996, SAS has been organizing various capacity-building programs for women journalists. Among them, Basic Journalism, Feature Writing and Investigative Reporting training and workshops are the major and regular activities of the organization. The journalists thus trained are given opportunity to contribute articles to its Feature Service in Nepali and English, SAS Radio and TV programs and to Sancharika Online.
The journalists trained by SAS have been producing feature stories, investigative reportage and other hard news and contributing to SAS-run media apart from other mainstream media both electronic and print they are affiliated with.
Sancharika Samuha, being a pioneer forum of women journalists and communicators, works to safeguard the rights of female journalists, journalists in particular and women in general. In order to ward off possible violation of rights and to draw the attention of the state to provide justice to victims in the aftermath of rights violation plus to call for an action regarding inclusion, equality and meaningful participation of women in different fields of social life, SAS issues press releases.
It also issues press releases to condemn attack on press freedom and safety of journalists besides informing concerned state and non-state actors on its activities targeted to the betterment of the promotion and protection of the rights of women journalists in particular and media people in general. The organization also issues press release on issues of national importance and women's equal participation in decision-making bodies of the state.
SAS produces documentaries to capture the reality of the lives of people mostly women whose basic rights are violated. It focuses on denial of the rights of women to acquire citizenship through matriarchy, domestic violence, gender-based violence, violence caused by harmful traditional practices such as dowry, deprivation of girl children from basic education, discrimination against girls and women in different fields of their social life. The organization produces and airs such documentaries with an objective of informing the general public on certain issues of rights violation and drawing the attention of the state to protect and promote their rights, thereby supporting to establish a gender-equal society. SAS has produced many documentaries on violence against women and has aired them through different television channels of Nepal.
SAS carries out studies on different issues mainly focusing on women journalists, press freedom, media monitoring, status of women journalists, violence against women, domestic violence, structural violence and gender discrimination. Traditional and cultural practices harmful to women are also another area of its advocacy. SAS advocates with and through the media primarily on the basis of the findings of the reports in order to change state policies and programs in favour of women.
The organization also prepares reports of collective campaigns carried out in different times depending on the urgency of issues and events. Likewise, SAS also prepares reports on media monitoring and documents and shares the findings of such studies. Reports prepared and shared by SAS have become very useful for policy-makers, implementers, students and scholars besides women's rights activists and apologists.
Since 4 November 2013, SAS has been producing television programme titled "Samakon" on Kantipur Television. The objective of the programme is to dig out the issues of gender-based violence, bring them to the notice of duty bearers, support survivors of such violence by providing them an opportunity to share the injustice, and create awareness among people in order to create a gender-friendly society.