DAY 16
DAY 15 // DECEMBER 9, 2012
Role of Women Leaders
DECEMBER 10, 2012
Media, Gender, and Violence
For the 16th and last day of the online campaign to end violence against women, Kosovo 2.0 wrote on the role of media in relation to gender based violence. The influence that media, and increasingly social media, has on youth is substantial in Kosovo and therefore a campaign like the 16 days can enable public discussion of issues such as domestic violence, gender representation, human trafficking, the sex trade and justice, according to Kosovo 2.0:

Over the past 12 years, Kosovo has undergone various processes of democratization, institution building, reconstruction and economic development. In the midst of international and local endeavors to establish and promote democratic governance, great assistance has also been given to the development of free and independent media. In the immediate post-1999 Kosovo, the latter was deemed of significant importance considering that journalistic practices were characterized by poor professional standards due to lack of media ethics, and only a small pool of journalists were educated and knowledgeable about concepts of free media.

Such initiatives have without doubt improved Kosovo’s overall media performance. Kosovo has developed professional daily newspapers outlets and increased its TV networks. However, to date, issues related to social change, inequality, participatory politics continue to attract limited attention; they remain largely unexposed with the dominant focus on processes pertaining to the country’s political developments.

In the midst of this, mainstream media, in general, tend to reinforce prescribed notions and representations of gender. Gender equality is predominantly talked through the frame of women’s rights issues, and mainly covered through activities organized by civil society actors to raise awareness on the topic. Mainstream media lag behind in bringing to the forefront topics related to ongoing discrimination, shortcomings of the legal system to appropriately and rightfully address violence against women or even advocating for equal representation.

From the onset, Kosovo 2.0 has tackled and addressed stories that speak of unrepresented and marginalized groups. Our large network of bloggers, composed of individuals with different mindsets from diverse professional and cultural backgrounds, has constantly challenged constructed notions and representations of gender within their societies. Our bloggers have raised issues ranging from gender stereotypes, sexual harassment, representation of gender, sexual orientation, homophobia, romantic relationships, safe sex, gender and politics, etc. Storytelling techniques such as blogging lend themselves to discussion, debate and critical thinking, and this is evident in the way our readers respond to such stories.

Moreover, through our print magazine, we have always placed great importance to thoroughly addressing and challenging representations of gender in our society. For example, in our first magazine issue, Image, Kosovo 2.0 published an Alarm on Justice, bringing attention to violence against women and the continuous failure of the legal system to respond, prevent and break the culture of silence. Such work will continue through our Sex issue magazine, to be published in December of this year, which is entirely dedicated to examining and interpreting existing gender and identity patterns, and raising awareness of the importance to equality, emancipation and recognition.

That is why we see the 16 Days of Activism as an important way to not only bring attention to the continued prevalence of gender based violence in Kosovo, but also as a way to publicly discuss issues such as domestic violence, gender representation, human trafficking, the sex trade and justice. We believe that a problem that is never discussed is never resolved, in fact it remains invisible. We believe that starting a conversation is the first step in breaking stereotypes about gender roles, and in giving a voice to those who are silenced by violence.

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