Media Caucus Statement
In the past five years, media, including new information communication technologies, has taken on an even more prominent role in shaping public opinion on issues of economy, trade, entertainment and education. While some aspects of this have had a positive impact, the commercial dimensions of media are being globalised faster than the parallel principles of public service, public protection and public access. This development has further marginalised women by widening the gap between those who have access to information, are able to participate and have input into the process and content, and those who do not.
It is with this deep concern that the Media Caucus calls on the 44th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women Acting as the Preparatory Committee to the UN General Assembly Special Session in June 2000, to reaffirm their commitment to the Women and Media Section (Section J) of the Beijing Platform for Action.
Media Caucus Proposal Modifications to the Proposed Outcome Document
(The proposed modifications are in bold and underlined text)
Obstacles: Women are still not employed in sufficient numbers in key decision-making positions to influence media policy, including the allocation of broadcasting spectrum. Sexual harassment of women in the media industry has increased as more women enter the media industry at low ranking positions. Negative images of women, stereotyped portrayals, and pornography have increased in some places, and there is a lack of coordinated effort to improve and change the status of women within the media and info-com industries. The field of information and communication technologies is based on male norms and Western culture.Linguistic differences, structural gender gaps, ethnic discrimination, economic and ethical barriers, especially geographical isolation and possible combinations of these and other elements prevent some many women from using the internet. Despite the efforts of women's media and information networks and other cooperative efforts, a severe lack of financial resources and political will has meant that the development of and access to internet infrastructure and the airwaves is limited. and depends on political will, cooperative efforts and financial resources. Globalization and growing media monopolies blur the lines of public accountability, turning information and communication away from a public focus towards the interests of transnational enterprise. Of serious concern is the homogenizing effect of media globalization on language, culture and societies.
IV Measures, actions and initatives to overcome obstacles and to address new challenges and trends in the full and accelerated implementation of the Beijing Declaration of the Platform for Action.
Actions to be taken at the national and international level
l. implement media and advertising campaigns to promote the equality of girls and boys, and of women and men in society. (Beijing Platform for Action Sec. J 243 (b) and 245 (c)
m. stimulate access to and strategic use of new and traditional information technology to advance gender equality. (Beijing Platform for Action Sec. J 236 and 242 (d))
n. develop an ethical framework based on gender equality and human rights with particular attention to eliminating negative stereotyping of women and girls, and the commercialization of sex and violence against them.
o. develop and promote self regulatory mechanisms based on the human rights framework to oversee the portrayal of women and girls in communications media and systems.
p. include women's right to communicate as a contribution to the present and future stake of building democracies based on pluralism and cultures of peace.
q. convene a World Conference on Communication as a space where the Community of Nations, communications media and systems, and civil society will have the opportunity to draw up an ethical framework for their global action, with the equal and full participation of women.
r. reaffirm committment to full implementation of Section J of the Beijing Platform for Action.