The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) strongly condemns the sexist remarks and harassment that took place during the recently held WAN-IFRA World News Congress in Portugal.
The World News Congress was celebrating its 70th year anniversary. The Congress is a global gathering of journalists, editors, publishers and media CEOs who are “passionate about media freedom and taking action to ensure a sustainable news industry.” On the official conference website for 2018 eight reasons are listed why editors and journalists should sign up for this important conference including “celebrating women in news”.
This year’s Congress however was marred by a number of highly inappropriate sexist remarks and harassment. A comedian made poor taste jokes about “fake breasts and fake news” and the Chairman of the International Press Association of Portugal openly harassed female delegates. He called his “favourite” female colleagues on stage, made them wear cloaks and called them his “Charlie’s angels” and he tried to kiss a colleague who strongly objected. Further, he claimed a female colleague’s success could only be attributed to the fact that her “father had made her”. When confronted, the Chairman stated afterwards that he was sorry that international colleagues were offended but that in Portugal his remarks were “culturally appropriate” and entirely inoffensive. Portuguese women journalists and editors however disagreed saying that they were in fact deeply offended.
SANEF acknowledges the fact that the organisers of the conference condemned these remarks. We would like to add our voice to this condemnation. We believe the remarks and harassment undermine all women and women in leadership in the global media industry. Sanef will be taking up these issues with the organisers to discuss a way forward.
Reggy Moalusi – SANEF Management Committee
071 682 3695
Mahlatse Mahlase – SANEF Chairperson
083 339 2852
Kate Skinner – SANEF Executive Director
082 926 6404