Samoa Media awards to recognise gender-balanced election coverage

26 February 2016, 12:00AM

Media coverage promoting gender equality in leadership and decision-making in Samoa will be highlighted through the new I.P.P.W.S Media Awards for Excellence in Gender-Sensitive Election Coverage in Samoa, launching today.

The awards are part of the Increasing Political Participation of Women in Samoa (I.P.P.W.S) Programme, in partnership with the National University of Samoa Media and Journalism School. They will recognise journalists and media outlets for coverage that is not only balanced, but that also challenges gender stereotypes and raises awareness of the importance of women’s political participation and representation. 

The competition will consider individual entries in the broadcast and print categories published between 1 November and 20 March 2016, as well as the overall coverage of media outlets during that time. Members of the public are also asked to nominate specific examples of gender sensitive journalism. 

Individual winners will receive prizes worth $1,000 while the first and second runners-up will receive prizes worth $500 and $250 respectively. The winners will be announced at an event in April 2016.

U.N. Women’s Country Programme Coordinator in Samoa, Suisala Mele Maualaivao, says the awards are an opportunity not only to recognise efforts made by the media so far, but also to encourage long-term change.

“The media can and should play a powerful role in changing attitudes towards women in leadership and decision-making roles, and we have already seen examples in the lead-up to the election that show the media in Samoa is taking this role seriously,” she says. 

“We want to commend and support these efforts but also encourage the media to take it to the next level.”

I.P.P.W.S is a joint programme between UN Women and U.N.D.P, in partnership with the Government of Samoa, with funding from the Australian Government. In the lead-up to the elections, the programme has been working with aspiring women candidates and the media to build on their skills and confidence, while also working with local partners to raise awareness in the communities about the importance of women’s political participation and representation. 

Gatoloai Tili Afamasaga, I.P.P.WS Coordinator, says the increased profile of women candidates, as well as the dramatic increase in the number of women standing for election, is encouraging but the work doesn’t end once the results are tallied.

“While politics is the most high profile example, leadership and decision-making processes continue at every level of society and it is essential that women are involved. We need the media’s continued support to ensure that happens and to keep gender equality on the public agenda.”

In recognition of this, I.P.P.W.S will continue to provide post-election mentoring support to all members of parliament on activities including gender-responsive budgeting and the preparation of gender-sensitive legislation.

The media awards are open to all individual journalists, as well as citizen journalists working through blogs and podcasts; entries need to have been broadcast/published publicly. 

All entries must be received via email including either live links to the individual example, a pdf of the published article or a digital file of the recording. Entries close midnight 31 March 2016 (Samoa time). All details can be found at

26 February 2016, 12:00AM
Samoa Observer

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