Nigerian media and journalists were celebrated by Women for their commitment to reporting women at the maiden edition of ReportHer Awards which took place on Saturday 8 July 2023 at Radisson Blu Ikeja Lagos.
Aríse News won the Television category as the TV station that reported women more and gave prime space to women. Blueprint Newspapers won the print category. Voice of Nigeria won the Radio category as the media platform that aimed at fair reportage of women. Techcabal won the Digital (online) category. Titilope Fadare, a senior reporter at Premium Times Nigeria won the Individual Journalist category as the journalist that interviewed, covered, and reported more women stories, ensuring gender-balanced reportage emerging as the ReportHer Journalist of the Year. She also won a scholarship to train at the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom courtesy of UN Women and the Government of Canada.
Motunrayo Alaka, Executive Director, Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) noted that ReportHer Awards comes at a critical time in Nigeria’s history. She challenged the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led administration to aim for more than 50% in its appointments as the country awaits the list of ministers and heads of agencies, boards and parastatals, even as she emphasized the need for media to lead the way towards gender-balanced reportage that will enhance the development of both the media and the country.
Dr Babatunde Okewale, Chairman of Women Radio 91.7 thanked Nigerian media for the progress made so far in female reportage and for being deliberate in the fair inclusion of women. Okewale appreciated UN Women and the Canadian government for their support towards the realization of this idea.
Beatrice Eyong, UN Women’s country representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS thanked media organizations for advancing the rights of women and girls in Nigeria through media visibility. She faulted the stereotype and biased representation of women which birthed the need for UN Women to address the seclusion of women in national affairs and gender inequality. Eyong acknowledged the media as active shapers of perception and as such must be intentional in giving prominence to women-related issues to change the narrative that has been on for so long. In her words “If we do not achieve gender equality and empowerment, we cannot achieve sustainable development goals”
Dr. Kole Shettima, Africa Director of MacArthur Foundation highlighted the importance of the ReportHer Awards and celebrated media organisations that are committed to gender and social inclusion.
Barrister Ebere Ifendu, president of Women in Politics Forum WIPF Nigeria thanked the media on behalf of women and highlighted the need to change stereotyped reportage of women which is a challenge women in politics face.
Balarabe Shehu Ilelah, Director General National Broadcasting Commission NBC commended the initiative and said women must be empowered to be part of the developmental process of Nigeria. Ilelah also noted ReportHer Awards will prompt broadcasters to more inclusive gender-balanced reportage. He encouraged the awardees to do more as there are a lot of grounds to be covered.
Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, Executive Director WARDC reiterated the importance of women in the development of the country and thanked UNWomen & Government of Canada for their support to Nigeria.
Olusola Momoh, vice-chair of Channels Media Group represented by Joke Rogers commended the initiative and re-emphasised the importance of supporting the cause of women as they contribute immeasurably to the growth of every nation.
Mufiliat Fijabi, chief executive officer of the Nigerian Women Trust Fund spoke on the need to close the gap in the visibility given to women especially women in leadership. Fijabi noted that the ReportHer Awards is an initiative worthy of international standards and since UNwomen is represented across Africa it should be replicated across African countries.
Lanre Arogundade who spoke on behalf of the board of judges revealed that the selection period was from March 2022 to March 2023 and highlighted the basis of selection which included the informative nature of the entries, ethics and professionalism, social responsibility of journalists on the female gender reportage, the extent to which women were used as news sources and the 50-50 representation of women in everyday stories.
Wale Olanrewaju, Chairman NUJ Ogun State Council thanked Women Radio for its dedication to amplifying the voices of women and urged UNwomen and Women Radio to extend training to media in Ogun State.
The 2023 ReportHer Awards received 106 entries. Judges are Ene Ede gender advocate and publisher of the Woman Today newspaper, Lanre Arogundaade, Executive Director of International Press Centre (IPC), Chinonso Clark CEO Lead For Good Africa and Hamzat Lawal, Chief Executive Officer of Connected Development (CODE).
Toun Okewale Sonaiya, co-founder of Women Radio 91.7 thanked media owners, executives, editors and journalists who break stereotypes in their reportage of Women, especially during the 2023 elections and urged the winners not to rest on their oars as there is more to be done to achieve a 50:50 balanced reportage of men and women. Okewale Sonaiya noted that “2024 ReportHer Awards will expand to photographic journalists categories and we must adopt a deliberate commitment to report women more and increase female representation in the media”.