KWN Condemns Portrayal of Women, Children in Media

 International Women’s Day, 8 March, serves as a remembrance of women’s efforts to achieve equality, peace and justice. This is a day when women are recognized worldwide for their achievements, without regard to their national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political differences. It further provides an opportunity to reflect on challenges and successes, and most importantly, to plan ahead.

In 2015, the Kosovo Women’s Network (KWN) marks this day by condemning the inappropriate portrayal of women, girls and children in online media.
Rather than contributing to increasing citizens’ awareness on gender equality, several media platforms in Kosovo publish articles and videos that breach the Code of Conduct for Audiovisual Media in the Republic of Kosovo, as well as the Law on Gender Equality Nr. 2004/2 15.3. They particularly breach Article 15.3. of the latter, which prohibits “the public presentation of an individual in an offensive, degrading, or humiliating manner because of gender identity or sexual orientation”.
Media platforms should be able to differentiate between news and opinion; news refers to facts, while opinions refer to personal thoughts and comments. Offensive comments should not be posted on online media, since that is strictly prohibited by the aforementioned legislation. Nevertheless, some media platforms in Kosovo continue to comment on women politician’s physical appearance, regardless of their positions. Not even the President of Kosovo has remained immune from sexist and misogynistic comments by some unprofessional media platforms.
In prior years we have witnessed several degrading portrayals of women and girls as sexual objects on many media platforms. Most online media in Kosovo continuously make use of biased and discriminatory language which result in the stereotyping of women. According to Article10of the Code of Conduct for Audiovisual media in Kosovo, this is strictly prohibited; it states that “using degrading language, with the objective of hurting or threatening an individual on basis of ethnic, religious, gender, racial, marital, age or mental and physical disability is forbidden.”
Further, according to  Article 9, of theCode of Conduct of Audiovisual Media, “the presentation or publication of programs and materials which refer to children and youth should conform to all legislation and regulations on audio-visual transmission.” However, some Kosovo media have misused children. A recent examples is the emission of a three-year-old child dancing very age-inappropriately while imitating the dancer ‘Kallashi’.  
KWN requests that the Independent Media Commission and the Institute of Media in Kosovo closely monitor media. In accordance with the Code of Conduct of Audiovisual Media, they should penalize platforms that breach the Code and other gender equality standards.  
The Kosovo Women’s Network (KWN) mission is to support, protect and promote the rights and the interests of women and girls throughout Kosovo, regardless of their political beliefs, religion, age, level of education, sexual orientation and ability. KWN fulfills its mission through the exchange of experience and information, partnership and networking, research, advocacy, and service.
As a Network of 89 women’s organization from all ethnic groups in Kosovo, KWN advocates in their name on local, regional and international levels.