Freedom Forum also visited some media houses to know how they received the report (monitoring of media contents on women’s representation) it produced and disseminated to them. Editors of the media houses, of which newspapers FF studied, were interacted for it. The separate meetings with the editors were fruitful not only to know whether their media had realized the little representation of women, but also to know how they have taken this issue and plan a change.
Following are the views the editors shared with FF team-
Hari Bahadur Thapa, Editor, Kantipur daily
• We had considerable number of female journalists, but seven of them left their jobs after earthquake of 2015. Now we are in recruitment process for the new ones.
• Time and circumstances of reporting as well as internal competition too are somehow, unfavorable for female reporters.
• One of the major problems is to retain existing media persons in the organizations because they take media organizations as mere training institutions. Media houses payment range is another constraint to retain them.
• For the recent 2-3 years, women are less attracted towards this profession. So, even you can recommend someone capable to work for our media.
• Also social relations and family responsibilities (as after becoming married, mother) limit female journalists’ capabilities and competencies.
• Average stay of women journalists in Nepal media is five years. Kantipur daily is always for promoting women’s presence.
Thir Lal Bhusal, Sub Editor, Republica daily
• Although we had female journalists, we could not retain them for long for various reasons as those with very good reporting and writing skills get better jobs at I/NGOs, and we could not tell them to stick to our media. However, currently, we’ve women journalists fully handling the social, weekend, gen next beats.
• Female journalists themselves are not ready to take up political beats due to odd working hours, incompatible environment which are practically challenging to them.
• We are always effortful to make newsroom gender- friendly and inclusive but Nepal’s media market is very small, and it is difficult to find people with good knowledge of English language. You can also suggest us the names of female journalists who are able to work at our media.
• Regarding absence of females bylines, to some extent, it is policy based, but in most of the cases, reporters themselves are free to decide on byline. There is no restriction at all on it- any good news deserves byline.
Anjali Subedi, Journalist looking after social beat at Republica daily
• Newsrooms are not gender-friendly yet. It is not only a Nepal’s case but a global problem. Our socio-cultural norms and working hours are major constraints for working female journalists.
• Not only in media house but also while collecting sources in the field, we find majority of male sources which hinders building rapports with them in Nepali society. But at the same time, male journalists can sit with them till late, eat and make good connections.
• Even in my case, I used to work late before I had a kid. But nowadays, eventhough family supports me, I myself am not ready to work during off hours.
Yubaraj Ghimire, Chief Editor, Annapurna Post daily
• Publishing byline news is approaching reporters directly. One of our female reporters Ramkala Khadka was honoured with prestigious aware- Ladli Award recently for her good reporting skills.
• Yes, representation in bylines gives recognition and exposure to females but we are still backward in this case. But in most cases, female reporters are not ready to cover political beats.
• We accept your report as a critical feedback and have discussed with our fellows about it.
Umesh Chauhan, Editor, Naya Patrika daily
• News content depends upon the context and its proximity. Political news has less number of female spokespersons. We do realize the issue of equality but the reality is different.
• Our society is not inclusive which is reflected in the media. However, after this local poll, number of female representatives is certain to rise, it would help media ensure more female news sources.
• In our organizations, we have four female journalists, but they do not work on political beats. We are however always encouraging them to expand their horizon. The work atmosphere is favourable to them.
FF media monitoring team had met Mr. Thapa on April 29, Mr Bhusal and Ms Subedi on May 18, while Mr Ghimire on May 21, and Mr Chauhan on June 6. All in all, the editors said they were always for creating favourable atmosphere for female journalists in their media.