Stop using radios to abuse women, says activists

Laker making her point at the media training on Friday last week at Kakanyero hotel in Gulu town(Photo by Denis Okema

By David Okema

Women activists have asked radio stations in northern Uganda to stop playing songs which disrespect women.

The women said  on Friday last week on how the media can be used to build and promote peace in northern Uganda.

“I am tired of listening songs which show disrespect for women,’’ said Joyce Laker, a regular panelists on radio stations in Gulu. She was one of the participants at the training.

Laker advised radio stations not to play songs like ‘‘Ting Tyeni Malo’’ loosely translated as ‘‘Raise your legs up’’—a song with sexual connotations. She also cited ‘‘Lutela mogo opoto kwir’’ (leaders who failed in elections)—a song which mocks leaders who failed in the parliamentary and local government elections.

The training at Kakanyero hotel was organized by the Northern Uganda Media Club (NUMEC) with funding from the USAID- SAFE, a project which supports peace building, access to justice and promotes equity. The training aimed at equipping media users (radio panelists, callers on radio shows and local leaders ) on how to use media in a conflict sensitive manner.

Speaking at the same training, Rosalba Oywa, a panelist on the ‘‘Teyat’’ on Mega FM and activist also criticised radio stations  for promoting stereotypes against women. Oywa said the media also has to recognise the role of women in peace building in northern Uganda.

Stephen Balmoi, a talk show moderator at Mega FM put part of the blame on the misuse of radio to callers  on radio shows who he said do not respect the editorial and ethical policies of radio stations like Mega FM. He said politicians are the most difficult to moderate on radio shows.

‘‘It is very challenging to host politicians because they come with the attitude of knowing more,’’ he said. He shared an experience in which a politician revealed on air what he said was the HIV status of an opponent who had citicised him.

‘‘By the time I wanted to put him off, he had already uttered the words.  It was so fast,’’ Balmoi told participants at the training.

Balmoi urged people who use radio—callers and guests to understand the editorial policies and ethical guidelines of the radio stations to help inform them how to use media to educate, inform and entertain the general public.

Mugisha John Chris, LCV councilor Laguti Sub County in Pader district also blame some radio moderators and presenters for allowing callers to  use abusive language on the radio.

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